Chapter 22 – Panel mounted

Although I wrote out a long to-do list over my morning coffee, today ended up being more of a planning day with some thoughts on final installs in the cockpit… such as throttle and mixture cables, fire extinguisher and GIB chargers, light switches, etc.

Although my very first thing today was to run out to the shop and shoot the nose hatch door interior surface with a couple coats of clear.

A number of hours later, after it had seemingly cured, I started to tape off the painted area to hit the edge with some rubberized black paint to provide a minimal sealing effect.  Well, when I went to readjust the painters tape it ripped up a decent chunk of my good paint.

Back to square one.  I taped off the edge again and spritzed the damaged areas with enough paint to hide the damage.  [Way later in the evening I hit it with 2 more coats of clear and set it aside to get a really good cure].

I then grabbed the instrument panel and climbed inside the plane.  I noted all the edges and the center strut alignment with the panel.  To be clear, this thing is not perfect nor does it fit like a glove.  It will however look great and be completely functional for what I need, and I doubt when it’s installed the gaps on the sides or the slightly offset center strut will barely be noticed.

I started with the big 1/4″ bolts first with the RAM ball mount towards the top of the center strut.  Once those were installed and tight, I checked alignments and gaps all the way around again.  I then started drilling all the perimeter #10 holes.

Tomorrow I’ll start floxing in the nutplates for these screws/bolts…. which I made up 4 more assemblies tonight.

I will also try to get some work done on the aft nose/avionics cover… although I can’t promise much since I’ll be watching my friend’s kid for a while tomorrow.  Probably more critter-catching vs plane building for quite a few hours.

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