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Top Skin


Dcp00778.jpg (75651 bytes) Side skins cut and temporarily stored
I cut the side skins at the same time I did the bottom skin.  And then, I stored them rolled in my "store room".
Dcp00862.jpg (90611 bytes) Avoiding some floppy work
The manual calls for installing the skin with the fuselage and then drilling everything while the last thing the skin wants to do is to stay in place.  I tried something else and so far, I am very pleased with my approach.

I installed all stiffeners to the skin directly on the table (as I did for bottom skin). Then, I removed the lower longerons from the bottom skin and drilled them with the side skins directly on the table (again). 

Dcp00863.jpg (91052 bytes) Here is one!
After the previous step was completed, it has been very easy and fast to install the skin on the fuselage... simply clecoed in place.  The rivet rows for the H.T. frames were also pre-drilled in previous step.  In this step, I drilled the parts together.
Dcp00864.jpg (100652 bytes) And another one...
Those two side skins were installed in only two evenings; including drilling, installing stiffeners, lower longerons and attaching to H.T. Frames.
Dcp00868.jpg (118030 bytes) Oh... some frustrations!
It does not look too bad like this, but that rear "box" was a real pain.  For whatever reason, I had several problems with edge distance (maybe I was too tired).  I ended up making the rear panel three times (made new parts) and replacing the right side upper longeron with a new one.  In the end, everything is OK, but it was not so much fun getting there.

An attentive person may have noticed the upper rudder bearing which has a bizarre shape.  My plan is to cut it to final shape AFTER I determine the hole location (when I will install the rudder).

The rear bulkhead was put in place temporarily for my personal enjoyment.  It is not yet drilled in place.

Dcp00870.jpg (97705 bytes) The stabilizer attachment brackets
While my attachments on the stabilizer were cut as per the plan, there is not enough material underneath the stab. (front brackets) to respect the mandated edge distance of 13mm on any attachment brackets.  I could do it at 10 or 11mm edge distance, but not 13. 

So after I saw the solution for bad edge distance on the kit supplied wing splice plate, I thought that this approach could solve my stabilizer problem (Zenith Aircraft issued a service bulletin to replace the aluminum rear wing splice plates by 4130 steel plates if edge distance is not appropriate).  So, I made my front brackets with 0.050" 4130 steel.  I'll validate this move with Chris Heintz later.

Dcp00874.jpg (94209 bytes) Not in the plan, but maybe helpful
While the fuselage sides may look straight to the casual observer, they are in fact shaped like a trumpet.  The rear end of the fuselage is not following the angle of the middle section.  Here, I installed stiffeners to make the top sides similar to the bottom sides.  The skins do not buckle, therefore I think everything is OK.
Dcp00934.jpg (76290 bytes)  
Dcp00936.jpg (86583 bytes) Just for the picture
Some people put the stabilizer... I installed the rudder!

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Michel Therrien, (c) 1999 - 2003.