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It still amazes me how much longer things can take than you expect. Way back in late June I thought I was almost ready to start riveting the upper forward skin on. I could think of three things that I needed to do first, then I could do that skin. Then I did a detailed inspection of the forward fuselage area, looking for things that either had to be completed before I riveted that skin in place, or things that would be much easier to do before putting that skin on. I came up with a list of about a dozen things that I should do before riveting the skin.

I started working down that list, then I decided to add a Narco 122D as a second independent navigation aid. Then I discovered an annunciator light problem that I should fix before putting the skin on. And I kept my eyes open as I worked, and kept on finding more things that I needed to correct before I closed off access to that area.

On Friday, I thought I would be ready to start riveting that skin on Saturday morning. Then I spied two more problems that needed sorting out (brake lines and a wire bundle that were chafing on a bulkhead corner.

This morning I thought I was finally ready to go, and I clecoed the skin in place. I was all ready to start riveting when I realized that it would be difficult to get the canopy bow in place once the skin was attached. I grabbed the canopy bow to see if it could be manoeuvred in place - not a chance. So, the skin had to come off, I had to prime the little pieces that attach the skin to the aft face of the canopy bow, bolt the canopy bow in place, torque all the bolts, rivet those little pieces onto the aft edge of the skin, then cleco it all back again.

This evening I finally started riveting the skin in place. I've only got about 30% of the rivets in, but it is going well so far. I'll do all the ones I can reach, then entice Bruce, a local RV-3 builder to come help me get the rest.


The instrument panel is screwed in place, as other builders have found that if you don't do that you will have problems getting it in later. Apparently the stress of riveting causes things to shift a bit, and the instrument panel will no longer line with the holes that it screws to. But, if you have it screwed in place when you rivet, it holds things in place.

The four "round dial" engine instruments are laying wrapped up in some foam to protect them from the vibration from the rivet gun. There are a lot of wires attached to those instruments with ring terminals (three to five per instrument), so it is easier to leave then attached to the wires once I finally got them hooked up properly.