Thursday, September 9, 2010

Slow going

The weather has been fantastic for a fairly long stretch of days now and that's caused progress on the plane to slow to a crawl. The weekend was filled with flying and other outdoor activities, but I've still managed to get out to the hangar for some RV-12 buildin' now and then.

On Sunday morning I flew down south to visit The Jackson Two. Jackson is not too very far from Portsmouth so we combined the trip with a nice breakfast at the airport diner. While we were visiting the shop and comparing notes, we came across a few open holes in their fuselage that looked as if they really ought to have rivets in them by now. We tracked down that problem, but I returned to Schmetterling with a renewed resolve to make sure I hadn't missed anything before installing the side skins. I found two things that needed fixing.

The first thing wasn't actually an oversight or a mistake on my part. While I was perusing the internet looking at other builders' blogs to make sure there weren't any "before you put on the skins" hints I may have missed, I came across one that suggested testing the fit of the upper firewall section with the longerons. I'm glad I did!

Both of the longerons were just slightly too long and kept the upper firewall from matching the rivet holes in the skins.

The longerons had to come off for deburring anyway so it turned out to be very easy to fix. The second thing was something I had missed. It was those cursed plastic blocks again. I had missed a sentence instructing me to open the holes to 5/16". I think the reason for doing that is to allow them to sit flush against the belly skin rather than up on top of the nuts that hold the screws in. The reason for wanting the blocks down a little lower probably has to do with keeping the fuel and brake lines down out of the way of the flaperon mixer.

That was not so easy to fix. They  were very hard to get out of there. Putting them back was a little easier because the holes were much larger. It would have been a lot harder if the side skins had been riveted on, though.

With the skins and longerons off, I decided to get started on painting the interior. I seemed that it would be a lot easier to mask the areas that I don't want painted without the skins on, and the skins themselves would be easier to paint if they were sitting out in the open.

I picked a beige color of textured Rust-Oleum rattle-can paint for my interior. The texture is nice because it feels robust, and not inconsequentially also hides any dust or small flying insects that may get caught in the wet paint. Commonly available rattle-can paint is nice because, well, it's commonly available. Of course, with my luck the color that I picked will soon be discontinued and only available as a collectors item on eBay. Buy It Now for $65 a can!

Painting the interior is like a microcosm of the entire build. Hours and hours of preparation followed by a few minutes of riveting, or in this case, painting.

I would have gotten the floor sections done tonight but I ran out of paint. I bought three cans, but one of them was a dud. It apparently leaked out all of the pressurized gas that forces the paint out of the can, so it's useless. That means a return trip to Walmart where I already know what I will find: a big empty space on the shelf where Rust-Oleum MultiColor Textured paint in Caribbean Sand used to be.

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