It all comes together

It’s now May 2003 and I have been busy with completing the fuselage so that I can get onto the final run home. Maybe that’s optimistic, but the closer I get to completion, the more enthusiastic I get.

Fitting the tail

Here are the vertical and horizontal tails set up and ready for drilling after fitting to the fuselage. The position of the vertical tail bolt holes is established after the horizontal tail and elevator have been set up and the elevator movement checked.

Trim tab

Here is the elevator trim tab and control cable. The reason for the flush riveting on the elevator control rib becomes clear. It simply allows the cable clamp to sit flush on the rib. The cable is piano wire and is enclosed in a teflon coated guide. Like many people I have reinforced the hole where the piano wire works against the trim tab.

Trim control lever

This is the lever in the cockpit that controls the trim. You can also see the detents for the flap lever and the flap lever itself. Following the experience of other builders, I have made three flap detents instead of the two specified in the plans. You can also see the left rudder cable in this photo, enclosed by plastic tube where it runs past the flap lever and through the seat area.

Glare shield

The glare shield is part of the fuselage structure. It supports the instrument panel and covers the fuel tank. Here you can see it fitted along with the blank instrument panel.

Seat sling

The seat itself is simply a sheet of 0.025 material attached by hinges at the front, centre and back. It gives like a deck chair, and is quite comfortable. The hinges are used only for attachment, not actually hinging. That way you can remove the seat simply by pulling the hinge pins. The same idea is used on the cowling.

Drilling the spar

OK here we go. The long awaited spar drilling. The normal practice is to step drill up from 1/4 to 3/8 but, after some discussion with a fellow builder I decided to drill out the spar pin hole to 23/64 and intended the final fitting to take only one pass through with a 3/8 bit to finish the job. The moment of truth arrived and to my great relief it worked. First drill through from rear to front was over in seconds. You can see the pin bolt here. It slid through smooth as butter.

From front to back

Drilling in the opposite direction was not quite as easy with limited access due to the angle of the side panels. I solved the problem by using a long drill bit and cutting it to size so that my air drill would just fit. What a relief — the wings are on.

Wings on

So here we are, all rigged and looking like a real airplane. The windshield is fitted in this shot and details of fitting this follow. And yes, it has pride of place with carpet on the floor. No expense spared.

The windshield bow

The windshield is a flat piece of polycarbonate and it is secured by screws on the front firewall and the windshield bow. The bow is made of solid rod and is carefully bent to the required radius. There is also a flat strip that the canopy sits on and here you can see it secured by clamps and boards ready for drilling to the windshield bow.

Fitting the windshield

The windshield is trimmed so that it fits exactly over the firewall and bow. The fuselage sides are bent inwards and dimpled to take countersink screws that attach the windshield to the fuselage skin. Next comes the canopy. More on that later.

First flight

Time for a test fit. Here I am left of picture. My brother, Ian, is testing it out. So far so good. It would be real comfortable if you could hang your elbow over the fuselage side. Must keep working and get it in the air.  The next page in Lynn Jarvis’s Sonex project features the canopy.

Lynn Jarvis’s Sonex project

  |  1. Introduction  |  2. Sonex specifications  |  3. Building the Sonex  |

  |  4. The tail and spar  |  5. The wing  |  6. The aft fuselage  |  7. More on the fuselage  |

  |  8. It all comes together  | 9. The canopy  |  10. The engine  |  11. Electrical  |  12. The cowling  |

  |  13. Paint and polish  | 14. Moving  |  15. Finishing  |  16. First flight  |  17. Natfly 2004  |