Chapter 7: fuselage exterior

Chapter 7 involves carving the fuselage exterior to shape, rounding the sharp corners for an esthetically pleasing airplane and preparing the fuel tank area. The outside foam surface then gets prepped and receives its two-ply glass skin.

Up to this point, the fuselage was a fragile, flexible, weak square box. After it gets glassed, it will then be an extremely stiff, strong composite sandwich structure.

A few things I would like to mention that I will do different than what the plans indicate:

1) Since I opted to locate the fuel gauge on the inside of the strake pocket, all fuel gauge instructions do not apply to me at this time.

2) The plans have you install the seat belt hard points in Chapter 8. This makes no sense to me, since this means you would glass the outside fuselage, drill through it later and have to patch it up. To save some work, I'm going to install the seat belt hard points in Chapter 7, fill the countersunk screw heads, and then glass over it and be done with it - no patch up work required later.

3) Since we are on the topic of seat belt hard points and Chapter 8 - I think the exterior foot step is hideous looking! So I'm not going to install one. From all the times I stood next to a Long-EZ, it seems I won't have any trouble getting in and out of it without the aid of a foot step. On that note, I am deleting whatever hardware is called out in order to install the step.

4) The landing gear attachment brackets should have been installed back in Chapter 5. Since I did not have all the hardware ready at the time, I'm installing them in this chapter.

5) Lastly, I am following the footsteps of a few builders who have come up with the idea to imbed a 1/2" conduit flex hose into the fuselage side wall between the leading edge of the strake and just forward of the instrument panel. This will allow me to route an isolated set of cables from the avionics compartment bay through the fuselage wall and into the leading edge of the strake. I will later embed a conduit spanwise along the leading edge of the wing so the cables can continue being routed to the wing tip. Sounds like a lot of work but is actually quite simple to do. Having an isolated path is important if you plan on installing instrumentation where you want to reduce the amount of noise induced by high-power cables (e.g., the current powering the strobe lights may induce noise onto a low power signal cable running in the same bundle - it's best practice to run it through a different path).

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