Cowling Part 1

In anticipation of the cowling work I re-attached the top skin

Top skin back on

and put the spinner on

Spinner on the prop

Despite reading the instructions several times I had not noticed that the cowling has to be trimmed so the first time it was on the plane it was way too long.

First time for top cowl on plane

The manual calls for the cowling edge to be 5mm from the rivet line on the top skin so after tracing around the edge, it could be determined how much needed to be trimmed.

Calculating the trim distances for the top cowl

Allen just so happened to have a nifty electric saw with him which was perfect for trimming the excess. After checking for the fit we got the bottom half and taped it to the top. Those last eleven words don’t do justice at all to the struggle that involved, but eventually we were able to get the two pieces together (note that the guide says to remove the propellor and that would have made the task a lot easier but I wanted to do it without taking the prop off).

First cowling trial fit

In this picture we’d already trimmed the excess from the bottom cowling using the same technique as before. Unfortunately I was lazy in my line marking and drew a straight line from the last measured point to the edge, rather than a curving one that was actually needed. So on the pilot side the two halves do not extend the same distance aft on the top skin. Well, that’s definitely the best plane in show trophy gone!

Unfortunately I had to stop play there for a lunch date but it pretty close I think. Not so obvious in this picture but the cowling is not quite centered on the spinner

Cowling not quite centred

Once the cowling is properly situated I can drill pilot holes for the fasteners and it can be finished on the bench. I think this pushes engine start back a week or two but it is better to not be idle while waiting for things to get resolved.

After lunch I returned to the hangar to tidy up, look for that missing washer for the throttle, and rivet the arm rest. I did do a bit of tidy up, I did not find the washer and I did rivet the arm rest. Most of it.

With the control arms in, it is quite hard to get the rivet gun in for every rivet. It works pretty good at the back

Arm rest riveted

But not so good at the front

Arm rest riveted

Fortunately the bottom can be riveted from underneath

Arm rest riveted

It is rock solid and of course the arm rest top will add further stability so the missing rivets probably don’t matter but I will try some more ideas before giving up on it. Again, not sure how the passenger side will go since there will be even less room to work with – maybe the arm rest should be riveted to the seat base before installation.

I think a good few days work was accomplished, ever onwards towards the final goal. I’m slightly bummed that engine start is still a little bit away (though I think we could start it tomorrow if we didn’t care about observing the vital stats) but things are still moving along bit by bit.