Saturday, December 15, 2012

Belite Aluminum Ultralight Aircraft Cabin Construction, #2

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This is the second section on building an aluminum cabin for a Belite ultralight aircraft.  We're well on our way to finishing an awesome cabin for a single place airplane.  When completed, this cabin will weigh about 22 1/2 pounds and will match the look of other experimental (and factory) airplanes costing much, much more.

The first section in this series is HERE.

All caveats and warnings from that section apply in this section as well.  Remember, under federal law, you are personally responsible for ensuring the safety of your ultralight aircraft every time you fly, so do a good job.

Start by cutting two lengths of structural aluminum.  Each piece looks like this:

Short length of angle aluminum.
And each piece fits on the left or right side of the front cabin cross box assembly, as seen in this photo:

Short length drilled and clecoed in place.
Note that a long clamp is being used to pull both sides of the cabin snugly together.

Front Cabin Cross Box with both skins clecoed in.
Now it's time to clamp in the bottom gusset.

Bottom gusset clamped in place.
Bottom Gusset gets a few rivets.  (Cabin is on side.)
Be judicious in the use of rivets on the bottom gusset.  In the above photo, there are a couple of rivets placed (mistakenly) which were immediately drilled out in order to allow the floor pans to slip into place.  However, the objective is to get all of the bottom rivets in, so that the cabin assembly can set on the bottom and moved around without dragging the bottom tips of all of the clecos.

Floor pans as received and after bends.
Your pair of floor pans need to be bent into shape, as shown above.  The pre-cut relief slots make this easy to line up and do. Also, if you have shorter legs, you may wish to drill out and reset the position of the rudder pedal and brake bearing holes.  In general, the position of the holes should work well as set for pilots between 5' 8" and 6' 4" in height.  Shorter pilots may use a back cushion on their back seat, and anyone with truly short legs should consider resetting the pedal location.

Floor pans clecoed in place.
Make sure your floor pans are put in square to the cabin assembly, as one end does not have matching drill holes.  Also note that doubler gussets have been clecoed in on each forward corner.

Bottom front section riveting.
Above is a photo that shows what it looks like after riveting the bottom front section.  Note that many holes have been drilled out for 3/16" rivets.  Also note:  look through the remainder of the assembly instructions, as a metal sheet will be slipped under one side of the floor pan.  The metal sheet is the bottom of the mid cabin storage cabins, and its front edge has to slip under one of the floor pans and also under one of the front landing gear gussets.

Front Landing Gear Gusset.
To be continued.

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