Van's  RV-8  Project


Since I ordered (late) the fuselage when almost finished with the wings, I had a good 2 months of down time between the wings and fuselage construction. I used most of that time to consider and study options for the fuselage. I used some time also to clean and reorganize the workshop.

I spent an amazing amount of time thinking of what I wished and what I didn't want in the fuselage as options.
The fuselage is obviously where multiple variants can be introduced.
This is one advantage of building your own airplane, as you can customize it almost as much as you want.
The down side is, anything outside the original parts and plans needs serious study and consideration and will add in complexity and work, not forgetting $$.

From the standard Van's fuselage kit, I deleted the following:
- Tail wheel assembly (I later found that I had to order the tail wheel mount WD-409 as it's deleted from the TW kit and it needs to be drilled)
- Gear legs and their brackets
- Brake fluid reservoir
- Fuel selector valve
- Fresh air vents
 I forgot to delete the brake master cylinders !!!

I added to the fuselage order these items:
- Rear seat rudder pedals
- In-Flight adjustable front pedals
- Static air kit
- Manual aileron trim

I purchased from the Van's parts and accessories web store:
- Assorted nutplates, screws and rivets
- 12 1/2 X 16 inch 0.040" aluminum sheet for the gear tower modification
- AeroLEDs Pulsar LED Nav lights and Strobes with the Suntail rear position/strobe
- Rear throttle quadrant
- Andair fuel valve (this will have to be changed for the Duplex Andair fuel selector because of the EFII dual pump)
- ES fuel pump and filter (this will not be installed because of the EFII dual pump)
- Gascolators with their quick drain and brass plugs (one gascolator will be exchanged for a reverse flow model)
-(Don't forget to order the tail wheel mount WD-409 if you deleted the tail wheel assembly from VAN's)

I purchased from FlyBoy Accessories:
- Screaming Eagle complete tail wheel unit
- Van's type tailwheel tapered rod spring (needs to be drilled)
- RV Rocket Steering Link
- Deluxe tail wheel tire
- Sliding Canopy Automatic Latch with two stops
- Sliding Canopy Lock
- Internal Rudder Stop
- Rod End Bearing Tool
- EXPERIMENTAL vinyl graphic
- Waterproof WarmSeats Seat Heaters

Also bought from Aircraft Spruce Canada:
- Steinair Aluminum Eyeball Vents
- The AeroElectric Connection book
- Additional tools
- Torque seal
- A Stainless Steel cabin heat box
-Vertical Power VP-X Pro electronic circuit breaker system and wiring

I purchased from Grove Aircraft Landing Gear Systems:
- RV-8 Airfoiled Lightweight Gear
- Brake Master Cylinders with Integrated Reservoirs
- RV Upgraded Wheels and Brakes

The dual fuel pump module (order the 90° fittings for the RV-8)
- The corresponding fuel filter

The shop, now with additional lighting, is all cleaned up and organised to start work on the fuselage. The paint box was turned 90 degrees so I can use the full lenght of the garage.
The fuselage kit in its crate in the shop.  It took two days to unpack, do the inventory,  and sort the big bag of hardware.
The first operation of the fuselage kit is to trim and deburr the edges of the firewall and its angles.

Then the angles, spacers and the engine support mounts are clecoed to the firewall for match drilling.

The firewall is made of stainless steel so lots of Boelube is used and a slow drill speed works best.
The firewall has to be bent forward 8 degrees.

For this, it is clamped down on the worktable with a block of wood aligned with the bend line.
My smartphone level is set to 0.0 degree on the firewall web.
Using a wood block underneath to equally push the top part up and after some small adjustments up and down, it was relatively easy to get the 8 degree angle.
Seen here are platenuts installed after all the firewall parts are primed.

These need to be installed before the angles are riveted to the firewall.
Using back riveting, all the firewall parts are installed including the engine brackets.
Here, a close-up of the top left corner showing the engine mount bracket.

In the 4 corners, I increased some of the proposed rivet lenght as they were a little on the short side when measured with the guage.

With this, the the shop heads are better.
The front side with the flush rivet heads.
In this photo, the forward floor with its cross members are all drilled, deburred, dimpled, countersunk, scratched and ready for washing and etching then priming.
After trimming its flanges, the cooling ramp with its stiffener and end angle are drilled, deburred, dimpled and scratched.

They are ready for cleaning, etching and priming.
The forward floor and its parts are primed.

Platenuts are installed on the floor and on the crossmembers.

The platenut holes are then countersunk to accept a #6 dimple.

These will later be touched up with primer.
Before riveting the rear crossmember to the floor, I removed it to access this rivet and the same on the other similar part.

Otherwise, it would be under the crossmember flange and difficult to reach as I'm back-riveting these rivets.

After the two are done, I installed the crossmember before continuing.

The front crossmember is not riveted at this time and is later removed to access the other rivet at the opposite edge for both these parts.
Sometimes, the rivet lenght proposed from the plans is not optimum.

As seen here, to rivet the thicker cross members, the plans call  for a #4 lenght. (seen on left).

The rivet gauge shows that a #5 lenght (seen on the right) is perfect for this situation.

Too short, the shop head will not have enough material and too long, the shop head risks leaning over.

When in doubt, this tool is great as it shows the correct rivet lenght before setting, then the correct shop head diameter and thickness after setting.
The rear crossmember and the ribs are riveted to the floor.

The front crossmember is not riveted to the floor and the ribs for now.

After edge deburring, all the gear tower parts are assembled for match drilling.
Many builders modify the inboard face of the gear towers to have a better access to the gear bolts.

I ordered a 0.040 inch aluminum sheet for this with the fuselage kit.

I will remove the aluminum between the two middle lightening holes and make access panels from the stock aluminum sheet.
The access plate will overlap the opening by 1/2 inch.

After marking reference lines for the platenut holes, I marked the hole locations 1/4 inch from the edge.
I clamped the two tower panels together, aligning the access holes to save time when drilling the platenut screw holes.

The platenut hole locations are center punched to start the drilling.
The holes are first pre-drilled with a #40 drill bit and clecoed to ensure correct alignment.
The holes are then enlarged with a #19 drill bit for #8 screws.
Two access plates are cut from the stock aluminum sheet.

They are 1 inch longer and wider than the access holes in the tower panels so they will overlap 1/2 inch from the edges.
The access plate is then centered and clamped on the tower panel hole.
The top and bottom holes are drilled and clecoed first using the tower panel as a template.
Then all the holes are drilled to size.

The access plate being exactly 4 inches wide, I locked my dial caliper at 2 inches and used it to mark the surface for trimming.

The gear tower access panel all done!!
The last step is to drill the platenut rivet holes.

On the other side, the rivet holes are machine countersunk for flush rivets.

This modification for the 2 gear towers took me 4 1/2 hours to complete but will most certainly be appreciated when the time comes.
After priming, it's time to re-assemble the gear tower parts for riveting.
The cooling ramp has its center stiffener riveted.

The end angle is riveted to the forward floor front crossmember.

The cooling ramp will be attached to the floor and firewall later in the build.
Riveting of the gear tower is under way.
My squeezer is unserviceable since the set holder is broken. It's under warranty but until I get a new one, I will have to use the rivet gun more often.
I'm not as good as I would like on the gun with the #4 rivets.
There is a small number of rivets that have a smiley but it's just cosmetic.
I will not risk damaging the tower by removing those rivets.
I need more practice with the gun...
The platenuts are all installed on the two modified tower webs.

Even these were done with the gun instead of the squeezer.

Easier because they were set by back riveting.
The gear towers under construction. The 3 sides are set together, with a cosmetic smiley here and there but my gun handling was much better in the end!!

The steel weldments at the bottom are temporarily bolted on for drilling 4 more bolt holes.

I installed one cover on one tower with just 3 screws to show what the modification will finally look like.
The steel weldments are now drilled, deburred, and bolted on.
One little catch, previously in the instructions it just says to rivet the angles to the tower webbing.
After bolting the weldments, except for two bolts as seen just left of the rivet with the arrow, there is a part that wraps around the corner. It is bolted were the 2 bolt holes are and is riveted to the webbing.
Well, there's a rivet (arrow) already there. When it's time to fit this new part, the instructions say to mark one hole so as to not rivet it before the part is installed. But it refers to another hole for the other weldment. No mention of leaving this one free... So it has to come out.
Rivets removed on both towers.
The two towers are clecoed to the forward floor for riveting the outside weldments.
One of 4 sides.

The hole on the right with an X is the one to leave free for the new part as mentioned in the instructions.

The hole most on the left is the one not mentioned to leave free where the rivet was removed.
2 upper braces are clecoed and drilled to the gear towers.
Another small catch with the instructions.

After installing the platenuts as per the instructions, it says to rivet the bracket to the gear tower.

The platenuts interfere with the rivet gun set.
So off goes the platenuts and on goes the bracket.
Then on goes the platenuts one more time.
The mid cabin braces receive 6 platenuts each.

Platenut holes are drilled at the end of each long arm but they are not installed at this stage.
The fwd floor section is almost done with the towers and braces riveted and bolted on.

Under the floor, the front crossmember and the front of the towers are left clecoed only at this stage.
The middle section is made from the same type of construction as the wing spars.

They will act as the attach point for the wings. First action to do here is to drill the correct holes for the rudder cables.

On each web, there are two possibilities, one for the RV-8 tail wheel, the other for the RV-8A nose wheel.

I circled the correct one while marking with an X the hole not to drill.
The 4 holes are drilled to 5/8 inch.
Another home made part is done starting with stock aluminum.
Done !!!
Bulkheads are fluted then clecoed and bolted to the front center section for match drilling.
The firewall is clecoed to the fwd floor assembly for match drilling.

The whole is on its side for easier access as the holes to drill are on the bottom.
The firewall is then removed to deburr the holes and then the 9 middle holes are countersunk.
Our old friend, Proseal, is back !!!

The middle 9 holes receive a thin layer of sealant to prevent entry in the cockpit of any liquids from the engine compartment.
The firewall is riveted to the floor, except for the 9 middle rivets that were covered with sealant.

They will be done at a later stage, as for the baggage bulkheads.
The drill press is used to match drill the end holes on the front seat spars.

To hold everything steady and level, the 2 spacers just made are used.

One is between the two spars inline with the clamp and the other is under the 2 spars, again inline with the clamp.

First, the hole is drilled to 1/8 inch.
After the 1/8 inch hole is made, it is enlarged to a # 12 hole for a future AN3 bolt.
These brackets are made from the very long angles used for whole lenght of the fuselage.

Care must be taken not to cut the long angles too short...!!!
Front seat spars, ribs and seatbelt attach points are clecoed and drilled.

Missing are the 2 brackets mentioned previously, I will make them later.
The bulkheads and the seat brackets are riveted to the centre spars.
To assemble the 2 centre sections together, spacers of exactly 1.438 inch (the thickness of the wing spar) are cut from PVC tube.

Van's suggests to use wood, but I found and stole this solution from another builder.
The spacers are in place and the bolts installed with just enough torque to keep the assembly snug and not squeeze in the parts.

1.438 inch on the 4 corners!!!
The centre section parts are now bolted and riveted together with the correct distance between them.
Here are the 2 seat brackets made from the supplied 12 feet angle.

Care must be taken when selecting the angle as to not cut the longerons that are identified as having a thicker section of 0.125 inch instead of 0.063 inch here.
All the seat ribs assembled and drilled, ready for edge and hole deburring then priming.
The bottom skins are clecoed the the seat assembly for drilling to the ribs.
Because of the diehdral angle of the wings, the skin edge overlap is bent using this special tool.

A small angle is made by rolling along the edge making the 2 skins mate tightly.

This must be made prior dimpling the nearby holes.
Just an view of all the seat parts and skins all deburred and ready for priming.
I bought the optional aileron trim but still not certain of using it.

The only factor affecting roll will be unequal fuel burn if the tanks are not switched regularly.

Nevertheless, I will prepare the parts, install them and decide later if I leave it connected or not.

First operation is to drill a couple of holes in a small tube.

The drill press and some scrap angle is helpful.
In the end, the tube has a notch made with another hole.
Following advise from fellow builders, a larger relief notch is made on the centre bulkhead.

This is to make room for riveting a bottom skin rivet there.

I enlarged it to 1/4 inch wide.
Centre bulkhead parts primed and assembled.

The holes common to the ribs must be left free at this time.
The front ribs, their angles, the seat belt brackets and the manual trim brackets riveted together.
The front seat ribs and their associated parts all done.
The bottom skins are riveted together and to the seat ribs.

The outboard ribs do not get riveted at this time.
In the middle of the photo is seen where the notch was enlarged in the seat bulkhead.

It shows that it's just wide enough to allow room for the dimple in the skin and the rivet holding the two skins.
There are 6 different longerons to bend or twist in this next stage.

2 short ones get twisted, 2 other short ones get a slight curve and the 2 main, long longerons get 4 bends each in 2 locations.

Here, this longeron is held in the vise while a locking plier is set at on end for twisting.

In this photo I used small pieces of wood to protect the longeron but it's not a great idea.
Here is a better way to protect the longerons.

Some duct tape on the longeron and some scrap aluminum sheet.

I left some space at the extremity to measure correctly the twist angle.
After twisting, the required angle of 7.25 degrees is set but I didn't have 2 decimal points on the electronic level...

7.2 will do fine !!!
On one end, the 90 degree angle needs to be opened to 96.5 degree.

A rubber mallet and a steel plate is used and a good 20 to 30 whacks are needed along 6 inches or so of the vertex.

It's best to open the angle progressively along the vertex instead of just at the end.

I had to rework a bit this one.
I bought a set of longeron dies from Buller Enterprises, a RV builder that did not think highly of the prehistoric bending method of clamping and whacking the longerons.

They need to be taped and greased for best results and work very nicely with almost no effort.
The dies are marked at centre and the longeron is marked at the bending point.

A squeeze from the vise is all that's needed. The bend is straight, in one plane only, meaning that the longeron is not bending in the other plane as with the mallet whack/vise method.

The only draw back is that the bend has to be done in small steps, to check the progress and not over-bend. So there's a lot of do-undo the dies and longeron in the vise. Time consuming only.
An example of a bent longeron against a straight one.

Bending with the dies is great, except that it works only in one plane. The longerons need to be bent both horizontally and vertically at the same point.

Once the bend is made, the dies don't work for the other bend because of the angle. Fred Flinstone's method of whacking with a rubber mallet takes over. I made the bigger bends with the dies and kept the smaller ones for the whacking.
After the longeron bending, these 6, 1/8 inch parts are curved by hand to conform to the centre or gear tower bulkheads.
More parts are prepared by carving a radius on certain edges for a better fit in the bulkheads.
The lower longeron is clamped to the fuselage structure for drilling.

The twisting and angle opening done previously on the longeron make it fit perfectly.
After one rear hole is made, the front holes are done and bolts are installed to continue the drilling all along the longeron.
After drilling, deburring etc. the lower longerons, they are reinstalled.

Further drilling of the landing gear weldments is done.

Then the auxiliary longerons are put in place and covered with the outboard gear tower plates.
The front and rear cockpit arm rests, some fuselage bulkheads and seat angles are edge deburred.

4 holes on the bulkheads are enlarged to receive bushings for the static air tubing and wiring.
I chose to install a rear seat throttle. No propeller speed though.

The reasoning behind this is three-fold. Stay simple with only one level to install, better possibility for a rear passenger/pilot to enjoy flying the airplane, and in case of incapacitation of the front pilot, the rear passenger/pilot has at least control on the engine.

This is the kit sold by Van's so it should be simple.

First step is to drill an extra middle hole in what will be the throttle lever.
A slot needs to be cut in the rear armrest to allow for throttle travel.

Pilot holes are enlarged and used to draw reference lines.
A Dremel with a thin cutting wheel was used, then files to smooth everything out.

Some further fine-tuning might still be needed later.
Holes have to be cut in three bulkheads to allow the passage of the throttle push-rod.

Templates are provided for this.
Hole done!

Sorry for the blurry photo...
The left and right Mid Side Skins are flat and identical.

A cone shaped curve must be worked out.

First is to draw bending and reference lines making sure to bend one skin for the left side and the other for the right side.
After clamping to the table and fabricating some angles to help roll the skin, I wrote on this skin which side to pull upwards to ensure making one left and one right skin.

On the other skin the lines look the same but are on the other side and the roll is made in the other direction.
After the rolling.

To finish, the angles are removed and the roll is massaged by hand, comparing with the bulkhead helps to check the needed curve.

Be conservative as it is easier to install an under-rolled than an over-rolled skin.
The press-drill had to go on the floor and a fly-cutter on is used to open holes for future rear seat ventilation.

One hole in the right side skin and one hole in a seat rib are made.
The right side middle fuselage skin is clecoed on the mid section and the floor.

The arm rests are clecoed and drilled as for new rear bulkheads.
After both left and right skins and arm rests are clecoed, the mid and front sections are clecoed together.
The front side skins get clecoed, further joining the forward and middle sections.

To get this done, I removed all the clecos on the mid bulkheads and the gear towers (except one to keep the gear twr plate, doubler and longeron in place).

I started with one cleco in the lower aft, middle and front then moved upwards.

1 in every 2 holes gets a cleco. This to keep everything aligned correctly, otherwise the front and middle sections don't match.

 also used a wood block to support the middle part and align it as close as possible before clecoing.
These bulkheads, stiffener bars and angles need to be trimmed and cut to proper shape then deburred.
Here are 5 of 6 bulkhead assemblies ready.

It doesn't look much but deburring all these is time consuming because of all the nooks and crannies on the contours.

For now, only the bottom halves are riveted for the 3 larger bulkheads.

The 6th bulkhead is still being worked on.
As per the plans, a line is drawn 1 inch and 11/32 above the 2 small holes that are above the large one of the forward face of the last bulkhead assembly.

A vertical centre line is also drawn.

That horizontal line is where the top of the tail-wheel mount will be and centered with the vertical line.
The tail-wheel mount is clamped in place.
The tail-wheel mount is then drilled using the 2 small holes through the bulkhead.
Two longerons are clecoed to each of the rear fuselage side skins.

Yes, I'm working on the floor...

These skins are long, and I don't have any free space available in my small airplane factory :-(
2 ribs and a small bulkhead are clecoed aft of the rear seat assembly.

These will later support the rear baggage floor and a battery.
The rear bulkheads plus the side and bottom skins are clecoed to the middle part of the fuselage.
Here, a side view of the fuselage assembly from the firewall to the last bulkhead.

The photo is taken with the garage door open as the fuselage takes all of the garage lenght.

I have about 10 centimeter of clearance in front and the same in the back.

I will need to re-organise the shop in order to align the fuselage diagonally for increased space.

Otherwise, I won't be able to install the tail-wheel...

Also, I'm almost out of clecos. A bunch of them are not seen here as they are either inside or underneath the fuselage.
For drilling, the 2 upper longerons are clamped both ways so they rest correctly on the steel angle.
The side skins are held flush with the upper longerons with a forest of clamps.
The fuselage drilling continues.

I counted 544 holes and took 10 hours to drill both front side skins after they were set up.

3 different hole sizes, and because a lot of them are through solid aluminum longerons and steel weldments, a lot of Boelube is helpful as for a good electric powered drill instead of the battery one...
A small heads-up when drilling to size 19 some holes at the base of the gear towers.

On the plans, a zoom of the right skin is shown with a pattern for the chosen holes to enlarge.

Don't forget to mirror that pattern for the left side skin.
At this stage, the aft bottom and side skins are drilled to the longerons and the bulkheads.
This rear deck is centered and clamped into position for drilling into the longerons.

Through the deck slots near the rear, the longerons are marked for future trimming as there will be stiffener bars rising through.
The rear deck and an additional angle are now drilled.
More drilling into the upper longerons to install cockpit rails.
The outer edges of the cockpit rail must be flush with the side skin's outer edge so clamps are used to align them.
Ratchet straps are used to bring the longeron's vertex flush with the upper gear tower flange for drilling.
The front seat back support is clecoed to the fuselage.
Many builders report that drilling the seat back support can be tricky for 2 main reasons.

First, the hole must be drilled from below through the seat back support.

Second, obviously as seen here, the aft hole is half outside the spacer and cockpit rail.

Needless to say that edge distance here would be insufficient knowing additionally that this 1/8 inch hole need to be enlarged for a screw...
Another ratchet strap pulls everything in place and an angle drill adaptor is used from underneath with a mirror for proper drilling.

The hole is now correctly done.
All holes for the seat back support done.

The black clecos show were larger #19 holes are made to accept screws.
In this blurry photo, the most aft bottom skin and bulkhead are removed to expose the second last bulhead.

A horizontal line is drawn were the top of the tail wheel mount will be.
The instructions says to fabricate 3/4 inch shims to fill any space between the TW mount and the bulkhead were the holes are to be drilled.

Some builders don't need these but I found that a 0.040 inch gap needed to be filled.

I did two of these that I find somewhat small in surface.

I will search and see if larger ones would be more appropriate.
The tail wheel mount is solidly clamped in place using the previously drawn line and sighting through the tube were it is centered with a tool hole in the bulkhead.

The small shims can be seen at the corners of the mount.

My idea is to build a larger one in the shape of the mount to increase the contact surface between the 2 parts.
A top view of the mount now drilled to the bulkhead.

Seen also are the 2 small shims at the corners.

I don't like the remaining gap between the mount and the bulkhead, thus my plan to fabricate a larger, full size shim.
A bottom view of the tail wheel mount.
A template is installed on the aft rear skin to mark where it will be trimmed to clear the tail-wheel mount.
The bottom skin after trimming.

I had to shave away more than the template.

Mainly to clear the welding on each side of the tail-wheel mount.
From the start of the project, my girlfriend wished she be the first passenger.

Here she is, her wish (almost) done with a thumbs up.

This is just before putting the assembly back on the work table before dismantling.
After disassembly, the front section is strapped to the table to countersink the middle section holes.
The upper longerons get trimmed for rear reinforcement bars and trimmed for lenght.

The markings were made when the longerons were installed on the fuselage for drilling.
Both longerons trimmed.
After a bit of research and questions, I fabricated this full-sized shim for the tail wheel mount, replacing the 2 small 3/4 inch shims.

The centre hole is not quite perfectly round as it contours the welding on the mount.
All fuselage parts were disassembled, deburred, dimpled, countersunk and primed.

49 hours of work in the last month  to do this...

Not seen here are the upper and mid-rear longerons and the all the skins that are also done.

Time now for final assembly.
The lower longerons are bolted, screwed and riveted to the front floor section.
One flush rivet was bad, then badly drilled out with an enlarged hole.

I chose to install a flush head screw with a self-locking nut like the ones already used in the gear towers.
The middle section is riveted and bolted to the mid-cabin braces.
The inner seat ribs are riveted to the brackets on the middle section.
The outer ribs are bolted and riveted to the seat floor bulkhead.
The front, middle and seat sections are joined together now.

Then the outer ribs are riveted to the floor panels.
Platenuts are riveted to arm rests and bulkheads.

The arm rests and side bulkheads are riveted together, then they are riveted to the middle side skins.

The rear arm rest is not riveted to the skin at this time.
This is where the left mid-side panel, the upper longeron, another angle and plate are added to the assembly.
The right side panel and related parts are added to the assembly.
A view from the back.

When both sides are installed, it's time to rivet the upper longerons to the landing gear boxes and to the engine mounts on the firewall.
Van's standard fuel valve is not compatible with my desired engine configuration ( Electronic Fuel Injection and Ignition).

The supplied fuel valve bracket is too small for the Andair Duplex Fuel Valve.

Duplex meaning fuel feed to the engine and return to the tanks.
After searching and thinking, I came up with a plan to fabricate a twice as wide bracket using a 0.032 inch plate trimmed to clear the platenuts on the mid-cabin brace.

The plate will be held under the brace and longeron by countersunk screws.

The longeron is temporarily clecoed with the gusset on the outside so as to keep it flush as if the skin was there.
I used some extra stiffener angles from the empennage kit and cut them to lenght to strengthen the bracket.
Careful cuts were made so the valve can be dropped through.

The top of the valve will rest above the bracket and be sandwiched with the cover plate.
Holes are match drilled using the valve as a template.

Although the orange plugs need to be removed for the valve to slide in place, did I mention to  keep the plugs on the valve to prevent contamination?

Platenut attachment holes are drilled and dimpled.

The front stiffener needed a little trimming to clear the valve dropping through and for the fuel line.

Next step will be to clamp and drill screw holes in the longeron.

The screw holes in the mid-cabin brace will be done after the skin is installed to factor in any shift of the assembly.
Here is a pilot's view of the valve.

Missing are the holes through the longeron and the top plate covering all except the knob and face plate of course.

I test rotated back and forth only once and the assembly felt really solid. (Andair suggests to avoid excessive dry turning of the valve)

This is a really well engineered valve and nice looking also !!
Bottom view of it all.

Leaves plenty of room to install the 6 fuel lines.

The lower section will draw fuel from the tanks and feed the engine while the upper section will channel the returning fuel from the engine to the tanks.

My logic here is cooler fuel below, warmer fuel above.

The valve operates one tank at a time, feeding from and returning fuel to the same tank.
The bracket is now match drilled to the longeron and the holes are countersunk for #8 screws.

The holes will be touched up with primer.

Self-locking nuts will be used.

Care was taken to position the holes between the rivet holes on the side of the longerons
The bracket with its stiffeners ready for priming.

There's a slight angle between the mid-cabin brace and the longeron so a bend was made on the bracket so it will fit snugly under the longeron.

It took me close to 5 hours to fabricate these custom parts.

I'm satisfied with the results, with one last thing to do.

I will weigh the fuel valve and simulate a 9G pressure on the bracket to satisfy the 6G requirement.
On with the fuel lines.

First is to fabricate and install the fuel tank vent lines.

A 45° angle fitting is secured with a nut through the landing gear tower bulkhead.
The fittings installed first, then the ends on 2 lines are flared.

I used some steel wire to get an approximate shape of the line for bending.

The wire is a bit fine for this, it's better to use coat hanger wire.
Here is the final shape of one of the vent lines.
An inside look of the right side vent line in the gear tower.
After installation, the vent line sticks out from the bottom floor skin (that is not yet installed).
The front side skins are temporarily clecoed to the fuselage.

This is to install some pulled rivets on the centre side skins.
Since I have the intention of using an electronic fuel injection and ignition system, this will require full fuel return lines to the tanks, so 2 lines crossing the fuselage.

The centre bulkhead is normally fitted for only one fuel line  running from the tank to the selector.

I temporarily installed the control column to check for clearance with 2 dummy lines, using extra Adel clamps.
Platenuts are installed on longerons for the aft side skins.

Then these are riveted to the skins.
The aft side skins are clecoed to the mid side skins and the upper longerons.

The front of the fuselage is strapped to the worktable to prevent tipping.
A rear view of the aft side skins.

Seen also are the 2 baggage floor ribs, riveted to the fuselage.
The next to last rear bulkhead is being prepared with its tail wheel mount clecoed and firmly clamped for 1/4" drilling.

Prior to this, an angle and stiffener bars were riveted on.
Both bottom holes are now drilled for 1/4 inch bolts.
The most rearward bulkhead is riveted to the aft bottom skin.

Then the tail wheel mount with the other bulkhead is clecoed to the skin, but...
The instructions says to rivet this bulkhead to the bottom skin.
2 things prevents me doing this step.

First, my tail wheel mount is not factory drilled as I bought it as an extra. (the tail spring is also not drilled, later on this).

It will be almost impossible to remove if the bulkhead is riveted.
Second, with the skin riveted, there is no reasonable room to insert a wrench under the mount to hold a nut, that is tightened on the bolt holding the tail spring.
Through this hole, the nut can be seen hugging tightly the skin.

The hole is to permit the bolt from poking through.

I will drill the mount and spring with a proper drill guide then bolt them together before riveting the skin.
(I am not affiliated in any way with this brand of drill guide.)

The tail wheel mount is fitted with a guide for drilling through tubes or round stock.

Both the mount and the tail wheel spring were untried since ordered seperately from the standard kit.
As this is steel, lots of lube, slow drill speed and high pressure on the drill worked fine and the hole is nicely centered.
Same procedure for the tail wheel spring.

After the hole was made, the mount and spring were fitted together and the drill bit was passed through using the guide to ensure perfect bolt hole alignment.
The finished hole in the tail spring.

Sorry for the fuzzy photo... :-p
At the other end, the tail wheel swivel is drilled to the spring.

This time, I match drilled both parts together instead of individually.

Once one hole was made, I put a bolt in it to secure the assembly for drilling the second hole.
The mount is final bolted to the bulkhead and the spring to the mount.

I bolted the spring at this stage even if the instructions say to bolt it later.

I can't imagine how it's done when the skin is riveted to the bulkhead.

See next photo.
On to riveting the bulkhead to the aft bottom skin.

I had to slightly enlarge the hole in the skin as my bolt is a little offset from where it would be if factory drilled.

As explained on the previous photo, there's no way to put a wrench on that nut when the skin is in place.
After checking with other builders, I enlarged the hole in the bottom aft skin.

The skin will fit better, there will be no stresses from rubbing on the nut and more importantly, I can now fit a socket to install or remove the nut as needed for maintenace, repair or replacement.
To rivet the aft bottom skin to the bulkhead, it is suggested to weigh down the assembly with about 25 pounds of weights.

I used a pack of 6 water bottles plus one extra that I had.

Total weight 10.5 kilos, 23.1 pounds and no harm to the assembly.

It was all more than stable enough to rivet the skin.
The rear fuselage bulkheads are clecoed to the side skins and the baggage floor ribs are riveted to one of the bulkhead.
The lower skin is now clecoed to the bulkheads and side skins.

Everything is in place for riveting the fuselage skins.

However, I want to finish the fuel system lines and the brake system lines up front.

It will be easier as the front fuselage skins are still removable.
On the left is the fitting for receiving the brake line.

I drilled a new hole in the forward part of the gear tower, making sure the fitting and brake line does not interfere with the yet uninstalled fuel lines.

You can see the original hole to the right (or rear).

I will install Airfoiled Grove landing gears that have an internal conduit for the brake fluid.

The fitting on the gear is aft, making it very difficult to join with the gear tower fitting if both are on the aft side.
With the tower fitting on the front side, an easy looping line across to the aft side will join the 2.
Pictures of this when the gear gets installed.
The left and right brake lines are done.

They were supposed to enter the towers through the middle holes.

But since I modified these to open them up and they will be covered, the lines now go through the upper holes.
Inside the right tower.

Contrary to what the photo suggests, the air vent line and brake line don't touch.
Inside the left tower.
The EFII (Electronic Fuel Injection & Ignition) Dual fuel pump module and filter.

The fuel flows from the line coming out the gear tower (on the right), then in the pump module, then up and in the filter and on through the firewall on the left.

It is bolted through the floor from underneath and it will be safety-wired.

Rubber washers between the pump and floor will dampen any vibrations.

On top is a 10 micron uncloggable filter, it will also be safety-wire bolted to the pump frame by an Adel-Clamp.
The EFII system requiring a full return line, it is running from the firewall, above the pump module directly through the gear tower.

I had to drill a new hole in the firewall for the return fitting.

Both firewall fittings, washers and nuts are steel instead of aluminum.
Both feed and return lines connected to the duplex valve.

The lower hole in the tower is for the return line and had to be enlarged.

When all will be final installed, some small tweaking of the lines will take place to centre them correctly through the holes so there's no rubbing.

All lines are home-made, machine and/or hand bent/flared.

I forgot to put in the fittings on one line before flaring one end...
Had to scrap that line and start over...
Below the feed line is the new bulkhead fitting for the returning fuel passing through the front side skin.

Its placement will ease its connection to the return fitting on the tank.

It also considers the not yet installed gascolator.
A view from inside of the fuel return fitting connected to the fuel selector.
A right side view of the pump and filter and its fuel lines.

I still need to safety-wire the assembly, I'm waiting for the appropriate bolts.
To install the right tank fuel feed and return lines, I had to change the fuel selector's right side male AN6 fittings for these 90° fittings to clear the mid-cabin brace.

A small throughway had to be cut in the stiffener to allow the fuel line and it's nut through.
Looking rearward, a close-up of the fuel lines running along the main bulkhead and exiting the right side front skin.

The top line, exiting in the lower corner, will be returning fuel to the tank.

The bottom line, going through the rubber grommet is the fuel feed line, installed as per original plans.
The whole view of the main bulkhead.
The complete lines are seen exiting the fuel selector.
Every line in the whole of the fuel system were hand made with, at times frustrating moments as many were scrapped in the process and done again. The most difficult was the right return line with its 9 bends as this is version #4...
Both lines are close together but not touching in the middle to clear part of the flight  control system.
I will either tweak the lines further apart or put a thin rubber sheet between to prevent chaffing due to vibrations.
It could look a little better as a fifth try would maybe produce a nicer result but I'm out of 3/16 tubing...
All side and bottom fuselage skins are now riveted with the exception of a few rivets.

Here's an inside view.
I can now say that I have an aluminum canoe.
Following the riveting of the skins, work is going on continuing the build of the fuselage.

Here, the aft deck and spacers are riveted or bolted on.

Where you see the clecos and bolts, the rivets are left out because the elevator stops need to be adjusted later.

I also left out 4 rivets fore and aft of the vertical stabilizers bars to ease the future removal and insertion of the spacer.
The rear seat belt brackets are riveted to the skins and bolted to the mid longerons.
Gussets are riveted to side and bottom ribs.
View from the front of the gussets riveted to side and bottom ribs. A floor support angle is also riveted.
A close up view of the cockpit side rails riveted to the upper longeron and bulkheads.
A close up view of the side plates, riveted to the side ribs. They hold the front seat back support that is bolted, screwed and riveted it.
From the side, an inside view of the fuselage and its installed seat back support.
A side view of the fuselage and its installed seat back support .
Working on the front bottom skins.
This will be a significant modification subsequent to the installation of the EFII fuel pump.

The pump will be safety bolted to the left front floor panel from the bottom.

Therefore, to access the bolts in case of pump removal, I decided to fabricate an access panel.

After projecting the bolt location, I drew a dark line for the opening.

The red rectangle will be a one inch wide doubler to attach the removable panel with screws.

This is a view of the fuel pump bolts.

These are only temporary and not safety wired yet.
The rough cut made with a drill bit in the corners for roundness and a Dremel tool for the rest.
The bottom panel is fitted to check if all looks ok.

The opening seems large but don't forget that there will be a doubler sticking in 1/2 all around inside.
The doubler, cut from an extra piece of aluminum sheet.

The frame is 1 inch wide.
The doubler is positioned and clamped to the skin panel for drilling.
The doubler is now all drilled with the panel.
The access panel is cut to size and fitted on the doubler.

4 pilot holes are made in the corners to hold everything in place to drill the screw holes.

These holes will also be enlarged for screws.
Next, the holes for the screws are made through the access panel and doubler then platenuts are positioned and drilled to the doubler.
All the holes are now dimpled and the assembly is fitted to the floor confirming the access to the bolts is ok.
The access panel is clecoed to the doubler to check the overall look.

As with any deviation from the plans, careful thought, consideration, research and planning helps acheiving the desired goal.

It's always stressful to modify a perfectly good, original part and it will always induce more time and often more money.

I'm happy with the result of this modification.

Isn't what homebuilding is all about?
On to the next step, a hinge is cut to size for the front seat back.

The pin is intentionally 1 inch longer and the extra lenght will be bent 90° to become a handle.

The marks on the left side are for drilling positioning holes.
The hinge for the rear seat back is longer and 4 eyelets are removed. The pin is cut in half and the resulting extra lengths will be bent to become handles.
On the rear seat back hinge, the positioning holes are not the same size.

The pin is bent to function as a handle for removal.
Working on the rear seat back parts after all their edges were deburred.
After priming a bunch of parts, the battery holder is assembled and fixed to the baggage floor ribs.
With its platenuts, the doubler for the fuel pump bolts access panel is riveted to the bottom panel.
The access panel is installed with its screws and the bottom panels are clecoed in place to the front fuselage.
Working inside the fuselage now, specifically on flooring and the rear baggage area.
The front floor, its stiffeners, its seat hinge and rear foot wells are put together for drilling.
Marks are made on nylon blocks to drill bolt holes with the press.

The blocks will hold in place the flaps actuator.
The flap blocks are trimmed as per plans to clear the fuselage and actuator.
The blocks are fitted to the flaps actuator and they're bolted on the floor to the underlying longeron for drilling the forward holes through the pre-drilled block.
After riveting the seat backs, both are positioned in their approximate positions just for fun.
The cockpit floors and rear baggage floor are all ready for installation.

This will have to wait for the Canadian inspection and the joining of the wings.
With the floors in place, it was easy to install both seat backs.

They are held in place with hinges to permit access to the rear baggage area and for easy removal if needed.
Here's a view of the rear passenger area.
Another modification is induced by the Andair selector.

A larger main hole needs to be opened with an additional 4 holes for bolts in the left mid-cabin cover.

A projection was drawn on the cover to start the 1-1/4" main hole.
The main hole is done, with a little extra diameter.
And with the 4 bolt holes, permitting the complete installation.
Another interesting challenge is to fabricate this cable anchor for the throttle quadrant.

It is made from stock aluminum angle.
Almost two hours later, (mostly due to manually cutting the excess material with a hacksaw, a band saw would be ideal here) the anchor is done according to plans but still needs some work done.

The three 1/2" holes were done using the drill press.
Using the throttle quadrant as a template, 3 extra holes are done and then all 4 are taped to accept 8X32 screws.
The throttle quadrant assembly is ready for priming and installation.
A total of 3 pushrods are needed to activate the elevator.

This 1.5 inch tube was first cut to lenght at 67 inches and 2

Then it's drilling of the elevator pushrod to attach the threaded ends.
8 holes are made on each end.

Then, it is disassembled for deburring and priming inside and out.
A smaller 3/4 inch tube is cut to 42 inches and 7/8 long.

6 holes are made on each end to attach the threaded ends.
Brass bushings in both front and rear control sticks are trimmed to fit in the main control column.

Then the control stick is also trimmed so just a little brass extends on each side.
The rear stick comes in 2 parts and they need to be drilled.

Once more, my guide tool for drilling into tubes is used and produces great results.
The rear stick assembly.

The front and rear sticks are connected together with a third pushrod.

The called for bolt on the front stick is too long and rubs on the control column.

The instructions mention this and advises to trim the bolt so 1/8 inch of clearance is made.
The front control stick bolt is trimmed to permit a free operation.

(And yes, its direction is reversed from the previous photo)
The bolt for the rear stick is ok in length.

I will certainly use a castle nut and cotter pin on both sticks attachment here for extra safety and peace of mind.

And I believe this to be a Canadian specification on any rotating part held by a bolt.
Here's a view of the control column assembly.

Both sticks need to be parallel so a slight adjustment to the pushrod length is in order.
One catch here when installing the flaps motor.
Instructions says to install the bracket that's on the bulkhead first.

If that is done, either the bolt holding the pushrod can't be inserted from the outside-in for the bolt head to be between the bracket and the fuselage's skin, or if the bolt is inserted from the inside-out, then there's not enough space to put the washer and nut between the bracket and the fuselage's skin.

Therefore, I installed the bracket on the motor pushrod first, then bolted the bracket on the bulkhead.
Inserting the rudder cables is pretty straightforward.

Except that I would suggest to do this before bolting the flap actuator as it then restricts access under the floors to pass the cables throught one of the bulkheads.

Plastic bushings protect the bulkheads from the cables.
The cable exiting the rear goes through a vinyl tube that is held on the skin by a clamp.
Seen here is the cable and its vinyl tube sticking out the fuselage.

Some made and installed an aluminum cover for this.

I most probably will take the time to do it also.

The 2 aft elevator pushrods are done, as for the bellcrank.
A small cable holder is fitted with a snap bushing.

The rudder cable vinyl sleeve is then secured to its bushing with a zip-tie.
The holder is then screwed to a floor angle.

Its purpose is to prevent the cable from moving around in the rear passenger feet area.
7 holes are drilled in a tube on which the rudder pedals will slide.

These will permit 7 rudder positions relative to the front seat.
Drilling of the remaining holes in progress.
The rudder assembly is complete except for the brake master-cylinders and the mechanism that will lock in place the sliding pedals.
Web Hosting Companies