Friday, December 26, 2014

Section 27 -- The Firewall

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 25.5

As the fuselage build continues, the firewall structure is next up.  I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised to see the firewall made up of multiple stainless steel pieces.  I had expected it to be one continuous piece.  But after putting it all together, my concerns about its design integrity are all but gone.  It seems quite sturdy.

Here are some of the pieces ready for installation.

The opportunity to back-rivet was widespread throughout this section.

Aside from using the C-frame to back-rivet the first components, I should have also back-riveted with the rivet gun when putting the remainder of the parts together.  Instead, I used a mushroom set and bucked the rivets the old fashioned way.  Oh well, the results were good.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Mighty Section 26 -- Mid Fuselage Lower Structure

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 42.5

It was full steam ahead at the last posting and that feeling has continued through Section 26.  I've been buoyed by watching other builders' sites for their progress and it is downright energizing to see where this kit takes shape.

Whereas Section 25 simply constructed the forward fuselage's bulkheads, this section starts to get into the meat of the build by constructing the lower structure of the cockpit and baggage areas.  At 22 pages, Section 26 is a behemoth.  It includes quite a bit of detailed work and a large number of the pieces.  In fact, it seemed like a lot of the parts inventory cleared the shelves for this section--a good thing, no doubt.

I started the build in my usual way by separating, de-burring, cleaning, and generally preparing the parts for priming.  This included flattening gear brace bars.

Below, you can see the difference between the flattened (on the right) and the bracing as provided.

With everything primed, it was then time to start building up the seat ribs.  When possible, I always try to use the C-frame to back-rivet parts.  It's fast and nearly fool-proof.  I like that.

 Then it was on to the aft bulkhead.

Next came the bottom skin.  Given that the aft seat and baggage area skin is separated from the forward skin and firewall, the plans call for matching selected holes and generally lining up everything.  I also took this time to prime the forward bottom skins where they overlap the aft seating and baggage area skin.

 Here, I had to flute the outboard aft seat ribs to match the contour of the fuselage.

Dimpling the aft seating and baggage area skin took a significant amount of time, but once I was in the groove, time was irrelevant.

Back-riveting again.

Below, it was important to have the seat brackets set to exactly 90-degrees.  But the catch was that if I followed the directions as is, I would be stuck with an inaccessible rivet when attaching them to the skin.  Instead, I got everything set and then waited until that part was riveted to the skin.  It seemed to work out as best as possible.

With the aft seating area constructed, it was onto the baggage area ribs.

After that, it was time to attach the aft seating ribs to the skin.  For best access, I mounted the structure vertically on the workbench.

Then, the baggage area ribs go next.

Like I said, this section was a monster.  But it feels good to see major sections coming together with relative speed.  The firewall is up next!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Section 25 -- Fuselage Bulkheads

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 15.0

With inventory complete, I was finally able to get back to building.  Things started a bit slow while I worked my way into the plans, but I was soon hitting my stride again in no time.

As with every section, I started by pulling the parts from inventory.  This took me a lot longer than usual, due mostly to the fact that there are so many pieces to comb through.  The good news is that it is a self-correcting problem.

I've determined that it's most efficient for me to simply prepare and prime all of the parts for a given section at once.  When I worked on the wings, and even the empennage, the plans would have you prep a section and then instruct you to prime those pieces as desired.  Now, however, they must assume you will figure that out on your own.  Rather than guess at the most appropriate time, I have concluded that it's best to do it straight away.

Unfortunately, I can't finish this section until the bearings are received.  Until then, I have moved onto section 26.  Hopefully, I will have the bearings by the time I am ready to place the bulkheads.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fuselage Kit -- Delivery & Inventory

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 10

With so much time off from building, I met the fuselage kit delivery with a bit of nervous apprehension. 

But when the day finally arrived, I met the kit like an old friend and I quickly got back to work.

With the lid removed, all the signs of a tremendous amount of work awaited.

I can't believe how many pieces there are to this kit!

Inventory took me just about 10 hours.  I had a few back-ordered items and a few missing items, but no doubt those pieces will arrive shortly.  Until then, I know that I have plenty of work ahead of me.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Forward Fuselage Shipping

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  0

I tendered final payment for the forward fuselage on 11/14 and shipping is scheduled for the week of 11/17.  Now that winter is back (ugh!), I am looking forward to getting back to work.  Yippee!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Forward Fuselage Kit Ordered

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  0

Yesterday I ordered the third kit in the RV-14A series.  While I don't have an exact estimated delivery date yet, I suspect that it won't be until sometime mid-November.  So, I guess I have a couple more months to fill my time.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Idle Time -- Bridger Ridge Run 2014

Build Hours Added Since Last Post:  0

What does one do while airplane building is on hold waiting for the forward fuselage kit to be released?  Well, I can't say what others do, but I decided this was the year to take on a challenge I have long considered by running the Bridger Ridge Run outside Bozeman, Montana.  It's considered one of the most technical trail races in the United States.  It's nearly 20 miles of trail ranging in elevation from roughly 4,500' to nearly 9,700' (and a lot of up and down in between).  While this year's winner conquered it in 3:28, I managed it in a much more modest 6:45.  It was one hell of an experience!

Here's a shot of the racers getting ready.  There were 251 contenders this year.

Yours truly with nervous anticipation before the race.

The first part of the race leading up to Sacagawea Peak.

A good shot of what laid ahead leaving Sacagawea Peak.

Looking from Saddle Peak back towards Ross and Sacagawea Peaks.

On the way to Bridger Bowl.

Leaving Bridger Bowl ski area boundary with an ominous warning!

I shot this picture after the decent from Mount Baldy.

It was an amazing experience and with the right amount of courage, I think I'll do it again.  But thankfully, the forward fuselage kit was released for order from the factory.  Up next, more airplane building!