Now the interior of the cockpit is completely coated with Zolatone, which is a very durable industrial coating used in a lot of truck interiors. We used a 50:50 mix of Desert Camo and White Zolatone. We are pretty pleased at the result!
You can see that the seat pans and the seatback panels are also painted with Zolatone. The seatback panels lift out to provide access to our luggage (very small luggage) area. You can see that we have a pretty wide and roomy cockpit (48" wide, which is wider than most small two seat airplanes). Now we can start installing the flight controls (joysticks, flap lever, rudder pedals, pushrods, fuel lines and some wiring.
We are also back to fitting and installing the top and bottom wing skins onto the stubwings and fuel tanks. After the stubwings are completed, we will start assembling the aft fuselage.
has been quite a while since the last blog post, that doesn't mean we haven't
been working on the airplane. Since November we have been working on the aft
fuel tanks in both stubwings, fitting the top and bottom wing skins on the
starboard stubwing and a lot of details in the cockpit area.
I have been working alone this past weeks since Chuck and Sharon have been on a road trip to Canada. Mainly, I have been making foam and fiberglass parts for the bulkhead (bulkhead51) that supports the coming and the canopy release assembly and also making panels for supporting our seatpans.
Bulkhead 51 Assembly
Here is a drawing of the assembly.
Here are some pictures of the bulkhead parts as they were being built:
Here is the 1/4" foam core for the Foam core on top of two layers of glass.
panels laid out. Next step: adding
the fiberglass and resin.
Another picture showing the vacuum Two layers of glass have been laid on
pump in the foreground. top of the foam. Ready to add release
caul and bleeder (for absorbing the
The lay-up is complete and vacuum The cured panel is ready to trim.
The panels are cut out. Here is the cross bar getting its last
layer of glass.
Seat Support Panels
Here is a drawing of the seat support assembly. Below the drawing are pictures of the seat support panels being made.
Sanding the rough cut panels The panels are getting two layers of glass
to make them 1" thick. laid onto one side.
All panels now have 2 layers of glass on All 6 panels have been rough-trimmed.
Four of the panels have been cut to match the drawings.
In the past two weeks we have been working on mounting the landing gear brackets on the fuselage sidewalls and making and installing the center landing gear bracket. This work has turned out to be more complicated than we expected. One of the challenges of building a prototype aircraft from a new design is that we are having to figure out some pretty complex assembly processes so that we don't "paint ourselves into a corner".
So far we are pretty happy about the design of the landing gear mount. We will be able to install and remove the landing gear fairly easily, although I hope that we won't ever need to do that. The other good thing is that the gear mount bolts will be easy to inspect.
Below are some pictures of the landing gear brackets, the center bracket, center console side plates and the fuselage.
Starboard side landing gear bracket being This is a view looking at the starboard outside
test fitted. The seat-back bulkhead is on the skin. The spar is on the right, the rectangular
left and the wing's main spar is on the right. hole is where the landing gear leg will go. The
The landing gear legs will go through the 9 or so round holes above it are for the bolts
rectangular hole near the top center of the that attach the bracket to the inside
image. skin of the fuselage.
Here is the up-side-down fuselage. The Here is a view of the fuselage on its side. The
front end is to the right and the wing spar two landing gear legs are clamped in position
is sticking straight out. Behind the spar are and the rear center console and center landing
the two landing gear legs pointing up. gear brackets are installed.
Here is a close-up of the center console and Installing the forward center consoles. We can
center landing gear bracket. hardly wait to get the seats in so that we can
sit in the cockpit!