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.
After it cured I knife edged the sides, but left the the peel ply intact.
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.
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).
I mocked up the sides of both front seat 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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
12 December 2015 — If you would like to see details on the NG30 Cover please see Chapter 13 – Nose & Nose Gear.
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.
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.
Here’s the end result. Sooooo EZ with a router table!
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.
Here’s the long, narrow top piece of the front left armrest console.
And here’s after I rounded over the edge.
And a quick mock-up… looks good!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I then sanded a nice round over on the lower edge and the adjoining glass to transition it nicely in prep for glass.
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.
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!
8 October 2016 — Today I marked the left GIB armrest to cut it at 2.1″ wide on each end (stock is 1.9″).
I then did the cut-fit-sand cycle for about 8-10 times before dialing in the fit of the 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.
30 June 2017 — I started out today working on the GIB PTT button configuration & construction of a front plate for both the GIB PTT button and GIB headset jacks, all which will reside on the front of the left GIB armrest. It may be a bit hard to tell, but the greenish blob coming down from the top of the pic below is the front of the left GIB armrest. Top of armrest is to the left, with the PTT button resting in the notch I created for PTT button clearance.
I positioned the PTT button notch where it is to get the PTT button as far up into the inboard corner of the armrest front face for easier “mashing” of the button any time the GIB is going to use it. However, to stay clear of the PTT button being inadvertently pressed or an open mike situation, I’m recessing the button so the top of it is just below the face of the armrest front face. Thus, at the center bottom of the pic is the piece of 1/16″ G10 I cut as the armrest front face cover plate, and in the corner where the PTT button will go, I notched it and shaped a piece of Divinycell foam with a 1/2″ diameter hole for the PTT button to sit in. I 5-min glued the foam piece in place, then when cured I radiused the perimeter edge of the hole.
All this is sitting on a piece of 1/4″ phenolic which I drilled a 0.609″ (39/64″) hole into for the actual securing of the PTT button as it’s press fitted into this hole with some Silicone RTV to lock in nice & tight.
Since the left armrest front tapers aft at the bottom, I tapered the foam PTT button recess housing so that the PTT button would sit parallel with the top of the armrest for clearance on the internal side of the armrest. Here you can see the PTT button set in place where it will get mounted. If you look just forward (left) of the ID label sticker you can see the wider 0.609″ flange that will get press fit mounted into the phenolic. The phenolic piece will of course get floxed to the aft side of the tapered foam recess housing.
I then tested the fit of the assembled armrest front face piece in the notched corner I created in the armrest. When finished, this front face piece will be an integral part of the sidewall bracket that remains on the fuselage sidewall when the armrest is removed.
I had to do some very light sanding after I drilled the 0.609″ (39/64″) hole for the PTT button to fit, which it did with a reasonable amount of force. Perfect.
Again, the physical mounting of the GIB PTT button will be in this 1/4″ phenolic block piece that itself will get floxed to the aft side of the foam recess housing that is attached to the front face piece.
I then cut out the phenolic block and trimmed it up. I then mocked up the PTT button secured in the phenolic block, set in place where it will attach to the foam button recess housing, all with the front armrest face piece set in place.
Another shot of the recessed PTT button in the left GIB armrest front face piece.
3 July 2017 — Late Friday I laid up 1 ply of BID across the front face plate of the GIB left armrest. I pulled the BID down through the hole in the foam recessed housing for the PTT button.
Well, when I trimmed the glass off on Saturday, unfortunately a good chunk of the foam came with it. I then needed to repair it of course. Being in a rush for a social engagement, I quickly wrapped up the PTT button in saran wrap & tape, and then set it in what remained of the hole and weighed it down. I then whipped up some flocro and –using the taped-up PTT button as a form– rebuilt the recessed housing “frame” around the PTT button.
Here’s a shot of the left GIB armrest’s front face plate, with the repaired PTT button foam recessed housing.
I haven’t sanded down the repaired PTT button foam recessed housing to its final shape yet, but will get to it after the July 4th holiday festivities are over. Still, here’s the aft side of the left GIB armrest’s face plate.
5 July 2017 — Today I got to work on the left GIB armrest forward composite mounting bracket that will also house the GIB PTT button & GIB headset jacks on the front face of it (which will get attached to this bracket frame later). I used a 2″ thick urethane foam block for the form and cut the block 3″ long.
I then sanded the foam block form into shape, radiused the corner edges for glass and taped it up with duct tape.
I then cut out 3 strips of 3″ x 8″ BID and 2 strips of UNI the same dimensions for a total of 5 plies of glass. I then put the glass into plastic for a prepreg setup. I also mounted the left GIB armrest forward mounting bracket form onto a vertical stand to make laying up the glass onto it much easier.
Here’s another shot of the left GIB armrest forward mounting bracket form attached to its vertical stand.
I then laid up the 2 sets of prepregged glass so that the layup schedule was a simple BID-UNI-BID-UNI-BID pattern with the UNI plies at a 30° bias, with each UNI ply in the opposite direction. I then of course peel plied the layup.
Yet another shot of the 5-ply glass layup for the left GIB armrest forward mounting bracket.
With the same epoxy I also whipped up some micro to pour into a hardpoint divot that I had created at the left GIB armrest forward mounting point.
6 July 2017 — Today I started out by removing the foam form out from the middle of the left GIB armrest forward bracket assembly that I glassed last night.
The bracket came out nicely with no glaring errors!
I had glassed it up a bit oversized, so I took a few minutes to measure out my bracket dimensions, mark up the bracket and then trimmed it with the Fein saw.
I then got to work notching the bracket in the upper inboard corner for PTT button housing clearance. I also drilled some lightening holes: one on the inboard side and one on the bottom.
Here’s a good look at the corner PTT button housing clearance notch.
I also notched the front bottom lower edge since the face plate doesn’t come all the way down. By moving the lower edge back a bit, there’s no way to see that the bottom bracket lip doesn’t intersect with the lower edge of the front face plate.
After some judicious sanding –mainly on the front angle of the armrest mounting bracket– I taped up the inside of the armrest and then 5-min glued the mounting bracket to the front face plate. I did this while keeping the face plate in its proper position at the front of the armrest.
After the 5-min glue cured, I immediately glassed the bracket to the face plate with 1 ply of BID in the corners for each of the interior intersecting walls, using micro fillets.
I then rounded up the left GIB mounting bracket’s nutplate assembly that I had made up a few days ago.
This time I taped up the edges of the face plate assembly in prep for these multi-tasked next steps.
I then laid up 2 more small plies of BID inside of the bracket: 1 on each interior side of the PTT button foam & phenolic mounting pieces.
I then floxed the nutplate assembly into place on the underside of the bracket’s top plate
With the face plate taped, I also micro’d the edges of the face plate to fill in any gaps between the face plate and the armrest inside edge.
Here’s a shot of the floxed nutplate assembly in place on the underside of the bracket’s top plate.
Here’s a shot of both the floxed in place nutplate assembly and the ply of BID on each side of the interior PTT button housing.
And one final shot of the ply of BID on each side of the interior PTT button housing.
11 August 2017 — I started off on the actual build by drilling a few sets of tiny holes to inject fresh epoxy into some air bubbles along the joint of the front extension pieces that I had glassed onto the left GIB armrest. This armrest is definitely the ugly duckling of the armrests, and admittedly looks pretty nasty where I glassed the front extension pieces into place (I was originally planning on having a throttle handle back here, but then realized first that it was located too far aft, and then second, that I simply wasn’t going to install one).
That’s why it’s so cool, and so much fun honestly, to see it turn out like this with just a few passes of a primer spray can.
I let the primer cure for a few hours, cleaned up and sanded a few minor imperfections, then shot two coats of the gray granite interior paint.
I then let the topcoat cure for about 6 hours before shooting it with a couple coats of matt clear coat. A little over an hour later, when it was dry to the touch, I set it in place to get the pics below.
I have to say, I’m really digging this color. It’s not super flashy nor does it make a huge fashion statement, but it really does look good. And of course, as I often state, the pics don’t do it justice.
8 September 2017 — Today I performed an extensive assessment on the components that will get installed into the left PIC armrest. I played a bit of Tetris figuring out exactly how all the bits n pieces would fit. Specifically, I took a hard look at the oil heat and seat warmer wiring and components’ space requirements. This of course is all in prep so that I can start installing the left armrest console and internal components.