THE FUSELAGE TOP SKINS

 

On January 2, 2004, I cleco'd the aft top skin P/N F-7112 to the fuselage (photo below right).  The left photo shows the aft fuselage prior to the installation of the top skins.

 

Aft fuselage Aft top skin P/N F-7112

The reason that the skin needed to be cleco'd in place was so that the upper portion of the F-706 and F-707 bulkheads would be held in position so that the four gussets, 2 each F-656-L and 2 each F-656-R could be drilled to fit (two photos below). 

Forward F-656-R gusset Aft F-656-R gusset

 

In the photo below left, I have located the F-686A-L stiffener to the rear top skin P/N F-775.  Since these stiffeners are really longerons for all practical purposes, see the Longeron section for more details on their installation.  Starting with the photo below right, there are three views of the fuselage top skins cleco'd in place.  Why did I take so many photos?  Because it is "Starting to look a lot like an airplane."  (Sung to the tune of "It's Starting To Look A Lot Like Christmas.")

 

Rear fuselage top skin and LH stiffener Aft and Rear fuselage top skins
Another view of top skins Internal view of top skins

 

Below left is a photo of me transferring holes from the aft fuselage top skin to one of the stiffeners.  I left the fuselage upside down as long as possible.  It is easier to drill holes laying down or sitting down than it is standing up and leaning over if you have a bad back like I do.  In the photo below right, I am dimpling the aft top skin.  

 

   

Notice that it is late March by the dates in the photos above and early April in the photos below.  I suspended work on the top skins to work on the forward fuselage for a while.  The reason is that I wanted to prime all of the parts for both sections at the same time.  Also, I wasn't able to work on the project as much as I would have liked to during this period, for business reasons.  The two photos below show the forward fuselage parts and the top skin parts after they were etched and alodined (left photo) and then primed (right photo).

Forward fuselage and top skin parts...... ......etched, alodined and primed

 

The picture at left below looks sort of spooky.  I took it on the day I decided to rivet the rear top skin on.  I don't know why it is in here other than I liked the effect that is the result of no flash.  The picture below right shows the rear top skin with tape all over it.  I decided to put sealer on the ribs on the upper areas of the fuselage and taping the skin would make clean up easier.

 

  Skin taped for sealer

In the photo below left, I have taped the area where the F-775 rear top skin will be installed.  In the photo below right, I have applied sealer to the areas where the top skin will meet the fuselage structure.  Am I ate up or what?  Don't tell the anti-primer boys that I took this corrosion protection to the next level.  They may not let me play with them if I ever get this project done.

Fuselage taped for sealer Fuselage with sealer applied

 

I cleco'd the rear top skin to the fuselage and got my able assistant to help me rivet it on.  Mary really enjoys these riveting session.  She didn't seem to care for the sealer much, however.  I wonder why.  Photo below right shows the rear top skin completed from the inside.

 

Mary and I "Pounding them rivets." Rear top skin attached

Below are two views of the rear top skin after it was attached taken from the outside.

Left side of aft fuselage, top skin attached RH side of aft fuselage, top skin attached

 

At this point, I stopped to finish the forward fuselage.  When I resumed (about 19 days later) I taped and sealed the aft fuselage top skin area (left below) and cleco'd the skin on (right below).

 

Sealer on structure prior to aft top skin installation Aft top skin P/N F-7112 cleco'd on

There is a lot of tension in this skin.  To make sure that it was installed properly and that I wouldn't twist it while riveting it on, I put a cleco in every hole (below left).  I then talked my able riveting assistant into working way past midnight as we installed the skin.

Aft top skin, cleco in every hole Riveting the aft top skin

 

Below are two photos showing the fuselage with the top skins installed.  The plans have you leave them off at this stage but I felt that this was the best time to assemble them.  I would rather crawl around in the completed aft fuselage to install flight controls, the ELT and other details than to work around these things to rivet the assembly together.

 

Fuselage with top skins installed Another view

The next step in the fuselage assembly process is to install the flight controls.  The link below will take you to that step.  The actual chronological order of things was that I worked on some Finishing projects first.