<November 4, 2007>

F-623As, F-623Bs & F-704Hs

Wow, a week since my last update. This family thing has been keeping me BUSY!

I've dabbled around with things (fuselage things) for the past week, but nothing that I would considered worthy of an update to the web site, so let's just pick up where I left off last. The aft fuselage is clecoed and ready for riveting. Getting the tail skin assembly cleceod in place was a bit of a project, but it is done, and now I need help riveting. While I wait for help, I'll just move on with the center section.

First order of business was to make the F-623A Aft Attach Straps for the corner ribs. The hardest part of this task is just finding the right material in the pile of parts. There may be material dedicated to the task, but I found my trim bundle and I used the .032 from it.

While the first side went fine, I had some edge distance issue on the other side. This was easy enough to fix by enlarging the end of one of the straps. The reason I had edge distance issues here is because I have offset the F-623 Corner Rib inboard a touch so that the flange of the rib that attaches to the side skin, is flush with the edge of the bottom skin for its entire length.

My first attempt at the F-623Bs Attach Straps left me scratching my head. As you can see, if you build it according to the plans, it covers one of the inboard rivet holes.

This was easily remedied by trimming about 1/8" off of the strap. A short search revealed this to be a common issue and fix.

It was then time to mate the F-704A to the center section assembly. I located the F-704J Spacers and hardware only to find that the hole in the F-704A wasn't 1/4". Apparently, I am supposed to enlarge these holes to the appropriate size, but I hadn't done it yet.

Rather than enlarge these holes now, I decided to omit the small spacers and just bolt the bulkhead halves together with the hardware store bolts I had bought previously. To space the bulkhead halves I used some machined aluminum spacers my friend Chad gave me. These are total overkill for the task, but since I had them I figured I might as well use them. Once the spacers and bolts were installed, I clecoed the F-704H Side Plates in place. While they are not marked as such, there are left and right versions.

I then reamed the F-704A/B to F-704H holes to final size. This is a cool looking assembly.

I had my wife help me move this off of the bench and invert it on the floor, and then I drilled the bottom skin to the bottom flange of the F-704A. There is some additional information on Van's web site about when gets done to these holes, but my stomach was looking for dinner, so I called it quits here. With both these assemblies in the garage, I am running out of room AND clecos.