Chapter 22 – Taxi light adventures

Today I removed the swingdown taxi light assembly from the fuselage to work on it in preparation for the final taxi light system install.  The first order of business was a long overdue trim of all extraneous metal to get this thing lightened up a bit.  I marked the areas to be trimmed in brown Sharpie, as you can see below on the right side . . .

and the left.

Here’s a not-so-great shot of it after I trimmed off the excess metal areas.  I also drilled the hole in the aft upright arm a little bigger as well.  In all, I trimmed well over 25% of the weight off of this taxi light assembly.

I then drilled and tapped the lower side taxi light bulb frame for two 4-40 screws on each side, to eventually use to keep the taxi light cover mounted.

After reinserting the bulb, I then cut out some cardboard pieces and taped them to the taxi light frame for a mold for the taxi light cover.

I then prepped 1 ply of BID, 1 ply of UNI (because I have a ton of spare UNI) and 1 ply of carbon fiber in a prepreg setup to layup on the taxi light cover.  Well, using prepreg here didn’t work so well, since I didn’t allow enough flex with 3 plies for the sharp corners. Worse yet, the CF started splitting at the tight corners and the whole layup quickly devolved towards sheer calamity.

I ended up pulling the entire layup off the taxi light cover, cutting it into about 5 manageable pieces, and then inverting it so the areas of separated carbon fiber were on the inside of the layup.  After placing the disparate pieces of glass in place, I wrapped the whole thing with Saran (plastic) wrap and taped the hell out of all of it.  I figured it would require a fair amount of subsequent work, but I wasn’t just about to through all that glass away.

Here’s another shot of my taped “layup from hell!

On a brighter note, here’s a shot of how my first added Adel Clamp for the big power cables traversing the length of the fuselage worked out.  I’ll add a subsequent one the next time I whip up some epoxy.

For tonight, I’ll just let the taxi light cover cure and deal with the mystery tomorrow.


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