Category: Center Fuselage

Panel and Final(?) Wiring Prep

May 6, 2021 – I removed the panel to get some last wiring prep done and get the panel ready to install for good.

To get my bearings with the Tosten stick grips, I put the pilot’s grip in place. I decided to go ahead and cut the stick down. In my hangar there’s an RV-7A just in front of me with Infinity grips. I measured them and the stick and the grips are nearly identical to mine. So I used those measurements. Worst case…I’ll need to replace my stick. I don’t think that’ll be a problem, though.

While I was working there in the cockpit, I took a look around, and my stomach sank…

My left armrest is torn nearly through, and the right one is starting to crack. This is frustrating because I KNOW I don’t lean on the armrests. At least they aren’t hard to replace. So they’re on order from Van’s. I’m thinking about putting a stainless doubler on the aft end of each armrest.

After coming back the next day, I decided to go ahead and pull the panel back out. I have to do some last wire routing, and change some pins on the VPX.

I had to trim a hole for a USB connection, and I had to cut the hole for the ELT remote panel.

Time: 9:15

Installed elevator bellcrank

November 18, 2015 – I assembled the elevator bellcrank a long time ago. I decided to install it. The bellcrank goes in with some washers and a couple of spacers. I had to add two washers to get side-to-side motion out of it.


I also decided to fit the control stick bellcrank. I wrestled it in place before I realized I had to ream the bolt holes, so out it came again. It is shimmed in place with washers to fit, so that took a little bit of doing. I’ll have to record how many washers went where, but it’s in for the moment. I’m sure it will have to come back out at some point.


Time: 1:35

Started installing rudder cables

October 7, 2015 – I started to run the rudder cables into the fuselage on the right side.

The cables have to run through snap bushings that are placed in each bulkhead from the tail up to the pedals.

The cables come with teflon sleeves installed on one end. This sleeve goes through the cutout to the outside of he airplane at the aft end. The sleeve will be secured by a clamp.

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The cable fittings don’t really fit through the snap bushings. They have to be forced through. I came up with a way to pry the fitting through the bushing using two small screwdrivers. I’ll post photos when I get them.

Anyway, the problem I ran into was that the baggage compartment side panels that are permanently installed  prevented me from getting the cable end through the snap bushings. I decided to remove the rivets from the top and aft sides of the cover panel. This gave me just enough access to get the cable through there and through the snap bushings.


Here’s a shot of the cable run on the right side in the aft fuselage:

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Time: :40

Miscellaneous assembly and prep

September 29, 2015 – I had some time to install some items that still needed to be done.

I cut the panel for the fuel selector valve. The panel has an “ear” that is used for the manual elevator trim, which I’m not using.


I installed the two aft gussets that tie the F707 bulkhead to the longerons. I also installed the F709 bulkhead.

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I dimpled the aft bulkheads for the upper skins.


Time: 4:10

Continued center covers

September 24, 2015 – With the center covers in place, I drilled the four screw holes that will attach the cover to the airplane.

The drawings want the bottom surface of the cover to be 15/16″ from the center floor stiffeners. I cut some blocks from a 1×2 to sit in there and hold the cover in position. I used a piece of angle with a hole in the correct position, so I could reduce the chance of error when drilling with the angle drill.

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Time: :30

Finished seats

September 9, 2015 – I finished the seats today.

I had the seat back assemblies clecoed together after painting. Not much to say about this; pretty much just went at them with either the rivet gun or the squeezer.


After the seat backs were done, I installed the seat pans. As I was setting them into place, I noticed that I had to get the aft outboard corners of the seat pans past the lower bolts for the outboard flap support blocks. I decided to cut a little clearance notch in each seat pan to make it easier to get a wrench on these bolt heads.

Marked them, drilled a radius hole and quickly cut a notch.

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I installed the left seat pan.


Then I had a forehead-slapping moment. I had somehow missed the fact that I had to install nutplates on the outer seat ribs. Not a problem on the right side. But the left side has one hole where the nutplate would be captured. I have to figure out what I want to do there. I DON’T want to remove the seat pan again, then reinstall it.


After everything was riveted, I slipped the seat backs into place. Here’s the upper end where they slip into the bulkhead:


And here are the seat backs in place:


Then it was time to try them out. Here’s the official first sitting. I hate selfies but nobody else was around…


I got mama to give it a try:

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I took the seat backs back out and riveted the nutplates for the center tunnel. That was fun. I was bending in ways I don’t usually bend. But I know there will be a lot more of that…


Time: 7:15

Continued seat pans and other cockpit items

August 25, 2015 – The seat pans are ready to install.

I painted the seat pans and a couple of other cabin items. I also remembered to make the hinge pins for the seat backs. Here are the pins and two of them fit inside a hinge half.

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I riveted the hinge halves to the left and right seat pans.


I also installed the nutplates on the F749 baggage compartment sidewalls. These panels are removable. I set them in place with no screws for the time being.

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Here are the seat pans set in place, ready to install. I have a call out to my EAA Tech Counselors to see if anyone wants to look inside before I install these, since they are riveted in place. This is pretty cool…

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Time: 2:40

Started seat attach hinges on seat pans

August 20, 2015 – I started the seat attach hinges by marking the locations on the seat pans per the drawings.

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I cut six hinge halves to the correct length. These have hinge eyes on each end.


Because one of these hinges on each side also has existing fasteners through seat ribs, I wanted to make sure my measurements were correct by marking good edge distance on the bottom of one of them, then checked to see if that mark was visible through existing holes. It was good, so I moved on.


I laid out the rivet pattern on one hinge half, then kept back-drilling from one to another until all six were drilled the same way.


I placed the hinges in the correct locations on the seat pans, and drilled the pans.

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After that was done, I moved on to start working on the forward tunnel cover supports. These are made from supplied z-angle, and are mirror image parts, left and right.

I marked out and cut the left one, then clamped the two together to copy the dimensions to the right one. These came out pretty well. This was one of many times I wish I had a bandsaw, but I got it done.

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I took some time to deburr and scuff some of the cabin panels to prep for paint before I stopped for the day.


Time: 7:30

Fitted F749 baggage compartment side panels

August 20, 2015 – I also fitted and prepped the removable side panels for the baggage compartment. These panels give access for some of the flap mechanism.

The top flanges of these panels have to be trimmed. There are notches that indicate the location of the trim. I marked the lines and cut them with snips, followed by a scotchbrite pad to clean everything up.

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I later prepped the panels for paint.

Time: :30

Finished baggage compartment bulkhead

August 20, 2015 – I finished the baggage compartment bulkheads this week.

Since I had all the screw holes back-drilled through the F706 bulkhead, I needed to do the rivet holes for the nutplates. I took the bulkhead panels out, and used a nutplate jig to drill all the rivet holes, then I installed all the nutplates.

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I drilled and installed the wear blocks for the shoulder harness cables.

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After this was all done I temporarily installed the bulkhead panels in place.


Time: 1:35

Baggage compartment floors and bulkhead

August 12, 2015 – It’s been a while since I posted anything. The last work I did was just before Oshkosh. Then we got back and it’s been too hot to do much of anything.

I did get my throttle quadrant at Oshkosh. Got the DJM center mount throttle quadrant. I also ordered an Andair fuel selector valve.

I started on the baggage compartment floors. I realized that I had installed the nutplates in the two center ribs where the tunnel covers go, so I had to remove those nutplates.

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I made sure all the holes in the floor panel were drilled, then I primed and painted them. Here they are clecoed in place.


These floors are pop-riveted in. That was pretty straight-forward. The aft flanges are solid-riveted and have nutplates installed.

I decided to try to get in and lay on top of these panels for easier access. In hindsight, I should have put a board in place for a little more support. It went OK, but there is one small buckle in one of the panels. The rest of the structure is OK. I ended up taking off the top skin so I could reach over to get better access.

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I took out the four gussets between the longerons and the two bulkheads. I cleaned them up and painted them. They can go in anytime.


After the floor panels were in, I started on the aft bulkhead panels for the baggage compartment.

The lower panel is simple; just screw it in at the bottom and drill the holes through to the F706 bulkhead.


The upper panel is a little more work. It is just a raw piece of aluminum that’s already corrugated. The corners have to be trimmed to a 8 1/2″ radius. I marked that radius…


…cut it to shape, then cleaned up the edges.

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I marked the locations of all the screw holes, and the locations for the cutouts where the shoulder harness cables will pass through. I piloted the holes to #30, then clamped the bulkhead in place and back-drilled the holes to the F706 bulkhead.

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That was a good place to stop for the day.

Time: 8:20

Various aft fuselage chores

July 15, 2015 – I started out this week by drilling the F709 bulkhead. This bulkhead mounts aft at the aft deck. The lower three rivet holes on each side are not pre-punched, so they have to be picked up through the aft top skin.

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I then clecoed the F787 stiffener into place under the top skin and made the F707B angle clip. I rolled the top skins to one side so I could get to the clip to drill it.

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Next was drilling the F656 gussets to the longerons. These were fun because they have to be somewhat immobilized by the skins and bulkheads, since the tops of the bulkheads can move. I clamped the gussets in place and used an angle drill to drill the attach holes.

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Well…because I was drilling around a corner, I messed up one of the gussets, totally missing one of the holes. I did decide that this would be structurally OK. You can see the missed hole in the gusset in this picture:


I clecoed both skins back into place.


I moved on to the F6111 reinforcing ribs since I’m doing a slider. These had to be twisted and trimmed to fit into place. I fluted the first one. I wish I hadn’t, because it was really unnecessary. I’ll see if I can clean it up somewhat, since these will be visible. I marked the centerline of the outer flange. I had trouble figuring out how to hold them in place for drilling, but used some pieces of door shim with clamps.


Here are the right and left ribs clecoed in place:

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Getting ready to go up to Oshkosh (driving), so it’ll be a little while before I can continue work…

Time: 5:00

Fitted canopy decks and gussets

June 29, 2015 – I fitted and drilled the canopy decks and gussets today.

First I had to finish riveting the aft deck in place.


I also had left out the upper two skin rivets on each side at the F710 bulkhead. I did this to allow the longerons to slide into place. I took care of these rivets with no problem.


I already had the F721B aft canopy decks clecoed in place; I had to fit and drill the F721A forward canopy decks. These have a close fit to each other where they join; I had to file a little bit off the end of the forward decks to fit nicely.


The F695 gussets were next. These are notorious for not fitting exactly against the firewall.

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I trimmed the forward edges at the outboard side. Fits great now.


I laid out the rivet pattern on one of them per the drawing, then I piloted the holes to #40.

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Since the two parts are mirror images of each other, I clamped them together to drill the holes, then took them up to #30 (1/8″).


I clamped them in place in the fuselage, then drilled. I clecoed them tightly in place as I went, and used a little BoeLube to help with the drilling through the firewall brackets, which are steel.

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I took them off and deburred the holes in the longerons and the firewall angles.


I also drilled the shoulder harness anchors. These go way back towards the back of the fuselage, and are connected by a cable to the harnesses. I clamped them in place and drilled, using a reamer for the finish holes.

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I clecoed the F709 bulkhead in place as well. This bulkhead is stamped and pretty wonky. I fluted it a bit to get it to lay a bit flatter. I’ll paint it and rivet it in place.


I put the F757 plates in place. A corner of these plates gets cut out for a sliding canopy. I marked that cutout on one. I’ll clamp the two together and do the cutouts, since these also are mirror-image parts.


I’m going to try to prep a bunch of these parts together at the same time, so I can paint them all at once.

Time: 3:40

Fuselage off sawhorses

June 24, 2015 – I started riveting the aft deck in place today.

Before I started I realized I had to rivet the F711B angle in place.


I then started shooting the aft deck.


My friend Carlos came over and helped me get the fuselage off the sawhorses down to where I could work on it. I decided just to use a furniture dolly with serious foam and carpet padding on top. If that doesn’t meet my needs in the future before I install the gear legs, I’ll do something else. In the meantime, I’m able to move the fuselage around as needed, and it’s definitely low enough to step into if I have to.

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Time: 1:00

Fuselage tasks

June 10, 2015 – Since I am waiting on my firewall sealant to finish the forward lower skin, I decided to look at some things that I could get done. Turns out I’m glad I did some of this now because it would have been a pain with the fuselage rolled upright.

I did install the bolts for the lower firewall corners where they tie to the longerons.


I decided to do the gussets that go in the lower corners between the F704 center wing spar and the F7101 gear attach webs, and the attach angles for the F782 cover plates.

I bolted the F7114 gussets in place and drilled them. The holes through the skins get bolts, so I ultimately reamed those holes to .189″

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I cut the F782D angles out of the material provided and shaped them. In order to find their location against the F7101 gear attach webs, I used a long straight level and laid it against the other brackets inboard of this one, and marked the location of the front face.


The cover plates had to be modified. Because I used 1″ flange angle for the center floor stiffeners, the slot at that point had to be extended.

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Back to the angles. These angles get attached to the gear attach web, which is just inboard of the outer skin. You do not want to drill all the way through, so I put a drill stop on the drill I used, then drilled the holes.

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I alodined and painted the angles and gussets.

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I also installed the aft baggage side covers that are fixed panels.


Time: 6:00

Continued riveting fuselage

June 2, 2015 – After my little setback attaching the baggage compartment ribs, my friend Stan came back over and we finished riveting the skins.

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Then I slipped the firewall into place. I had put off buying the firewall sealant thinking I could get it locally (3M Fire Block 2000). I couldn’t find it anywhere, so I ended up ordering a tube of Flamemaster CS1900. It’ll be at least a week before I get it.

Anyway, I loosely clecoed the firewall into place, knowing I’d have to have access to the flanges to apply the sealant.

I installed the rivets attaching the F719 angle clips to the firewall. I pulled the skin back enough to get my squeezer in there.

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After the firewall was in place I installed the center floor stiffeners.

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Time: 3:30

Fuselage minor setback

June 2, 2015 – I had a minor setback while I was installing rivets where I could by myself. I was installing the baggage compartment floor ribs to the F706 bulkhead, when I noticed that where the F729A bellcrank rib attaches to the F706 bulkhead, there wasn’t enough room for the rivets along the edge of the F730 plate.

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The rib overlapped the plate by about 1/32″, causing the interference. I marked the edge, then removed the rib.


Here’s the mark I made:


I trimmed the edge of the rib, then reinstalled it. Much better.

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Time: 2:15