9.6.3 Installing Leading Edge of Strake onto Door

The first step is to cut the leading edge strake pieces off. That’s fairly easy to do, but to make sure it’s done correctly, there’s a template that’s used, along with a measurement, to get the angle and such correct. The photo below shows the two pieces already cut off and being prepped for installation of the end seals.

Wings - Strake - Door Strake Pieces

The leading edge pieces of the strake get attached to the doors after the ends are sealed.

The end pieces are made out of some 1/2” Divinycell foam board with each side covered in one layer of BID. I used the outline of the actual strake piece to mark and trim each end piece. After shaping and sanding to get them to fit as good as possible, I filled any gaps with EZ-Poxy and Micro, then wrapped a couple of layers of BID around the edges both on the outside and on the inside. The final trimmed and sanded pieces are shown in the photo below.

Wings - Strake - Door Strake Pieces 1

The end caps are now attached to the door strake pieces.

Time to cut more holes in the doors! I already had the outline of the strakes marked on the doors, but I re-checked and updated the marks as necessary to make sure everything aligned properly. Because parts of the strakes have an approximate 1/2” thickness to them, I measured that 1/2” off and marked and taped those lines on the door. That’s where the actual cuts occur. The leading edge is not as thick (only about 1/8”) so I marked that off as well. Keep in mind that these cuts do not go all of the way to the edge of the door! There’s a door stiffener that runs along the perimeter of the door which must remain in place. The factory also uses some carbon fiber along the edge. That’s the darker material you can see on the right side of the door in the photo below.

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Marking the door in preparation for cutting the opening used for installing the leading edge strake pieces.

Once the cut is complete, it’s time to mount the leading edge strake piece. I temporarily held it in place using the old hot glue gun and a few dabs of glue. Once that set I filled any gaps with the usual EZ-Poxy and Micro, then used 2 BID wraps along the edges and along the door. The fiberglass actually wraps around the door post. The other pieces sit flush with the foam and fiberglass of the door. In order to get the fiberglass to set properly on the edge, the edges of the foam are slightly gouged down about a quarter of an inch, then packed with the Micro mixture. Peel ply is still attached while the epoxy cures in the photo below.

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The right side leading edge strake piece is now attached to its door. The peel ply is still attached here while the epoxy cures.

This is what it looks like once the fiberglass is trimmed and sanded. You actually won’t see this opening from the inside of the airplane since the inside of the door is covered with a vanity panel, as described in Section 5.3.5.

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Here's one of the finished leading edge strake pieces looking from inside the door.

And this is what the end looks like after it’s been trimmed and covered with some fiberglass to finish it off. I had to do a bit of sanding to get the edge to sit flush with the edge of the door. I also wanted a couple of layers of fiberglass to attach to that thin door edge.

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This photo shows one of the leading edge strake pieces firmly attached to the door.

This is the final product, at least on the pilot’s side. There are two layers of BID wrapped around all of the edges here as well. This thing is now firmly attached. Notice how close it comes to the door lock cylinder! Yikes! I was a bit concerned that it was too close, but it’s good. I had to be careful when wrapping the bid there so that I didn’t cover the cylinder up. That cylinder piece is glued in, otherwise I would have removed it for the layup.

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Pilot side door with the leading edge strake piece attached.

So that finishes that! As always, there’s still a lot of finishing work to do. But at this point, the fuselage is basically complete!

ui© John Trautschold 2018