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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Center Section/Aft Fuselage Joined

This weekend started with the notching and trimming off the aft end of the longerons.   I don't have any pictures of this process, but I did it by the book.  Measured it out, drilled the holes, used a hacksaw to do a rough cut, then filed them the rest of the way smooth.  I think I know why Van's has you be so careful measuring the longerons in the beginning but then has you cut them a bit once they are mounted.   Lots of builders have indicated that the length isn't that critical in the beginning because of the step where you cut it at the end.  Well, I think the length is critical because when you are bending and drilling the side rails, you measure from the FRONT..  Then when you notch for the F-11 bars you measure from the REAR.  If you don't measure the length to begin with correctly, then you risk having it not match up in the middle...  Anyway, mine are looking good so far and but I haven't got all the way to the end yet, where they get cut shorter.  You wait until the the side skins are mounted before you know for sure.
After the Longeron work I had some local friends stop by to check on progress and I talked them into helping me flip over the center section so I could mate it to the aft fuse.  Big step and a bit stressful, but overall it went really well.  This hunk of metal is getting big now for sure..  Thanks for the help guys !

One thing I did here that might help other builders, not sure, but it definitely didn't hurt.  When I riveted the bottom skin on the center section, I left the aft 2 rivet holes open on the baggage ribs.  This made it a bit more simple to fit the bottom skin over the F-706 bulkead..  for what it is worth..

Also, I haven't mounted the side skins yet, so I don't know fully that my forward longeron bends will match up perfectly or not, but it is looking good when I compare it to the bend on the F704 side plates per the pic below.

Here is just a gratuitous shot from down below looking up the fuse..

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