Fri May 16 2008

Drilling F-711

Well I talked to Bruce at Van's yesterday. I was really hoping to get a replacement bulkhead that didn't have the prepunched holes in it, like I did with the aileron ribs. Bruce indicated that they don't do special orders, so that wasn't a possibility. Apparently the flap and aileron ribs are a common enough problem that they actually do production runs of those. He suggested just trying to split the difference between the F-711 A and B and drill 'em. He said that on the RV-6A, there's only one bulkhead at this location. The -7A would probably be fine with just one also, but they supply two to keep a common design with the -7 taildragger model which needs the extra bulkhead to strengthen the area.

Well I had my doubts, but after wrestling with the clecos, I match drilled both rows on both sides of this bulkhead. The holes are very slightly oval shaped, but it's barely noticeable, so it'll be fine. Some of the skin holes have a little cleco rash...not so much that I think it'll cause a problem.

After leveling the sawhorses by clamping another board across them and leveling that, I worked on making sure the fuselage had no twist in it. Since the bottom of the fuselage is slightly curved, it was kind of unstable sitting upright. The plumb lines showed that the fuselage had a small amount of twist. So I got Kerin to help me flip it upside-down. It's a lot more stable this way and I should be able to ensure there's zero twist in the tailcone section before match drilling everything.