Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Sunday, August 16, 2009

5.3 hrs
Started this morning with a bunch of separate fuselage parts. It took a bunch of effort, but got them joined into one unit.

Finished trimming the longerons for the 911C HS attach bars, and got the longerons placed into the aft fuselage. Took a few pictures just to show how it looks.

Then got the sawhorses setup, with the aft fuselage on two of them.

With Lynne's help got the center section flipped over and set on the saw horses. It really takes four sawhorses to hold both sections at the same time, but one of them is only needed temporarily, so anything will do, such as a small workbench and a cat bed.

Then started pulling them together. I tried to get it done with the baggage skins clecoed on, but after about 20 minutes I figured out the aft tabs on the baggage ribs were getting hung up on the 707 bulkhead. So I removed the skins, resolved the problem with the tabs, and then the two parts came together. Then it was easy to get all the clecos in.

At this point I decided to resolve a problem with the longerons. Despite my best efforts at measuring, the notches for the 711C bars were about 3/32 too far aft, which forced the longerons to be forward by that amount. So took each one off, trimmed the notch a bit more, and reinstalled. This time it worked OK. The notch is too big, but it's not really an issue.

Next up was the 970 skins. First I cut the hole for the steps.

Then started attaching with clecos, starting at the front. I could get the front clecos with the 904 spar put in, but none of the others would go. The 904 and 905 bulkheads were sitting too far forward on the longerons. After trying a bunch of things, I discovered that putting a 2x4 under the fuselage at the middle sawhorse did just the right thing. The forward bulkheads lined up just right and I could get clecos in them.

But the trailing seam of the 970 skin was still off by a bunch. Fussed with positioning the sections a little more, but in the end I figured out that the 970 has to take a compound curve. Since it starts out flat, it's not going without a fight. Just kind of forced the first few holes into alignment with a punch, added clamps to keep the skin tight against the longeron, and it magically just worked.

Along the way, discovered that the forward most rivets in the aft fuselage stringers needed to be drilled out. There are two rows of holes in the 970 skins, and the forward row lines up with the existing forward row of holes, which means the aft row overlaps 4 rivets I had already set.

One 970 down, tomorrow I can get the other side installed.