Sun Feb 15 2009

Fitting F-767 attach plate and seat pans

I clecoed the flap actuator enclosure in place in preparation for fitting the F-767 attach plate.

Next, I used a couple magnets to hold the attach plate in position. This crappy image is on the inside of the flap actuator enclosure...

...and here's a view from the outside. Essentially I used a sharpie to mark the two holes where the #8 screws go. Then I took the attach plate out, drilled one hole to #19 (final size for a #8 screw), drilled the other to #30, reinstalled it, and drilled the second hole up to #19.

It was then a quick matter to drill the three #30 holes where the attach plate gets riveted to the cover (copper clecos).

Next I clecoed on the forward portion of the seat floors.

The outboard edges of the seat floors had slight interference with the F-770 side skins at the forward corners.

So I quickly cut out a couple pieces of scrap .032 aluminum to use as spacers.

These were used to hold the F-770 side skin away from the seat pan so I could use the side skin as a guide and mark a line to file to with a sharpie.

After some filing, there's a nice gap even at the front edge.

Well I was planning to drill the seat pans to the F-704 bulkhead, but found that I had already installed a bunch of nutplates per the instructions. Why Van's has you install these nutplates early on I have no idea. I ended drilling the lot of them out. Save yourself some trouble...don't install these nutplates until later.

Here's the pile of nutplates. At least I can reuse them. I'd be really ticked if I had to spend $5.00 or so to pay for new nutplates due to Van's erroneous instructions.

Now that I think of it, $5.00 would be getting off easy since the landing gear weldment fiasco cost me $120 in new powder coating plus another $15 in paint stripper and about 15 hours of extra time. And I didn't even have to pay to have the welding since Mark, our welder at work, was nice enough to do that for me. I'm going to have to put together a summary page some time describing the quality issues I've run into. Don't get me wrong...Van's does a good job...not great, but good. There's definitely room for improvement. And the thing that really burns my britches is when you call their builder's support line about a problem which is clearly a quality of manufacturing issue (like my wing spars or the gear weldments) and they always seem to take the tack of explaining how to make the piece of crap work rather than offering a replacement as I would expect given the fact that I'm spending anywhere from $25,000 to $60,000 with them.


I also located these little sections of the center ribs and clecoed them in place since they will also need to be match drilled to the floor pans.

Around this time, my buddy Greg Schroeder called to ask some questions about his elevator. Apparently Van's instructions aren't the only ones which are lacking because he followed the instructions that came with his Sportsman kit and ended up with some twist in his horizontal stabilizer. I went over and we worked together to get it jigged up in a way to remove the twist. Unfortunately, it looks like Greg is going to have to order a couple replacement parts to get 'er fixed up.