Canopy and Fuselage

I worked on a small variety of items today. I tried out some plastic razor blades to remove the plastic coating from the aluminum sheets used for the fuselage. They had become very stick and brittle over time and I needed to find a way to remove them. Due to the brittleness of the plastic it would immediately break off in pieces when I tried to removed it. Using the plastic razor blades and a heat gun on low I was able to carefully scrape off the plastic without damaging the aluminum. I’ll take some pictures next time.

I also spent some time working on the canopy latch. I am using the stock latch design as per the plans and the small tab the protrudes the canopy did not seem secure riveted with two cherry or pop style rivets. I decided to drill out the rivets and use solid rivets. This seems to make a much stronger connection. I think the setting of the rivets allow them to expand and completely fill the rivet holes resulting in a tighter connection.

I order the seatbelts today and looked at the fasteners securing the canopy to the frame. Next step is to shorten up some of the fasteners using ones I had previously ordered.

Windshield and Canopy Installation

I completed the windshield and canopy installation today. The windshield was installed with stainless steel fasteners. I had a problem with one of the nuts which ended up cross threaded and then I stripped the screw. I ended up drilling out the screw while holding the nut in order to remove it.

While installing the windshield I found it didn’t seem to sit down tight on the top of the bow. I’m not sure why but I used a washer to space if off. With the windshield installed I was able to reattach the canopy by inserting the hinge pin.

Windshield and Canopy

More Snap Vents

Today I continued to finish the holes I previously cut in the windscreen. The first step was to finish opening up the second hole to very close the the correct size. I also filed down some of the molding flashing on one of the snap vents to get the best possible fit. I expect to open the holes a bit more after fitting the windshield as I expect the curve of the windshield to distort the holes.

Before installing the windshield I realized that I needed to cover the curved areas of the firewall just above the glare shield in order to prevent glare. I used a piece of file folder to make the pattern.

Windshield Reinstallation

I started to prepare to reinstall the windshield today. I reinstalled the hoop that supports the windshield and then temporarily installed the windshield. Next I need to determine where to place the fresh air vents so that I can remove the windshield and cut the holes for them.


Instrument Panel Glare Shield

I finished installing the instrument panel glare shield covering today. I applied the remaining velcro to both the aluminum glare shield and the back of the covering. I sewed the ends of the velcro to the covering by hand, aligning the stitches with the existing machine stitches in order to hide them.

Glare Shield Cover
Glare Shield Cover
Glare Shield Cover
Glare Shield Cover

Instrument Panel Glare Shield

I installed some felt on the glare shield today as padding under the cloth covering. The top of the glare shield has velcro loop strips that are one inch wide around the edges with felt in the middle. The felt is applied using two sided tape.

Two Sided Tape Applied
Felt Installed

Reinstalling the Rudder Pedals

I reinstalled the rudder pedals today. I used a block of wood to support the pedals as I fitted the support blocks under the fuel tank. It was a bit fiddle to get the bolts in but I succeeded. I tightened the bolts but did not use the torque wrench today.

Reinstalling the Fuel Tank

With the holes for the rudder springs drilled I was ready to start reassembly. First I vacuumed out the floor under the instrument panel and cleaned up the excess grease.

Next I put the fuel tank into place under the glare shield. This was much easier than removing it. I started to work at securing the tank straps. At this point I had a look at the plans and thought that I had forgotten to put felt onto the tank. I removed the tank and then remembered that there were special instructions for the root molded tank. I found the instructions on the Sonex website and sure enough, felt was not required. I repositioned the tank under the glare shield and proceeded to install and tighten the strap bolts. I had to remember to install the fuel tank cap and the drain valve in order to close up the tank and keep contaminates out.

Rudder Spring Holes

Today I continued with the removal of the rudder pedals in order to provide access for the drilling of the holes for the rudder pedal springs. I started by removing the bolts the secured the rudder cables to the rudder pedal connecting link. After removing the pedals I cleaned up the cockpit floor. I pulled the fuel line up against the fire wall and then proceeded to remove the fuel tank. 

Removing the fuel tank was a bit of a puzzle. I had to remove the fuel outlet in order to have clearance under the instrument panel crossmember and over the spar carry through tunnel. After a bit of fiddling it came out.

Next I worked to get the rudder spring holes marked. This was a bit challenging but easier now that the fuel tank was removed. With the holes marked I needed to figure out how to drill them. After trying to fit in my right angle drill and finding it was too large I started looking for smaller right angle drills. This seemed like an expensive idea so as I was looking through my tool box I came across my 12 inch long 18 inch drill bit. This was the solution.

I drilled the holes and while they were not exactly in the marked location they are both further from the edge of the angle which is actually better from a pull out point of view. I may have a bit of trouble getting the spring in but I think I can live with this.

Rudder Spring Holes

I discovered that I did not drill the holes for the rudder pedal springs. I spent some time figuring out where the holes need to be drilled but with the fuel tank installed this location is very difficult to get too. I need to remove the fuel tank.

Before removing the fuel tank I installed the seat pan and removed the control stick. This was to provide me a place to work from.

With the seat pan installed I removed the fasteners from the fuel tank straps. Next I tried to drop the tank down below the stops holding it in place. I forgot about the fuel cap and it prevented the tank from moving. After removing the fuel cap I was able to pull the tank forward but I could not tip it down below lower instrument panel cross member. So, I put the tank back in place.

I’ll need to remove the rudder pedals to lower the fuel tank further. This will be my next step