Not much to report this week. At the moment I seem to be able to get about 4 hours work done every weekend, and that’s about all. For one thing, I respect my neighbours and don’t start work until 10am earliest, 12 noon on Sundays, finishing all loud work involving power-tools by 6pm. For another, I often find I need to pause between parts of work for glue to dry etc, and I’m not quite organised enough to have other things ready to go when this happens. This weekend I didn’t do any work on the project on Saturday as I had other plans, so all I’ve managed to do it finish up the footwell frames I started last weekend, plus a couple of trimming jobs elsewhere in the frame.
Once I had the second footwell finished, I arranged them both within the frame in the approximate positions they will occupy – I need to get some fixings to bind them down with as I’ve run out – to see if the final shape of the console frame springs out at me, and thankfully, it now does. This is the point I’d been vacillating on for ages. See the photo below for the gory details – the chair in the picture is in the approximate place where the pilot’s seat will be when flying, so the full scale of the shell should now be apparent.
Having sat there for a while, the one thing that struck me was that my current window arrangement is rather less than ideal. Specifically, the left-hand side of the front window sits well within my peripheral vision, interrupting it. Now this of course is not uncommon on older small planes with framed windows, but I find it distracting and so I’m considering – only considering, mind you, because I’m sure it would be less than straightforward – replacing the four-part windows with a two-part system with curved panes, more like a learjet.
This would require me to replace a fair bit of the front frame, though – which I’ve already done once already – and other than a jigsaw I don’t really have the facility to cut curved sections. Even with that done, getting the plexiglass to curve smoothly and not break would be a challenge. So for now I’m just thinking about it. Another alternative is to keep the sectioned windows but remove the divide between the front and side panes, and use a transparent glue to join them (or, if I can get an accurate enough bend, create a single bent piece of perspex). I don’t recall ever seeing an aircraft with glass in this fashion, however, so it might be a tad unrealistic. UPDATE 10/10/10 – Actually, I have seen several aircraft with glass in exactly this fashion. Most single-engined Cessnas have exactly this arrangement. Doh!
A question for another day, anyway. Right now, I need to fix down the footwells into their final positions, put a structural frame on top to both join them up and provide a footing for the next layer of the sandwich (the yoke mechanism), and then get onto both building the yoke and finishing the internal skinning. Now that I’ve broken the mental logjam of the basic console frame, I hope to start moving a bit quicker. Fingers crossed.