Cowling Enhancements and Door Trimming

I took Friday off as I wanted to be home Thursday evening for my wife’s birthday dinner. This means four straight days to put this puppy to bed. We shall see….

When we left off last weekend, the doors needed to be trimmed to fit inside the frame, not overlap it like they currently do. If they overlap they will almost definitely “de-doorify” as Wayne put it.

But first…. last weekend I was having a lot of trouble getting the middle bolts to lock where the cowling pieces join. Rather than go into the hole, the locking part pushes the cowling back and so it doesn’t lock together. I talked to Sky Tek during the week and they confirmed that this is because the cowl is too flimsy and they suggested turning an l-angle into some stiffening.

So the day started out by crimping an l-angle so that it would match to the contour of the cowl, and then fixing it to the cowl. Ideally the receptacles would be removed and re-riveted but instead I just cut the angle to fit around them.

Cowling stiffener

and then riveted it on.

Cowling stiffener

A quick go with the top cowling showed this was quite the success.

Allen and Scott had joined me for the morning and the rest of the time was spent shaving parts off the doors to get them to fit properly. Files, grinders, and anything else we thought would make it easier were used to take quite a bit more off the door. Eventually we got a good fit.

Pax door fit

For some reason the passenger door bows out a little so there is quite a gap at the front.

Pax door gap

That door will definitely need some kind of front latch to pull that in and keep it locked.

The pilot door fit much better and probably doesn’t need a latch, though I plan to put one there anyway. It does however suffer a problem with the locking pin. The hole that the pin goes through at the back is too large and when locking the door the pin gets pushed back into the hole and then juts into the back piece, rather than inside of it. You can take care of it from the inside but you can’t from the outside. Will try to fix this tomorrow.

I’d been trying to think what to do with the doors, paint them? What colour? All white isn’t going to work as the plane is already very white and eventually I came up with this colour scheme, in vinyl.

Pilot door wrapped

And that was that for today.