Saturday, April 25, 2015

RV-12's Tail Cone Mated To Fuselage!!

The last few work sessions have been in preparation for the mating of the RV-12's tail cone section onto the fuselage. Having gone off the reservation with regard to installing the electrical along with AOA, pitot and static air tubing plus mounting the Dynon ADAHRS unit into the tail cone prior to mating … there was a small element of concern that perhaps it may have been fool hardy to have done so.

However, I’m glad to report ... YES, it can be done! Although striving to not enter the tail cone at all, at the last moment I decided not to chinch up all the wire ties just in case it was necessary to move tubing or wiring. Ultimately that was not necessary, but probably still a good idea just in case. As such, I will need to extend myself into the tail cone to cinch up and clip the wire ties. Have also decided it may also be wise to add a little extra protection for the wires where the wiring bundle makes the bend aft from the backside of the F-1206A bulkhead onto the J channel on the left side of the tail cone. Don’t want vibrations to cause the edge of the J channel to chafe the wiring. So even though I will still need to reach into the tail cone, cinching and clipping the wire ties should be, for the most, part an easy task.

Mating the RV-12’s tail cone to the fuselage was an all hands on deck event. There were four of us … that seemed to be the perfect number. Jan (who is the only one of us that has been working out regularly in a gym) was given the task of holding and maneuvering the aft end of the tail cone.  Mike T. and myself stood on either side of the forward end of the tail cone to support and maneuver it into position. Mike K. went from side to side to flex the skins during mating, he also verified the skin overlaps were correct and the holes were aligning correctly. One good thing about the DOG Aviation RV-12 having dimpled rivet holes is when the dimples finally seated in place, the holes were, for the most part, instantly aligned.
Mating the tail cone was an all hands on deck event. Jan holding the tail cone, Mike K. installing a Cleco, me working on the bottom skin and Mike T. on the far side of the tail cone.

Total time at the hangar was about 45 minutes much of which was spent devising a plan of attack, rounding up Cleco pliers, clecos and a couple of hole alignment tools. We took our time and the actual mating process didn’t take very long ... perhaps 20 minutes or so. Jan, to her credit, was a real trooper because she had the most taxing job of holding the tail cone the entire time and only started getting tired of holding it as the final few Clecos were being installed. She reports she can feel the burn today.

After getting the RV-12’s tail cone mated to the fuselage, we left the hangar and celebrated the event over lunch and a few effervescent adult beverages. Having worked on the RV-12 until after midnight the night prior, was not too eager to return to the hangar to continue on. So took the rest of the day off and did not feel guilty because major progress was made.