I started tonight by doing a bit more sanding on the mating points of the forward cowl, but I didn’t really do much. I discovered that waiting a few days made me a lot more accepting of how the gaps were looking now. It helps that in reality, the pieces will be spaced apart (to provide room for paint), which makes the very small variances almost unnoticeable.
Next up was creating a way to fix the cowl halves together at the front. Eventually, there will be screws and nutplates here, and the normal procedure would have been to drill pilot holes for these and cleco the halves together…but since I cut the flanges off, I can’t do that. Instead, I cut some pieces of scrap aluminum and used them to temporarily fix the halves together. On the upper cowl, I’m using two of the three screw pilot holes on each side; on the bottom, it’s just another temporary hole that I’ll fill later on:
Next, I got the cowl halves installed on the airplane, and pulled the halves together at the aft end with a ratchet strap. This allowed me to go around and use that same tape line on the fuselage to draw the aft cut line on the lower cowl:
So now it’s about time to do some more trimming and fitting, though once again I’ll have to pause and fit the hinge halves to the fuselage before I can put the lower cowl back in place. That’ll be work for another day…