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   Skinning the Fuselage

January 2004
The skinning process starts with the tail cone skin.  You have to massage the skin a little to get it to conform to the bulkheads.  The bulkhead flanges also have to be formed a little since the skin tapers towards the back.  After placing the bulkhead on the skeleton you use a marker and outline the stringers and bulkheads from the inside.  You then mark and drill the skin for the hole pattern then re-mount the skin and back drill through the skeleton.  As you can see in the right picture, I mis-marked the skin and drilled some extra holes.  To fix that I will glass the inside of the skin then fill the holes with micro.  It will be unnoticeable once the plane is painted.
Cutting the opening for the tailwheel is a process of trial and error.  Unfortunately I should have cut the skin in an elipse shape so it would form to the weldment a little better.  Otherwise, it doesn't look bad.
Next the bottom skin is fitted.  The skin shifted a little bit but once the side skins are on it won't be visible.
I used some PVC tubing and straps to hold down the skins for drilling.  I back drilled the skins from the insides but it was difficult to do near the rear bulkheads where the tail wheel weldment is located.

November 2004