Chapter 13 – Not skidding around!

I started off today by cleaning up the strut cover install… the dead & overflowing flox & micro.  I then installed the strut to do a quick check on the alignment & clearance between the strut & the strut cover.  All was good.

Checking fit with installed strut cover

After a discussion with my buddy Marco I decided to add a couple of nutplates to the skid plate as a little added insurance against the nose bumper ripping out (or worse, falling off in flight… that’s what really got my attention as to adding nutplates!)

Nutplates installed on skid plate

Since I already tapped holes in the 2024 aluminum plate, I needed to align the nutplates so that the threads were matched as close to a continuation of the original threads as possible.  The first, angled nutplate was still matched to the threads, but when I started on the forward nutplate the threads aligned much better with the nutplate aligned straight across the skid plate.  So, yes, once again I’ve installed nutplates at differing angles…. I know!  It’s so wrong and I should be banned from installing them!  ha!

Nutplates installed on skid plate (I know!)

I then started on the final sanding of the nose.  For the first round of sanding I started with the Stanley Surform plane.

Stanley Surform Plane

Here’s the final rough stage of nose shaping.

Nose final rough shape

I then used the long board with 36 grit sandpaper for the final shaping of the nose.

Nose final shape

I then started on the installation of the 1/4″ 2024 aluminum skid plate.  I ran a string down the fuselage CL to dial in the nose bumper mounting bolts alignment.

Checking nose bumper alignment

After marking the outline of the skid plate, I prepped the Dremel tool to router out the skid plate mounting depression/notch in the H100 foam, NG30s, and BC1s.

Prepped to Dremel out skid plate foam

After a few rounds of the Dremel tool and sanding, I then test-fitted the skid plate.

Skid plate test fit

I had figured that since I was installing a sharp-edged/cornered plate in a sloping, rounded area that I would need to shape the corners to prevent shredding the glass when I lay it up.  I mounted a mini-sanding drum on the Dremel and shaped the corners, in conjunction with using the hard sanding board.

Skid plate corners shaped

Here’s a side shot of the edge-shaped skid plate.  I’m not sure if I’ve pointed this out before, but the aft edge of the skid plate is angled at 45° for clearance of the NG5 plate that secures the gear strut to the NG6B pivot.  The skid plate overhang extending aft past the F1-3 bulkhead (“Napster”) also serves to cover the gap between the bulkhead & gear strut pivot point (NG6B, NG5 & the strut).  Normally this function would be handled by a curved foam wedge glassed into this space, but clearly I’m substituting that piece with the skid plate.

Skid plate final fit

By grounding down the edges & the corners of the skid plate I removed the protection of the Alodine.   I really don’t like having bare metal installed in the aircraft, even aluminum, so I hit the freshly bared metal spots with a shot of gray primer.

Primered skid plate

I then mixed up some wet flox and also a little thicker flox paste and applied it to the skid plate installation notch I made in the nose.

Skid plate install flox

I then installed the skid plate and very carefully weighed it down.  I taped up the wood block to ensure it didn’t slide off since the angle at the front of the nose is so steep.

Skid plate weighed in place

I took a break to grab something to eat & update my notes.  I had the TV on and was working away when at some point I simply fell asleep!  I woke up a few hours later & checked the flox in the cup, which was almost completely cured.  Not wanting to tempt fate, I took the gallon paint cans down and removed the weight from the skid plate.

Skid plate floxed in place

The skid plate install looked great.

Skid plate floxed in place

I took the shots above and then went back to bed.

Tomorrow I plan on working first thing on adding blue foam to the nose around the landing light.  After that, I’ll move into the myriad of prep actions for glassing the nose.  I then plan on glassing the nose!


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