4.1.0 Bulkhead Preparation

The first step is to perfectly level the lower fuselage. This is critical, since the leveled fuselage is used as a reference to level the bulkheads when they are being installed. Leveling left to right is easy using a plain old four-foot level across the fuselage. Fore to aft leveling is a bit more difficult since the level points are significantly different.  You can see in the photo below a small arrow pointing to a factory-drilled hole. That’s the front level point.  The aft level point is ten inches below one of the engine bumps. To find that point I needed to hang a tape measure. To level it takes a water level. That was fun!

Some people call it “The Boat", and it does look like one, but it's really the lower section of the fuselage!

Once the fuselage is level, it’s recommended that a few small spirit levels be glued both left to right and fore to aft for future re-leveling. You can see one of those in the photo below.

Fuselage Leveling (1)

The fuselage must be perfectly level before attaching the bulkheads. That process is completed using a water level and regular spirit levels. Once it's level the manual recommends installing a few spirit levels to make it easier to double-check level later.

Before anything is permanently epoxied into place, it all needs a test fitting along with some preparation. In the photo below I’m prepping one of the two conduits that run the length of the aircraft. These are used later for wiring, various control cables, etc.

Fuselage Conduits (1)

Two conduits, which run from the front bulkhead to the engine bulkhead need to be prepared and installed.

Locations for everything to be installed must be marked first. The areas where the structural epoxy is used to bond the bulkhead, or whatever, to the fuselage must also be sanded. The lower fuselage is now ready to accept the bulkheads!

The fuselage now has the bulkhead, conduit and keel locations marked. The lighter areas are now sanded in preparation for epoxying the pieces into place.

The next step is to bond everything in place. That process starts on the next page!

uired© John Trautschold 2016