Fuselage - AFT Section

2005-07-11 - Finishing the J-Channel. (3.5 Hrs).

This was a couple of nights work on the J-Channels, which involves cutting them to the proper length, and cutting a notch in each end. Initially, I had a hard time trying to figure out exactly what needed to be done. Once I actually got out the bulkheads that the J-Channels need to attach to, it was pretty clear what to do. The plans give some dimensions as to how to cut them, but the instructions say each end has to be trimmed to fit the bulkhead that they attach to. This is probably not that critical, but you don't know exactly how each one will fit until you actually put the rear fuselage together.

Even after two night's work, I still had a couple of ends to trim. The problem is the shape of the pieces, which make it hard to trim the ends. I used a pair of tin snips, but you have to be careful with the inside cut. It is easy to crack the part at the inside corner, as evidenced by the picture below. I ended up doing a lot of filing, which took a lot of time. I'm sure that Van's recommendation to use a cutting disk in a die grinder would have been useful.

You may notice that I assembled the F-779 tailcone skin to the F-711 and F-712 bulkheads a little early. I had heard how hard the tailcone skin was to work with, so I thought I would put these pieces together to see what the big deal was. Well, it was a bit of a pain to get the bulkheads clecoed to the tailcone, but it was not all that bad. I know some people have actually sent their part back to Van, but it just takes a little patience, some bending, and a little swearing, but it does go together. No need to send the part back. Hey, we're building an airplane here, not assembling a model. Some pieces don't fit perfectly, so you just have to make them fit.

Cut em to the proper length with the cutoff saw.
One nicely trimmed J-Channel.
This lower J-Channel will fit along the top edge of the tailcone and the bottom slot on each of the rear bulkheads.
Like so.
This is the piece where I went a little too far with the tin snips, and cracked the J-Channel. I had to file the corner until the crack was taken out, which left a notch in the corner.
After two nights I was done with one end of most of the pieces.
There were still a few pieces to finish.