Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Fastback is born

OK, so last week when I left the last thing I did was take a picture of the engine and wings. The following weekend and I'm ready to try to make some visible progress.

Not really sure what the 2 pictures above ae supposed to be of. i think i tooka photo of a drilled out rivet perhaps from a map pocket that was removed ans will need to be filled. There are a few of them..

I have just about got all of the old rivets for the turtle deck removed and have removed all the little pieces of the rivets in the holes.

This is my Dad, Jim. He has been a never-ending source of help in this project. Not only does he help out with the dirty work he has given up countless weekend to fly from Punta Gorda up to Lakeland to work on my -4 with me. He as also been a great help in discussing everything from rollover protection to switch ergonomics and wiring. If that all were not enough he lets me use his 172 to make the trip twice a weekend for going on over a year and half now.
-He doesn't normally look that happy though...

So one final picture of her as a "standard RV-4" before we shed the skin...

Dad poses for the removal shot. It seems to be sticking a little...

Alright, "there's your problem" Guess I forgot a few rivets in that last bulkhead. Oh and there is my artistic interpretation of what she should look like if I can keep Jay from painting the damn thing Yellow! Everyday I'm there he harps that its gotta be yellow and has used every reason under the sun to support it. Its his favorite color.. All of his South Lakeland T-shirts are yellow, he says his gun  will only shoot yellow and....Im sayin' helloo, yellow, HELLNO!

Finally freed up and Dad insisted That I be the one to remove the old skin. I look happy, and I am, but Ill sure be glad when I start reconstructing something and stop with the disassembly.

So there it is. The old turtle deck cast aside coldly to the groound and the rear bulkheads exposed to the light again for the first time since 1989...   and I was 10.

I fashioned this little windshield bow and fastened it into place temporarily  to try to get a visualization of how this sliding canopy make look and function.

I un-boxed the pieces I ordered from John Harmon to use as a starting point for my fastback conversion. I already know that they are going to be to narrow and will have to be cut in the middle. I'll then add a plate to reconnect them in the proper spots.

I must have been hemming and hauling a little bit because Jay didn't wait around for much discussion he grabbed the cutoff wheel and went at it.

I'm not sure that is exactly where I would have made the cut but its done.

After a quick run through the the saw the bulkheads were split and we were fitting them to the existing bulkheads.

Dad and Jay get the first bulkhead clamped in place and move on to the next.

The overall gap that was left is not huge but it was enough that they had to be split. I know other have made their bulkheads for their fastbacks from scratch using cardboard but the parts from Harmon were not to expensive and I think I save a few days work in doing so.

I also orderd the Turtle Deck Skin from Harmon and have it bungee'd into position here.

Before leaving for the day I add my sight string back and confirm that there is a decent angle. If I had it to do over again I would try to raise the height of the turtle deck to ensure a smoother line from canopy to deck then I'm afraid that I am going to have.

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