Strakes and Fuel Tanks

The photos below are arranged chronologically and illustrate the process of fitting the strakes, constructing the wheel wells, setting in the bulkheads and fuel cell baffles.

Click on thumbnails to view larger versions of the pics!

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Jeffco used to seal sump tank. Note extra hardpoint installed to allow for fuel vent line. Lower strake in position. Note layup along center spar. Holes for landing gear made by sequentially raising the gear, marking contact points on lower strake, and cutting. Because of the curves of the gear leg, the motion it makes isn't exactly straight up and must be carefully traced out. Make sure the tires are inflated to the appropriate pressure or else the wheel well will end up too small!! Hole cut in lower strake for gear and wheel. Note inside skin and foam cut out to allow installation of gear "tunnel" and wheel well flanges. Layout for baffles and bulkheads traced on lower strake surface.
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Bolt access hole seen here. Note position of bulkhead which marks the outer edge of fuel tank. Note cables for nav and com antennas next to spar. Gear retraction height set to allow proper spacing and positioning of parts to follow. Spacers placed on tires to set correct well sizing. Wheel well hoop fitted.
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Gear leg "tunnel" fitted. Hoop and tunnel joint. Fuselage side sanded and marked in preparation to attaching bulkheads and upper strake. Note markings made on fuselage and door. This allows precise positioning of leading strake halves when installed. Marks leveled side to side in addition to positioning at correct height in relation to the wing spar to achieve bilateral symmetry and correct angle of attack of strake. Brad Flecker demonstrates the perfect fit of the upper strake.
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Trailing edge of upper strake. A layer of 3 oz. fine BID is applied to all surfaces of strake which comprise the fuel cells. Here, the floor of the strake is pre-wet with epoxy and the fine BID laid down. Peel ply is applied to the fine BID which draws up the epoxy and leaves a consistently filled surface ready for application of final sealer, Jeffco. Note that the markings for the baffle postions remain visible. Almost ready for installation of bulkheads.
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Sequence of photos showing fitting of bulkheads in lower strake. This forms the baggage area in strake. Rear and outboard fuel cell bulkheads fitted to strake. Innermost and forward bulkheads fitted to strake. Note leftmost bulkhead will form side of baggage area. Sequence of photos showing baffles being shaped and set into postion.
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Next, the baffles are fitted to the wheel well.
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Contact points on the upper strake inner surface marked. (One sets the top part of the strake in place and reaches in from underneath after removing the wheel well hoop) Preparing wheel well for laying in of flange. Wheel well flange.
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Bulkheads first glued into position... Then glassed into place as shown in the next photos.
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View of baggage area to be. Note this is smaller than called for by plans. The baggage strakes are 4.5" deep at the rear and 5" deep just behind the door. The fuel tanks are therefore somewhat larger than standard. This configuration will yield 82 gallons total capacity. Wheel well glassed in. Baffles glued into position. Note the "mouseholes" to allow fuel movement in tanks.
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First three baffles glassed into place. Final bulkhead glued into place. Strips from bulkheads used to shore up baffle until set. Last baffle glued into place. Last baffle glassed into position.
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Another view of last baffle glassed into position. Bulkheads "B" and "D" (as denoted in plans). These will be placed behind the rearmost bulkhead of the fuel tanks and attached to center spar. Bulkhead "D" fitted into place between rear bulkhead and center spar. Flange built in place to simplify installation of bulkhead D. Adhesive is placed on back side of bulkhead and glass layup made on the other, outer side.
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Bulkhead "B" fitted into place at the outboard edge of the rear fuel tank bulkhead. The wing is seen in the lower right hand corner of the picture. Locking fuel cap seen from inside imbedded in upper strake skin. Fuel cap and tire dimple installed in upper strake. Layer of carbon fiberglass placed to reinforce tire dimple since foam is removed to upper skin.
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Fine BID laid up on fuel cell surfaces of upper strake skin to create easy to seal surface. Peel ply used to draw up epoxy. Rough location of fuel sender and probe. This is a 16" Vision Microsystems fuel Level System probe. Main fuel vent pickup - 3/8 inch diameter. Note holes for fuel gauge in baffle against which the fuel vent runs and in the innermost bulkhead. This was the optimla position for this particular system given the minimal length of 16 inches. View from rear of plane of co-pilot strake fuel vent and Vision Microsystems fuel sender.
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Another view from front of plane of co-pilot strake fuel vent and Vision Microsystems fuel sender. Main fuel pickup seen roughly in center of photo in corner formed by fuselage bulkhead and gear tunnel.

Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome! email: rich@rguerra.com

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