Sometime in late April we finished construction of the turtle deck, which is the area behind the cockpit that goes towards the tail, giving the rear of the aircraft its structure, shape and all importantly a luggage compartment - something that is crucial if you need to fly donuts over to the guys 'n girls at Swift Air, Leicester. This has been a sore point for us in the build, but it has also been an area where we've learnt a lot of new skills.
One of the biggest issues we faced was down to the Wolf Canopy that we've got fitted to the fuselage, which differs in shape and is a side hinged canopy instead of one that slides backwards over the turtle deck. Because of this we can no longer use the stock plans for the shape of the bulkheads that support the turtle deck skin, instead we have had to essentially reverse enginer the entire setup, a lot of time has gone into ensuring the correct opening and closing of the canopy.
Simple in theory but its taken a lot of hours to get to this stage.
We ran into issues when we came to bend the bulkheads to give them a 1-2" angle of which the turtle deck skin would be riveted to. As we don't have the luxury of a full size workshop it limits the tools and machinery we have space for. This has meant we have had to get creative with some of our metal bending techniques. We tried a few methods and in the end good old fashioned wooden templates, heat and calibrated application of force proved to be the winning formula.
So, after lots of pain we finally have a turtle deck that we are happy with and which means we can now move onto other parts of the build! Over the next few months we're looking forward to fitting the engine, creating the metal panels and plumbing up the fuel system. Here's a picture of the final turtle deck attached to the aircraft: