It has been over 3 months since our last update where we mounted the engine, so we're long overdue an update! Rest assured though that despite a little break to recharge our batteries, we have been very busy.
We have now completed all of the metal panel work for the fuselage, at least to the point where it just needs some final trimming that will be done later. The hardest panels to make were most definitely the ones around the cabane, where a lot of time was spent taking panels on and off, cutting and filing, all to make a perfect fit around the cabane with a gap that was not too big and not too small either. The final finish will include some kind of trim to seal the remaining gap, helping to keep the rain out.
Now that the engine is on, we have been able to fit the beautiful Wolf Cowling. Combine that with the panels and the result is something that's looking more and more like an aircraft now! The side profile is such a beautiful shape, and reinforces why I wanted to go for the Wolf Cowling and Canopy on this build as it looks so much better than stock!
The Wolf Cowling has taken quite a bit of work to attach, mostly as the two halves weren't entirely straight and required quite a bit of sanding to prepare. However this was all to be expected as the cowling isn't an off the shelf part that you can just attach. The builder still needs to do a lot of work to finish it and get it attached, which has been a good challenge. Thankfully there's some fitting instructions to go with it. We must have taken the cowling on and off a hundred times whilst fitting it.
One problem that we had was the requirement to fit the cowling with a propeller on, so that you can get that correct alignment and spacing between the back of the spinner. Something we don't have yet, though thankfully we were able to get hold a propeller and hub that has seen better days, allowing us to carry on without spending thousands of pounds on a propeller just yet. Having never seen the inside of a composite propeller before, it was quite interesting to see the how they are built up. Here's a shot of the same blade section from each end:
We have also been looking at lots of other smaller tasks, such as revisiting the seat design as trying to find a proper seating position is proving quite hard due to the lack of headroom. One thing that we will be doing is to create a custom seat insert, perfectly moulded to myself so I can have as much support and comfort as possible. When you're flying knife edge on your side you do tend to move around a bit in your seat thanks to gravity, so having a custom seat in place with sides to lock me in place will really help. For this we'll be working with Schroth and their brilliant iNDi seat.
In a few weeks time we will be taking the fuselage back down to where we picked it up from, to have some final welding jobs done and to also get the fuselage painted. No more bare steel! For this we have been going over every little part of the fuselage, making sure that we have 100% happy with it. Do we need another bracket here? What about another tab for X here? We really don't want to be in a situation where the fuselage is covered in P-Clips. If we can put a bracket in place now at this stage, then lets do it.
That's all for now, next update in a few weeks when the fuss should be a shiny color after being painted. We're hoping to make some big progress over the next 3 months. The arrival of our wing kit will soon come around, which will open up a whole new project for us. But first, lets focus on getting that fuss ready.