Every now and then, just when you think you have this building malarkey mastered, a curve ball comes at you at the speed of sound. 29-10 to 29-12 involves preparing the side skins for attachment to the rest of the structure and riveting the centre section/ strengtheners to the skin. Settle in, you could be a while..
The skins are then cleco’d to the fuselage.
Just at this point, the googly took out all three stumps (cricket reference for those outside the Commonwealth). First prize goes to anyone who can see why my short but illustrious building career could come to a premature end? You won’t see it unless you are an avid 14 builder but I should have seen it months ago.
That outboard rib has a flange which should be inboard of the upright. If you look carefully you will see that mine is trapped between the skin centre section and the upright. How the heck did I do this and not notice….on both sides….? Well, I did and now was not a time to panic…..PANIC! I thought I had right royally screwed the whole mid-fuselage structure as these ribs were so well riveted at the base and in the rear flange it would be impossible to remove them and correct the error. After the initial shock had subsided I decided to drill out the lower flange rivets and see how much flex there was in the rib to get the forward flange to the inboard side. To make matters worse, I had already riveted one of the uprights to the skin. Long story short, and about 30 drilled out rivets later, I managed to correct my king of all cock-ups…so far. It wasn’t pretty but with a few oops rivets the ribs were back in place and I’m the only person who will ever know (?). A call to Van’s for reassurance was placed. Sterling laughed and said all would be good, build on. Here she is in all her beauty:
Sorry, I did say this was a long one. The next challenge when fixing the skins to the firewall along with the cowling hinges and shims is that you will suddenly notice that you have been told not to dimple the stainless firewall flanges but you are instructed to dimple the skin, shims and countersink the hinges. They won’t fit. Off with the skin again and a call to a fellow builder to confirm that I’m not going bonkers as the firewall has to be dimpled, right? It does but nowhere do they get you to do it yet the rivet plan has 426s prescribed for the skin to firewall fit. Firewall now dimpled with the squeezer – build on. The reason you don’t dimple the firewall initially is that you match drill the hinges and shims to the skin; obvious innit?
Side skin riveting now in full swing. Just waiting for some assistance as even though I can scratch my knees without bending down, I can’t reach the bottom rows of rivets on my own.
The best part of all of this epic was when I texted a fellow RV owner and builder to tell him of this sorry tale, he was response was, “it happens”. Yep, it certainly does.