The Rear Fuselage
The Rear Fuselage consists of four sides (Left, Right, Top, Bottom) that are built independently and then assembled together to make something like a square cone that's larger at the cabin and smaller at the tail.
The process begins by assembling a large piece of sheet metal to a small piece of sheet metal.
Next, there is a full length L-shaped extrusion that gets drilled and clecoed to the top side of the skin.
The same process follows for the bottom side.
Next, some lighter gage L-shaped stiffeners are drilled and clecoed to the skin.
Everything is installed and clecoed here. The diagonal L's have been painted and riveted since they don't come in contact with any other parts. Everything else will remain un-riveted until the assembly is finalized.
This is what it looks like on the backside. Ignore the funny looking paint. I laid the diagonal L's on the skin to paint them, and I painted the skin where the L's touch. It will all get painted in the end.
This is a BIG airplane as far as kit planes go. This is the right side of the fuselage from the backside of the cabin to the tail. You can tell I'm going to run out of garage long before the airplane is done!
I've completed the left side as well but the picture would be identical (mirror image) so it's not shown here.
I did the top fuselage next because it's fairly easy and takes up less space than the bottom (I simply removed the stiffeners and rolled it up to put it aside).
Mounting brackets for the rear seat shoulder harnesses are attached to the top skin.
Next the bottom of the rear fuselage. It starts like the sides with two pieces of skin clecoed together.
It has some "L" stiffeners toward the rear and some "Z" stiffeners framing the trap door area. Next the "L" angles from the sides get attached to the bottom skin. They can be seen here laying along the sides of the skin.
Here the left side and right side are joined to the bottom.
Preparing to "close it up" with the top skin in place (but not yet drilled).
Startin' to look like an airplane, ain't it?
Looking in the front end you can see the plumb bob used for aligning the centerline of the top skin with the centerline of the bottom skin.
Need a place for the elevator control wires to come through so this area needs to be cut out.
I started with a hole saw...
...and finished up with snips, files, and scotch brite.
Starting to frame things in on the other end. I'm out of clecos now so I'm going to disassemble everything, de-burr, zinc oxide, reassemble, and rivet. I'll only rivet the bottom and sides and only from the back to the most forward vertical L stiffener. That will give me enough clecos back to work on the forward fuselage and cabin area (I hope).
By the way, in case anyone is wondering, a #40 drill hurts when it goes 2/3 of the way through your finger. Just the right size for that silver cleco! It doesn't look like much now (this picture was taken a week after the tetanus shot, x-rays, and antibiotics), but it was kinda' nasty when the twisted flesh was dangling out of the gushing hole...yuck!! I wouldn't recommend it.
Looking in the rear fuselage from the front with the plywood jig removed. Green parts have been complete for some time now and are mostly riveted. The bare metal parts are new additions.
These corners between the side channels and top channel were fun (not) to fit. I only have a hacksaw to cut the angles. A band saw or mitre saw would have been nice to have. I drew a bunch of 45 degree lines and cut one that was close, then used a disk sander to "sneak up" on the correct fit.
Same corner viewed from the inside. You can see all the trimming that has to be done around the "L" shaped extrusion.
Once the corners fit, the wing attachment brackets go on. This is the attachment point for the rear wing spar.
The back seat and baggage area parts are all fitted. They still need to be drilled to the final size for rivets, deburred, primed, etc., but the rear fuselage is basically done!
You can see the seat back and seat bottom here (less upholstery) and there is a small area behind the back seat for luggage. Actually, it's only big enough for a small soft sided bag or briefcase or something like that.
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