Gear Strut Fitting, Seat Base Fiddling (7 hr)

A new area to work on – prepping the gear channel area for the landing gear. First up there are a pair of gear strut fittings that go inside the gear channel.

You need to lay out some bolt locations by extending the existing rivet lines. With those marked, I removed the fittings and drilled the holes outside of the plane.

There are four bolt holes on the front end side of the fitting that you backdrill from inside the cabin. Two of them are easy, one needs an angle drill and the last one needs divine intervention. Lacking the latter I used a trick from an old video where you use some scrap metal and a hole finder to make a template.

This worked an absolute treat – maybe I have learned something from this endeavour.

I could then put the fitting back into the channel and drill all the holes to the final size. You have to take a good look at the plans because one of the holes is a 1/4″, one stays at A5 rivet and the rest are 3/16″. More than that the 3/16″ holes do not take all the same bolt, a couple are different (and I wish I understood why).

The bolts are in there just to make sure the holes were large enough. Behind the gear channel there are four gear channel doublers which need to have rivet and bolt locations marked and drilled.

The video provides a very good way to achieve this and it was pretty easy (angle drill issues not withstanding)

I had made a mistake long ago with the seat base when I extended the flange rivet line into the back of the fuselage side. The holes should have been made once the gear strut fitting was in place so that the holes could go through the fitting and in places where it was safe to do so. Too late for me but I wanted to check that the holes still lined up with the seat base before I drilled through them into the fittings.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that the seat bases will not go into the pre-drilled holes without a lot of effort, and this time around the effort was more than we could manage, thanks to the rivets now holding the cabin firm and steady. I had my wife’s Uncle Allen helping me out and after a lot of jigging about, we trimmed some edges, made a few cuts and were able to get them both almost spot on. The passenger side is near perfect, the pilot side one is a few mm out and I had to drill new holes in the back. I think it will be fine.

I got the seat pans out and there is plenty of room for them to go in the right position and in the right direction, I won’t be flying the plane at an angle. Also, the control tops etc all still fit in their pre-drilled holes.

I drilled the holes to A4 rivet size and set the seat bases aside for install at a much later date. Then it was back to the gear channel doublers on a howling blustery day in the hangar, felt like everything was going to take off so I stayed just long enough to rivet and bolt the first two into place.

And here’s the view from inside the cabin. I haven’t bolted the fitting to them yet as I’m not yet done with it.

And that wraps up a couple of days work. Next up is to complete the gear strut fitting and bolt them in, then move attention back to the firewall area, finish installing the motor mounts and the side skins.