Lots of miscellaneous tasks in this post. First, I had been unsure how to position the nut plates shown in the first photo here. The instructions from Show Planes tell you to use a single leg nut plate at an angle so that the #6 screw will be 1/4 inch from the longeron edge. Well, this is actually in violation of the appropriate edge distance, so I wanted to do a little homework to see if this could be moved further in. In the process, I emailed Bryan with Showplanes. While the instructions tell you to use the existing hole for the center rivet of the nut plate, Bryan said the location of the bulkhead may force one to use the last rivet hole on the single leg nut plate. This is the case in my installation. These nut plates will be used to hold the two pieces of fiberglass shown in the photo below. These will eventually be mated to the instrument panel cover to create a sealed and smooth transition and a proper seal with the canopy. After placing the part, I’m confident there is a fair amount of wiggle room regarding the exact location of this nut plate, so I measured the appropriate edge distance for a #6 screw.
Next I discovered that I had improperly installed and drilled the new cockpit rails. The original Van’s Rails slope forward and down following the longeron, and this is what I did with the new rails. A later picture in the instructions, clued me in that the new rails stay flat and run even with the new cut to the forward fuselage skin. You can see the direction the rail must move in the first picture. Here is the first photo after the correction. You can see the original “mistake” holes here. I’m not worried about this extra set of holes. as this part is hardly structural and will still have plenty of strength for its intended purpose.
Here is a good diagram showing exactly how the installation is supposed to be positioned. Next it was time to start playing with the instrument panel. So exciting! I’ve put a lot of thought into the panel, and while I’m still quite a ways from putting the avionics together, its exciting to be reaching this part of the build.
The first project here is to trim the F-803B-L & R to accommodate the new canopy. This requires a new curve beginning with the 6th rivet. To accomplish this, I clecoed the F-803C in place at the 6th rivet and then curved the remaining portion to the cutout where the new cut would end. This made perfect line to guide my cut.
Here is the result after the cut. Next I installed the instrument sub-panels and began working with the rail to panel attachment points. The lower corner needs to be pulled out to be even with the bottom of the instrument panel. I began by drilling the rail and clecoing and then I simply marked the drill locations for the instrument panel attachment. This will be getting pop rivets anyways, and even with a 90 degree offset drill its almost impossible to get a good angle.
My las project for the day was to start playing with some ideas for new side consoles. I’m undecided as to where or not I will do this. It LOOKS really good, but I want to be sure the cockpit ergonomics are just as good. My finishing kit is shipping this week, and I included the seat foam in the order. One of the first things I intend to do is get the seats upholstered. The reason is simple, I want to be able to sit in the cockpit, exactly as I eventually will, so that I can accurately fine tune the ergonomics. From what I gather online, the new side consoles with the sloping panels for switches usually move the throttle quadrant in and aft. This seems to be a deterrant for larger and taller individuals but preferred by shorter pilots. As I’m only 5’6″ & 140 lbs, I’m guess that I will prefer the ergonomics of the new consoles. Regardless, I’m not making this customization until I’m positive. While looks are important, ergonomics are more important!