Faux Panel

Time: 1hr

Today I made up a faux instrument panel out of some blackboard material from Home Depot. I wanted to make sure that the dash had something in it before I finished drilling the holes in the fuselage to mount the dash. I won’t actually be mounting the dash for a while. I will probably use the faux dash to position other things like the choke and heater cables so that I can cut those to size. Now I need to figure out how to somewhat accurately drill the mount holes in the faux panel so I can screw it into the dash.

Once I had the faux panel in the dash I used a laser level to make sure the dash was level. I uses the heater outlets as a reference and measure on both side the same. The outside flanges of the dash aren’t equal between the left and right sides. I noticed this in some factory photos, but it should be OK since the fiber glass band that gets sika sealed to the fuselage after the windscreen is done is quite wide and will cover it.


Top Front Skin and Dash

Time: 3.5 hrs

Today I finally got the top front fuselage skin installed. I think I’ve taken care of most of the items that need to do with the firewall and wiring so I think it’s safe to put on the skin. I’m sure something will come up that would be easier to do with the skin removed, but hopefully that will be at a minimum. I used some sika on the top join to seal it and also ran a bead down each side along the cowling join area. I had a few holes that were a bit tough to get lined up, having the wet sika there made it especially fun.

I also started to line up and drill the mounting holes for the dash. I think I have the dash in the correct spot. I know Craig M had some details on mounting the dash, unfortunately my dash has some funkiness on the tabs that makes measuring a bit difficult. I set the right side to to 20mm that was stated in Craig’s blog and that seemed pretty good, I then used a level to set the left side (the side with the weird cut) and drilled out a few holes for the 4mm rivets,. I’m going to wait on the rest until I make a faux panel out of some 1/8″ plywood. I want to be sure that when a panel is mounted that the center section is in the correct spot and the panel sits flat. The dash is pretty floppy in that area and it could easily be bend back and out of shape and then when I mount the panel it won’t sit correctly.

One finish up task before installing the top skin was to run this safety cable on the turbo server. It is just there to make sure the cable can’t pull all the way out of the server. The Rotax manual doesn’t show how to do this so I improvised something.

All looks pretty good so I should be OK to close it up.

All done. There’s a thin bead of sika along the front and I put some sika in the front join between the top skin and firewall.

Dash is lined up and started to drill a few of the mounting holes. I’ve got a bit of work to do on the dash itself and there’s quite a few things that need to be done with the avionics before the dash can get mounted. NOTE: I noticed that the flange on the dash on the right side is a bit large then the flange on the left so you can’t use that to judge if the dash is on straight.

Fits OK on the center console as well, but I’ll make a faux panel out of some thin plywood just to make sure it will all work OK. Next project is to fit the cowling.

Rear Interior Skins

Time: 2 hrs

Today I labored a bit, even though it’s Labor Day and I’m supposed to be out having fun. I riveted the left and right interior skins. I can’t think of any reason I need to wait on these… famous last words. It all went very smooth, things fit surprisingly well. There were 2 holes at the very bottom of the skin that needed to be drill out and was a bit difficult to get the drill in to drill them out.

So with only a few things left to cover I really need to get the engine ordered. I’m away for 2 weeks in Germany to run the Berlin Marathon so maybe I can get it ordered before then.

Photo of right side rear interior skin done. Left side looks the same so didn’t take a picture of that.Seat belts work great as well.

Rear Seat Back Stops and ELT Antenna

Time: 2.75hrs (includes .75 avionics time)

Today I did some work on the interior section behind the rear seat. Prior to installing the rear seat stops I riveted and covered the area with carpet. I also had to drill a few missing holes in the rib. For the ELT antenna I put in a few M3 rivets so that I could remove the antenna if I decide to move it to a new place. Unfortunately the only better place I can think of would be just in front of the vertical stabilizer inside the fiberglass and running cable back there will be quite involved. I’ll try this out and if it doesn’t work then I’ll have to move it. I also made a mistake and mounted the antenna a bit too low on the rib. I forgot that the BNC connector would add about an inch to the length of the cable. It would have worked but it was a bit too close to the luggage support and I didn’t want the connector to vibrate and have issues so I moved the antenna up about an inch and installed 2 more rivnuts. I covered the other rivnuts with carpet. I also drilled out the top line of holes in the side inner skins (the holes that go into the fiberglass of the canopy).

The ELT mounted using 2 M3 rivnuts onto the rib. Covered the area with carpet and installed the seat stop. I also drilled a hole in the luggage support and installed a grommet for the antenna coax cable and crimped on the BNC end. I put some large diameter wire sheathing over the BNC connector and cable, just thought it looked a little nicer. I still want to install a few clips to hold the antenna on the rib.

Carpet installed and rear seat back stop installed as well. I will have to check how well the latch on the rear seat works. I saw that Peter C. added extensions on the seat stops because they barely reached the latch. I may need to do the same.

Rear Floor Panels

 Time: 2.25hrs

Today I riveted the rear floor panels. The brake lines have been run for a while now. I still need to clean them out and then put the brake fluid in, but I think it’s safe to install the floors now. I did a few things to the landing gear bolt inspection covers. First I rounded the corners a bit and then I use the edge tool to put a bit of a raised edge so that the M4 rivets would fit well underneath the cover. The cover sits a little higher then the rest of the floor, but I’ll have some fairly thick carpet so I don’t think it will be noticeable. It would have been better to use M3 screws and rivnuts, but the predrilled holes were a bit too large so I think M4 worked better.

floors riveted and (3) M4 rivets installed in the floor for the inspection cover.

Inspection cover came out pretty good. Need to prime it though.

Yay both floors are in. Have to do the sides next and then a little more carpet covering

Close up of the inspection cover. The edges are beveled a bit so that the rivnuts can sit under it and I though the rounded corner looked a bit nicer then the squared off, plus the beveling comes out a bit better if there’s not a hard corner.

Miscellaneous Work

Time: .75hrs

Did a few things on the plane today. First was I finished up the throttle assembly and put on the turbo boost handle and main throttle handle since I don’t think I will be removing the throttle assembly anymore. Previously I had made an error and reamed the hole on the throttle arm out a little too much so I had to get another one from TAF. The bushing that goes in the throttle arm should rotate freely so that the throttle cable can move back and forth, but the hole on mine was too small. I reamed it to 7mm and then just lightly filed around the hole to get a perfect fit with the bushing.

Second I did a bit more work getting the front seat straps to move freely between the canopy and the interior skin. I had thought that maybe I didn’t put the canopy on far enough back. However, after looking at another Sling 4 at TAF it seemed that it also had the same issue where the seatbelt strap cut out wasn’t back far enough to accommodate the way the seatbelt strap routes up from the spool to the hanger (mounted on the canopy). Even with the cut out not extending back enough the strap did still work, but it did seem to stick some times. After extending the cut out by around 1/2″ the strap doesn’t seem to bind up at all. I also added some low friction tape to the inside of the side skin just to help a bit more (but not really necessary). The side skins should be ready to rivet now so I may do that tomorrow.

Used the deems to extend the cut out for the seatbelt strap. This will all be covered by the side panels so the little missing paint isn’t too big a deal.

The seatbelt moves nice and smooth now and there’s no bend in the belt as it passes through the cut out now. Previously it did work OK, but now works without any binding.

I added a little low friction tape to the inside (that you can’t see) of the skin and then wrapped it around to the front.

Interior Rear Side Skins

1.5 hours

Today I got the interior rear skins ready to get riveted. I had to remove a few rivets from the rear seat floor area to get the skins to fit in. I also had to drill out a few holes for rivets. The skins fit pretty well. The only issue is that if I line up the top of the rear skins with the top of the front skins then most of the holes don’t line up so having them not even seems to work best. These will be covered with the more decorative interior panels so these will never be seen.

I noticed that the cut outs or recesses in the canopy for the seat belts don’t line up great. And since the parachute cable is right behind that area I can’t really even dremel it out more. It’s not that far off, maybe 1/4″ and the seat belt does seem to move OK, though it got a little slow retracting once while I was messing with it. I was thinking maybe the canopy isn’t far enough back (not much I can do about that now), but if that were the case then the upper hinge part of the seat belt strap would be farther back as well and so I’d have the same issue I think. It’s not that big of a deal, it would just be nice if it lined up a little better. Maybe I might need to loosen the seat belt spool and put a slight angle on it instead of it being so straight vertically. Will have to look at that.

I always thought the these flanges go in front, but I saw on the Sling at Torrance TAF that they sit behind the floor panel. Much easier to drill out as well. But now I need to remove these rivets.

OK rivets are out and had to drill one hole in the flange on the floor. On the floor I put the flange under the floor skin even though the Sling at TAF had it on top. I just think it looks better and maybe a little stronger this way.

Right skin, cleaned and clecoed. I’ll do the top row after I get all the other rivets in. Just need to rivet it when I get back from my hiking trip. I think I should be safe to install the interior skins now. I can’t think of anything else that needs to be done behind them.

And same for the left side.