Some Interior Work

Time: 3.0 hrs

I haven’t been working on the plane much since the weather has been kind of crappy. I did get one of the fuel tank skins from TAF a few days ago so I’m able to start putting that tank together. If the weather gets better then I’ll mix up some tank sealer and finish the stainless steel rivets on the wing and do some of the preliminary items for the tanks like the sender, drain, cap, etc.

Today it rained so I finally got to doing the last interior panel. The other panels were pretty easy, just cut the material put on the glue and cover the panel. These last two panels that go near the firewall on the center console are a bit more involved. The material is both leather and carpet sewn together. You need to line up the seam with the previous 2 panels that install on the console and also put in a foam backing piece. The foam piece is to fill in behind the leather to get it to sit nicer on the panel since there is a seam that protrudes out the back of the material.

The first part was finding where the seam needed to be and then figuring out how the foam would go. I figured that this panel will sit under the other 2 panels since those panels would most likely be removed more frequently. I decided to leave the foam material out of the area where the other panels join so the panels would sit more flush. After that it was just glueing and cutting.

The foam is 7/16″ higher than the line for the seam and butts up against the join with the other panels. I glued down the foam and trimmed it, then glued the covering on, making sure the seam line up with the other panels.

The join looks good and the seam lines up with the other two panels.

After some trimming and more gluing it’s done. I think that’s all the covering I needed to do. I still need to install the side panels in the fuselage though.

Carpet for Luggage Area

Time: 5 hrs

Over the past few days I’ve been working on getting the carpeting installed in the luggage area. I tried to use some spray on 3M adhesive which looked to be pretty good, but it turn out to be a bit of a disaster. It really didn’t stick so well to the metal and you couldn’t reposition the pieces as you installed them so I ended up going back to the Barge and a bit larger brush. I also wore a respiratory since it a closed in area and the smell will definitely give you a decent headache. It all went pretty smoothly, the only area that was a bit tricky was the right side area next to the parachute box. This was only because there’s not a lot of room to work and you’re already in an uncomfortable position anyways.

I started the install by doing the main pieces along the top, some trimming was involved, but I left each piece a little oversized to get some over lap on backs or side (whoever another piece needed to get installed). Next I installed the left and right pieces on the parachute box leaving some overlap to the back (bulkhead), then I installed the back pieces on the bulkhead and finally the small pieces on the stringers.

For the floor I’d like to find some rubberized type material. I’m thinking maybe some kind of trunk or bed liner and I’d also like to install some luggage tie downs… maybe a rail where you can place the loop attachments at various spots along the rail. So still some work to be done in the luggage area, but the bulk has been completed.

Luggage area all carpeted. Just need to figure out the floor material and tie downs.

The luggage door came out pretty good. to do the hinge part I just opened the door all the way, cut the carpet to length and then glued it down. The piece that TAF gave me for the door was a bit short so I ended up adding on the top piece above the angle.

Rear Floor Covering

Time: 2.5 hrs

Today I covered the center section and the uprights of the rear floor area. This went without any issues and was pretty easy to do. I left some over lap on the floor that I may need to cut back a little later. I’ll be using some custom aircraft carpeting for the floors that I’ll hold in place with either velco or some or clips. I’m almost down with all the areas I wanted to cover. The rest I’ll wait to get the pieces in the upholstery kit from TAF. I also need to work on getting the materials to TAF SA by the end of the week.

After doing all the cuts for one side I use it as a template to make the piece for the other side. This piece will cover the center floor section. The holes for the rivnuts were made with a leather punch.

Both sides done on the center floor section. I put a little overlap onto the upright so the the corner is fully covered. I also put some overlap on the floor that I may need to cut back a little once I get the carpet for the floor.

Finished the carpeting on the uprights as well. I left some overlap on the sides of the uprights and the floor. I may need to cut these back a little so I didn’t glue them down yet. It’s starting to look a bit comfy now 🙂


More Center Console Covering

Time: 2 hrs

Covered the lower panel and the rear floor center with carpet. The snort (Barge glue) worked very well on the carpet as well. Also the leather punches I purchased worked great to make the large holes for the rivnut heads. A few more pieces to cover.

Lower center console panels and rear floor center covered. This went much quicker then the leather. After gluing I just cut to the edge with scissors and utility knife. The holes for the rivnuts came out perfect using the leather punch.

I’ll have to cut the bottom of the rear center console cover. It’s fits a bit too tight with the floor piece in place. I’ll have to peel back some of the leather and take about 1/8″ of metal off.

Center Console Covering

Time: 2.25 hrs

Covered a few more parts for the center console. After looking at the Sling 4 at Torrance TAF it looks like this panel (the upper half forward from the cubby hole/arm rest) is covered in leather and the bottom is carpet. The piece in front (under the instrument panel is a split leather/carpet that will be done by TAF. Hopefully I’ll get the materials out to them this coming week so they can start making the upholstery. Once I have the front seats I can cut the control sticks and mount the stick controls.

It’s getting there. I can cover a few more pieces and then I’ll have to wait for the materials to come back from TAF. I was thinking of maybe doing the luggage area, but I think it will be easier with the precut pieces from TAF since there are a few difficult cuts to make.

Covering Rib 2

Time: 2.5 hrs

Now that I have some leather I wanted to get this out of the way. On some Slings I saw that the carpet material was used for Rib 2 (the rib behind the rear seat) and on others I saw the leather used. I liked the look of the leather so I went with that. I first made a rough template out of thick paper and then cut the leather to that shape. It went along fairly well the hard part is working in the cramped space. Prior to installing the leather I drilled out the holes for the seat stop bracket and added 2 rivets to the join of the rib halves.

I was looking on Peter C’s build log and I noticed he added some extensions to the seat stops. I may want to do this as well. The catch on the back of the rear seat to hold it upright doesn’t even come close to reaching the stop. I could fix it by moving the catch over a bit closer to the stop, but it may be good to have a bit more material behind the back of the seat as well. I guess I’ll have to think about that.

Here’s the rib all covered. I’m happy with how it came out. There is a piece that covers the gap between the canopy and the rib as well, but I’m not sure if that comes with the upholstery kit (which I don’t have). TAF is going to make me a kit using materials that I supply so I’m not sure if that will be supplied. If not I can always make it from some thick plastic or aluminum and cover it with leather.

Added 2 rivets to the join

Drilled out the 2 1/8″ ( holes for the seat stop bracket rivets. There’s 2 more to drill but I want to wait until the sides are riveted before doing that since things can move a little.

After making a paper template of the rib I just cut the leather with scissors. I cut the outside edge close to the template and the inside edge I left about 2″-3″ of material so that it could be wrapped around the end of the rib and around to the back of the edge flange.

Here’s the front part glued down. I cut slits in the leather to relieve some of the tightness. I made sure to not slit it all the way to the rib, but left about 1/2″-3/4″ of material. This is so that the cut doesn’t show on the side of the rib when it gets wrapped around. Once the edge was glued down I cut off the most of the excess material and left about 1/2″ to wrap around to the inside of the edge flange. You can’t really see it, even from the luggage area, but when I install the carpet in the luggage area I’ll run the carpet over those ends so you can’t see it at all.

Cubbyhole Covering

Time: 3 hrs

Over the course of a few days (had to wait for tools and supplies) I covered the cubbyhole and rear part of the console. I also installed the Stratus Power Thingy.

The main hold up in doing this was getting some time to go to downtown LA to buy the leather for the plane. This past week I finally got a chance to go shopping for the leather. I was able to find some very nice leather close to the color I wanted for a very good price (around $200/hide). So with that done I proceeded to fit the cubby hole top (the part I made out of carbon fiber) to the cubby hole and then covered the rear panel and the side of the cubbyhole.

I found that for one leather is pretty hard to cut, but with a sharp pair of scissors I was able to make the major cuts. Finer tuned cuts required a very sharp exacto/utility type knife. Making large hole was the next challenge. Drills worked OK for small holes but I wanted to make holes large enough for the rivnut flanges to fit in so that the leather would lay flat and not add to the thickness of the rivnut flange. I found some leather punches on Amazon which seemed to work pretty well. They were only around $7 so I found that a few weren’t super sharp and took some hammering to get through the leather. Most of the holes came out pretty good. Some I had to finish off with the knife

So now the 3 hides of leather and some carpet need to be boxed up and shipped to TAF in SA so that they can make my seats and side panels. I’ll keep enough carpet to do the luggage area and a few other spots.

Another thing to note is that the Barge glue works really, really well. It doesn’t seem like it would but it really sticks and holds the leather well. I ended up getting a quart from Amazon for around $30 and that should do most of the interior. I nicknamed it “Snot” because it looks just like it, and is snot-like in many ways :-). Thanks to Craig M for finding this stuff.

Here’s the cubbyhole pretty much done. I will probably put the Lemo connectors for the rear seat headsets in the rear panel next to the Stratus and I still have to mount the arm rest which I don’t have yet.

Lining things up to fit the cubby hole top. I put in M4 rivnuts and then had to drill out the holes in the top


Drilled a 1 1/4″ hole with a hole saw and then cut a small notch with the dremel to install the Status.

Covering the rear panel was pretty straight forward. I found that after making the initial hole for the screws with a drill bit a reamer worked great for opening up the hole and cleaning it up.

Back side on the rear panel.

I used a 9mm leather punch for the M4 rivnuts and a 7mm (though probably should have done an 8mm for the M3 rivnuts. The punch makes a pretty clean hole. I found you can push down with your fingers on the leather to transfer the shape of the rivnut onto the leather then position the punch over that with a wood block behind. You have to be fairly quick since the impression only lasts a minute or so. I did the 4 rivnut holes along the top and then glued the piece onto the aluminum. the 4 rear (M3) rivnut and 4 front (M4) rivnuts were done after. I just only applied glue to the part I wanted to glue.

Glue on the aluminum.

And glue on the leather side.

One side done. One thing to note is that there are no rivet head bumps since I used flush rivets and filled with expo filler.

Close up of the rear panel.

The top. I didn’t realize I probably should have put the cubbyhole top the other way so the carbon fiber weave pattern would have matched. Oh well too late now. Most of it will be covered with the arm rest.

And the side. Pretty happy so far with how it’s coming out.