Chapter 24 – Panels, consoles & covers

Chapter 24 – Covers, Fairings, & Consoles

Chapter 24 – Left Armrest Consoles

28 June 2013 — [Note: Some of this is repeat material from Chapter 16]
I took a bunch of large pieces of scrap BID and laid them out on a FRESH piece of 32″ x 48″ sheet of 3/8″ thick foam.  I planned out the layup for the back/inside of the armrests and interior-cockpit consoles and pilot seat back.  (I had already created a “cut-sheet” diagram depicting how I would layout and then cut the console pieces from a 32″ x 48″ piece of foam).

I then began the layup of 1-ply BID onto a 32″ x 48″ on a fresh sheet of 3/8″ foam. Since I would be adding different layers of glass, corner tapes, etc, I peel plied the entire sheet.

Chap 16/24 - Armrest consoles

Chapter 16/24 - Armrest consoles

After it cured I knife edged the sides, but left the the peel ply intact.

Chap 16/24 - Armrest consolesI drew up the Right & Left rear console sides, but before I cut anything out I played around with & tested the angles a bit.

FYI – the Right side consoles are detailed in Chapter 16 while the Left side consoles are detailed out in Chapter 24.


29 June 2013 — I measured out and marked the Left front console.

Chap 24 - Front left console


30 June 2013 — I pulled the foldout table outside and cut up the 3/8″ foam sheet into Chapter 16 Right-hand side panels, Chapter 24 Left-hand side panels, and Chapter 8 Rollover structure base (front seat back cap).  First, I cut the Left rear console (You may notice that the Left rear console is not per plans.  Instead of making it more like a basic triangle, I made it a mirror of the Right rear console).

Chap 16/24 - Left & Right rear consoles

I mocked up the sides of both front seat consoles.

Chap 16/24 - Left & Right front consolesChap 16/24 - Left & Right front consoles

Then I turned my attention to the rear seat consoles.  It took a little bit of time fine tuning the angles, mainly between the rear seat back and console junction.

Chap 24 - Left rear console & armrest

Chap 16/24 - Left & Right rear consoles

Chap 16/24 - Left & Right rear consoles

Chap 16/24 - Left & Right consoles

After I got the sides of the consoles fitting decently, I cut the tops and checked out how those fit.  Grant it, I had to take into account that their sides are straight and the fuselage walls are curved, so the fit obviously wasn’t exactly like they will be when ready to install.

Chap 24 - Left front console & armrestChap 16/24 - Left & Right consoles/armrests

The front console sides are wedged in nice and tight, so mocking up the tops are no problem.  However, the rear consoles are jury-rigged in place with tape, so even though I did a cursory check, I didn’t mock them up like I did the front… or take any pics.


9 July 2013 — I gathered up all the individual parts of the Chapter 16 and 24 consoles, arm rests & front seat ribs for some pics, as shown below:

Chapter 16 & 24 - Side consoles & Armrests

Chapter 16 - Right rear console/armrest

Chapter 24 - Left Rear Console/Armrest


Chapter 24 - Front Seat Floor Ribs


19 July 2013 — I went to work on the fuselage interior consoles (arm rests) in the downstairs shop.  On the Right front and the Left & Right rear seat consoles, I mounted the top to the sides with finish nails through the foam.  I then pre-pregged about a 1-1/2″ of strip of 1-ply BID and laid it up in the corner along the seam between the tops and the sides of the 3 respective consoles.  These will get more glass later when they get installed into the fuselage, so about a 3/4″-1″ overlap on each part will hold it fine.

I used straight fast hardener & let the consoles set for around 15 min, then I turned them right side up and set them on the side of the work bench, held in place with weights so that they would cure at the proper right 90°angle between top and sides.

Chap 16 & 24 - Front R console & Rear L console


20 July 2013 — I started the day off focusing on the fuselage consoles.  I cleaned up the BID tapes I glassed last night on the consoles/armrests & removed the nails holding the console tops to the sides.

I notched the top of the left rear console (below) to prep it for an eventual install of a rear throttle quadrant.  Unfortunately, when I mocked it up I completely failed to take into account the ergonomics of where the throttle quadrant SHOULD BE positioned. The positioning at the front of the arm rest is WAY too close to the GIB and needs to be much closer to the front seat.  No worries!  This is composites and I’ll simply fill that void in later!

Chap 24 - Left Rear Console/Armrest

I then took the consoles out to the garage and mocked them up in the fuselage.  Again, since the fuselage side is curved and the console side edges are straight, I was just looking for the general look, fit & position of the consoles.  I then rounded over all the corner edges with a 3/8″ router bit.

Chap 16/24 - L & R rear consoles

I cleaned up any left over/excess micro and errant strands of glass on the 3 consoles. I’m waiting to build the front Left console until I nail down the mounting configuration for my throttle quadrant.  The final tally on the consoles today is that the Right front & Left rear consoles are ready for exterior glass.

Now, the plans call for simply glassing 2 plies of BID over the entire exterior of the console and overlapping the layup onto the sidewall, fuselage floor, seats, etc. to secure it into place.  Since I won’t install these before they get shipped back to the States, I want to provide the foam with a little protection.  Thus, I’ll be glassing one ply of BID onto the exterior of the consoles, and then using a 2″ BID tape AND one more entire layer of BID to attach the consoles to the fuselage later on.  It will add just a bit more weight, but then I don’t have to worry about my foam getting all dinked up in the upcoming move back stateside.


22 July 2013 — I knife trimmed the Right front & Left rear consoles.  I then removed the peel ply from the Left rear console & cleaned up the edges a bit more.

Chap 24 - Left rear armrest consoleChap 24 - Left rear armrest console

Chap 24 - Left rear armrest console


12 December 2015 — If you would like to see details on the NG30 Cover please see Chapter 13 – Nose & Nose Gear.

Mounted NG30 cover & gear wires


6 October 2016 — Technically, the left side consoles are Chapter 24, but I post this in Chapter 16 as well.  Today I unleashed the Big Dog . . .  literally, my Big Dog router table from the outside shed.  I went through the trouble of pulling this sucker out since there’s simply no way to get the radius I want on the top armrest pieces (and to match the pre-existing radiused edge) without using a router table.

Adding radius to L GIB arm rest top

I set up the router table to route a small scrap piece of 3/8″ foam that was probably from the same originally piece as my side consoles since it has a ply of glass on one side.  I would have actually preferred to put the glassed side of this scrap piece on the inside of the left armrest and had fresh foam on the outside, but the way the scrap piece wass shaped I had to radius the side with the 1 ply of BID on it.

Radius'ing L GIB arm rest top piece

Here’s the end result.  Sooooo EZ with a router table!

New piece with radiused edge

Now, me being not one to waste a good power tool while I have it out, I pulled the front left armrest pieces out and raidused the top piece of that.

Radiusing front left console top piece

Here’s the long, narrow top piece of the front left armrest console.

Radiusing front left console top piece

And here’s after I rounded over the edge.

Front left console top piece radiused

And a quick mock-up… looks good!

Front left console top piece radiused

With nothing left to router, I put all my tools back in the shed and got busy glassing my newly rounded extension in place on the GIB left console.  I micro’d the piece in place & then used 1 ply of BID.  Remember, I’ll add a complete other ply of BID to all of this when I glass in place during its final install.

If you’re curious why I needed to add this piece back in place, it’s because I had originally thought I would put my GIB throttle quadrant right there.  Well, first off the position is way too far aft… so my estimated positioning was way off.  Secondly, after flying in Marco’s bird and having a few rounds of discussions at RR, I decided to forego installing an aft throttle quadrant to simplify my build and save weight & complexity.

Finally, if you’re wondering why I seem to be making the front of the left arm rest longer… I am.  Another benefit of having experienced flying in the back of Marco’s plane is that things that may seem like they’ll work in planning (like my original positioning of the throttle in the back) simply don’t.  In Marco’s Long-EZ he has a PTT button on the front face of the left side armrest.  I can’t use it because I just can’t reach it.  With the tight quarters in the back seat, I can’t bend my hand around to hit the button.  So, in my plane I’m going to extend the left side GIB armrest a few inches forward and see if that does the trick since I do think that’s a great place to locate the GIB’s PTT button.

Glassing Left GIB armrest extension

I then pulled the peel ply and knife trimmed the layup on the top extension for the GIB left side armrest.  I did note that there was one delam right at the junction of where the new foam was micro’d in, so I’ll have to inject it with some epoxy.

Left GIB arm rest extension layup cured

I’m getting the hint that when foam is set in place with micro, it appears that if I put it under the heat lamp it off-gasses and then causes a small dlelam right at the micro’d foam junctions.  That’s exactly what happened when I glassed in yet another piece of foam to the side of left side GIB armrest.  There’s another delam bubble that I’ll have to contend with…. I guess I’ll get my money’s worth out of the syringe tomorrow.

This is the last extension that I’m planning for the left side GIB armrest.  I will shape it and glass the exterior side, and then I should be pretty much done with it until later when I assess whether I’ll mount a front plate or not for a possible PTT button.

L GIB armrest interior & side extension glassed


7 October 2016 — Again, although technically Chapter 24, I posted this in Chapter 16 as well. Today I started by checking last night’s layup on the GIB left inside armrest layup.

Armrest & tool box lid layups cured

I then got to work on the final piece that needs to be glassed on the GIB left armrest extension.  I drew up what I wanted as the profile outline.

Shaping GIB armrest front edgeThen cut the foam & shaped it a bit.

Shaping GIB armrest front edge

Shaping GIB armrest front edge

I then sanded a nice round over on the lower edge and the adjoining glass to transition it nicely in prep for glass.

Shaping GIB armrest front edge

Here’s a shot of the big layups in action!  To the left you can see I have a ply of BID laid up on the front edge of the GIB left console.

Glassing inside tool box & GIB armrest

Below is the shot of the final glassed extension on the GIB left side armrest.  Yes, it looks a tad rough, but once it’s cleaned up and finished it will look stunningly normal! 

Gnarly GIB extension layup(s)


8 October 2016 — Today I marked the left GIB armrest to cut it at 2.1″ wide on each end (stock is 1.9″).

Initial cut line on left GIB armrest

I then did the cut-fit-sand cycle for about 8-10 times before dialing in the fit of the left GIB armrest.

Trimmed & shaped left GIB armrest


18 May 2017 — [This is also posted in Chapter 16] Today I pulled out my router table to round over the edges of the lap seatbelt access port.  I had planned on doing this, just as I rounded the bottom edges of both back seat armrests, but again Dave B. reminded me of it last week so I put it on the short task list. Now, the right armrest seatbelt access was good to go since I widened & squared it a bit last week.  But the left armrest, which is still in individual pieces, I hadn’t touched since 2012 when I cut it out.

I verified & marked the spot of the left seatbelt bracket on the left armrest.  Then I used the right armrest as a template to draw out the seatbelt access port.

I was now ready to cut this baby out!

Well, I tried to use a hole saw as I had with the right side.  The same exact one in fact.  But as soon as the saw blade touched the fiberglass on the back it came off its mount and went absolutely ballistic.  It’s done this a few distinct times before, but usually just a minor ding before.  No worries.  I can assure that this will never happen again with this hole saw because it is no longer with us ( . . . a moment of silent please for the POS hole saw bit).

So, I backed up the aft line about a half inch, upped the top line by about a quarter inch, and cut this sucker out!  Here’s the result below.

I then radiused both left & right armrests using my router table.  As you can see, now just a little bit of extra micro will fill in that gouged foam EZ’ily.



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Project Update

Hey Guys,

I left my last project update for a while so everyone would have a good chance to read it.  

So this is it folks!  I hope for this to be the final push from now until Rough River to get the main assembly of the aircraft completed.  That’s my goal.  Is it an aggressive timeline?!  Oh, yeah!  After Rough River, I then expect the next few months to be finalizing any leftover punch list items and the finishing & painting! 

Over the past few months I’ve had some unexpected scope creep in my build, which is all well and good because the build is THE project.  As you know I rewickered Marc Zeitlin’s new AEX system which took a fair amount of time to implement, then I had planned on knocking out a good dozen electrical related items so that I could close up the nose.  I got a bunch of those completed, but kept finding myself not being able to really close out wire runs, confirm install spacing configurations such as the pitch trim unit, etc. because I couldn’t sit in the airplane and confirm what I had dimensionally without the actual pilot’s seat in place.

This drove me to move my immediate project line of demarcation from the instrument panel, back one more bulkhead to the pilot’s seat.  I was then going to knock out the pilot’s seat area –including the thigh support & cover– but there was a glaring prerequisite to doing so: I couldn’t get the pilot’s thigh support configured & installed without the fuel lines in place!  Thus, I needed to move the project line of demarcation back one more bulkhead and knock out the thigh support sump tank to get the fuel lines run in reality without merely estimating some more with a fake, mocked up install.  

So the immediate order of battle right now is to finish the fuel sump (including configuring the majority of the back seat area), and then the pilot’s seat area. These, in turn, will allow me to finalize the configuration of the nose components. At which point I will focus on the building the nose while concurrently finalizing the wheel pants install (nope, haven’t forgot about those!). Then the canopy install will be after that.

Hang on to your hats folks, it’s about to get busy all up in here!



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