Tailcone complete(ly clecoed)

Not the most productive weekend – had a lot going on yesterday, and then I apparently somehow injured my ankle and could barely walk this morning, so I spent half the day in bed. But it got better enough for me to get some work done by the afternoon. First, I drug the aft bottom skin out of its storage spot and out into the driveway. I wasn’t looking forward to dimpling this thing, but really, most of the holes were along the edges and thus accessible with a squeezer. I only had to drag out the C-frame for about 30 holes or so.

Then it was time to wrangle that thing into place. Again, this was not a task I was looking forward to; when I installed this for match-drilling previously, it took forever to get the forward end lined up. This time, though, it actually went a lot better. After some initial frustration, I finally figured out where the major problem was – the right mid side skin, where I curved the skin around the bottom of the fuselage, was actually a bit flat in the middle, creating a point where it wanted to bind against the aft bottom skin. I was able to pull the mid side skin out of the way enough to slid a small zip tie into the spot where the binding was occurring, and that allowed me to get the aft bottom skin in place surprisingly easily. Then I just had to install a boatload of clecos all up and down the thing.

That just left the forward side skins to install. First, I needed to rivet some nutplates to the stiffeners/angle mounts for the throttle quadrant and console. Then, these angles needed to be back riveted to the forward side skins before they were installed. So I got out all my back riveting stuff, pulled out the forward side skins…and realized that the inside surfaces needed to be primed and painted first. And here it was nearly dark already. ARGH!

Instead of my usual wet cleaning/scuffing routine, I scuffed the skins while dry and gave them a good acetone wipe down. This was a lot faster and gave me time to at least shoot primer on the skins before it got dark, but the paint will have to wait until another day. Maybe I can bail out of work a little early tomorrow and get the paint done before dark – such is one benefit of long summer days.

I’ve also got to seal the forward side skins to the firewall edges when they’re installed. I dug out my tube of Fire Block 2000 with some trepidation – it’s been sitting since I sealed the forward floor to the firewall about a year ago, and I was concerned it might have dried up. There was indeed a nice plug of dried stuff in the nozzle, but I managed to clean it out and get the stuff flowing again. So now I just have to get that painting done…

Finally, I got Josie to come help me manhandle the fuselage off the big sawhorses and onto the two purpose-built ones. This support the fuselage much more securely, though I don’t know how well it’s going to work once we get started riveting. Most people invert the fuselage for that job…if I do that, I may have to build yet another set of sawhorses. Something else to figure out…

So anyway, here’s the fuselage in its almost-totally-clecoed state:

IMG 6832

IMG 6834

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