I started out today by pulling off the huge pile of weights that I had encased the left armrest with to keep all the mounting brackets aligned properly. I then unscrewed and removed the left armrest. I cleaned the protective tape off the edges of the armrest, then assessed the damage. I think the heat lamps made the flox flow a little a bit more than it would have in a low-to-mid-70 degree shop. Still, the 4 mounting brackets were on nice and secure, and that’s the main thing I cared about.
I was heading out to meet some from friends for lunch, so I quickly remounted the left armrest and then got to work laying up 2 plies of BID over the taped up part of the cupholder that was protruding out of the slot on the left armrest. I then peel plied it and set a heat lamp on it since the shop is a bit chilly.
About 5 hours later I returned home, pulled the peel ply off and cleaned up the layup. I was going to take another picture (uh, no joy) so there is no confusion on what I did, but what you’re looking at along the side of the left armrest is not the cupholder as before, but the new side of the armrest covering the cupholder. It just so happens that at the point of where the cupholder is located, the side of the armrest just happens to be 2 plies of BID thick. This layup not only serves to hide the ugly cupholder, but it greatly increases the strength of the very forward part of the left armrest. In addition, it will allow me a much easier time when it comes to painting this area.
As I pointed out last night, when I floxed the left armrest mounting brackets into place, I also floxed on a bracket for the parking brake handle. Well, here is the cured bracket and a test fitting of the parking brake handle.
Before I got in to test the ergonomics of the parking brake handle, I trimmed the bracket a fair bit closer to the mounting hole in the bracket, and curved the bracket into a half circle shape.
I then prepped the front seat to climb into the fuselage. I would like to point out that the pic below is a bit historic for my build in that it’s the first time for my plane that the left & right armrests are bolted into place, and that the pilot’s seat thigh support is in place as well.
I then tested primarily the fit of the parking brake handle and its associated mount. I love the location because I can’t accidentally engage the parking brake without –again– loosening my top shoulder straps and then leaning forward to grab the handle. Plus, there is zero interference with my left leg.
As I was sitting there, I assessed possible locations for the nose hatch cable release handle and the pilot headset jacks location. I originally was going to mount the nose hatch cable release handle on the other side of the nose wheel cover (NB), but since the right leg hole is tad smaller than the left, I decided that I’ll either mount forward and above the existing parking brake handle [if I use the T-handle] on the left side as well, or over on the right side of NB but using a much smaller pull knob…. much to decide.
Here’s a closer shot of the parking brake handle location and its clearance with my left leg.
And one final shot of the parking brake handle’s mounting location.
My last act of the evening, that took just shy of a couple hours, was to cut and remove the foam adjacent to the inside glass to created micro corners in the cupholder ‘U’-shaped area on the inside of the left armrest. I also shaped a micro corner in the aft side foam of the small flat area at the very front of the armrest (left in the pic below). After applying the appropriate micro, I then laid up 1 ply of BID at the front flat edge of the armrest, and along each side of the cupholder ‘U’ overlapping onto a ply of BID at the very bottom of the cupholder ‘U’. I then peel plied the layups and set the heat lamps up to help them cure.
Tomorrow I plan on finishing the minute layups on the front side of the left armrest and move on towards working the middle and aft area of the armrest. I’ll continue to work cockpit component configuration and installations as well.