We’re back at the rewarding stage of creating large bits of metal that look like they could belong to a plane one day 🙂

We deliberately concentrated on smaller elements such as ribs and their attachments before we relocated our life to Scotland in mid-2017, as we didn’t want to assemble pieces that would make our kit more challenging to move. We’re now catching up and beginning to attach ribs and spars to the large skin that makes up the main floor of the fuselage.

At the moment we’re working on the seat and baggage area and it’s been really fun to see where we’ll actually be sitting when we fly – we’ve even fitted the attachments for our seatbelts!

The current section contains one large and very weighty spar (which will take the force of the wings so I’m quite pleased it’s solid!), one smaller spar and lots of intermediate ribs, attachments and doublers for additional strength.

It’s quite complex and there is a lot of riveting, but it’s nice to be close to finishing off some sections, and we have definitely found our groove with the riveting again which makes us much faster.

The flush rivets on the outside of the floor need to be done with the rivet gun on the outside (as it won’t fit between the ribs to back rivet), so we needed to have the skin facing upwards. This meant a bit of creativity was needed to support the structure so one of us (inevitably the smaller one, me!) could get underneath and buck between the ribs whilst the other guided the gun.

We used some old floorboards, cut them to length and clamped them between our workbenches, then turned the structure upside down with the boards as supports. The result is basically a cave for me to sit inside and rivet!

Old floorboards cut to length to support the inverted structure
My riveting cave…less fun than many other types of cave
First set of ribs clecoed and ready to rivet
A riveter’s eye view…

I swear this light (which I think was about £4 in IKEA) is one of the best things I’ve bought since starting this build! It’s flexible and has a clip so I can move it around with me and check all of the rivets properly when I’m working in the dark. It also came inside the tailcone with me when we were working on the empennage. Thankfully there’s more space inside the main fuselage so I’m not quite as trapped this time!

I also recommend ear defenders for the person inside, as it gets very loud and I’d still like to be able to hear when we’ve finished the kit!

Tomorrow’s job is finishing off riveting the ribs and then we are at the point of joining the large firewall section to this section.

Bottom skin after riveting the first set of ribs
Riveting the next set of ribs to the spar
All ribs now in place

Happy flying!

Em x

RV-14 build: Fuselage – seat and baggage ribs

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