Fuel Tanks, Firewall, Cowling and Canopy Skirt


I started assembling the left fuel tank today with the Flamemaster and things went very well. All of the end or butt ribs had been sealed except for one right one, so I started with that. This way it would have time to cure before I got around to it. I have been mixing in batches of 55 grams, 5 grams of the hardener, part A and 50 grams of the part B.

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Then I prepped the fuel caps by taping around the edges.

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After a hefty dose of sealant, I attached the fuel cap to the underside of the skin and riveted it on.

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Back around each shop head of the rivet with a swirl of sealant and the lip too.

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Then the tank fuel drains were attached with squeeze rivets after sealant being applied to the backside.

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The skin went back into the fixture. I ran 3 rows of masking tape across the top inner edge of the skin to help keep the sealant off the skin. I started with attaching the middle ribs and worked my way out. Once the ribs were clecoed in place for stability I removed one of the inner most ribs and cleaned the inside skin and rib flange with 100% acetone. Then the skin got a good helping of sealant about an inch wide and the rib flange was coated as well. The rib went back into the skin and I clecoed all of the holes except the back side forward nose hole. I started with the nose hole and pulled each rivet from the bottom up, and as I removed each cleco I tossed it into a coffee can of acetone. Repeat on leading edge side and then wipe around the rivet edge with acetone for any that squeezed out.
Then I ran a heavy bead along the inner and outer inside edge of the rib and around the rivets.

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Repeated this for all the ribs, working my way out from the center. The end rib toward the fuselage is where the fuel pickup is and this earned me my first lesson in nut plates. This went fairly well, considering there are only 5 in each.

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This went in and then Dan and I went over it with a flashlight looking for any areas needing a little more sealant.

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Next Dan will finish up the installation of the vent lines and then the back will go on. I will start the right tank assembly tomorrow.

While I was working on the tanks Dan was working on the firewall and the canopy skirt. Here are a few pictures of that progress.

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Chris Smith is heading up tomorrow night to work some more on the wiring.

Stay tuned for updates as the count down continues, things are getting close folks.

Go team Panther!
-Rachel


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