|January 19, 2005
The story of the steps: If you have followed along, you know that I have riveted down the baggage compartment floors. I was actually quite pleased with the fit and finish until I realized that I had to drill out all those rivets in order to install the steps.
Oh yes, it occurred to me to forget the steps and learn to jump up onto the wing. In the end, reason prevailed, I drilled out the rivets and set about step installation.
The first thing at hand was to drill a big (1.5") hole in the side of the fuselage.
Being careful to keep perfect alignment, you cut away the top of the stiffener just behind the skin and visible in the picture below. Again careful about alignment, the holes are continued through the next rib.
When the holes are cut, the steps can be slid through the holes and into position. All that assumes you got the holes properly aligned. I did, I think mostly as a function of luck.
Initially, the plates on the steps don't fit to the fuselage sides very well at all. This is the front view.
The aft view isn't much better than the front.
After substantial coaxing with a small body hammer the on the workbench, the plates form up to a nice fit. This one will take only a minor amount of adjustment to be perfect.
Next, it's time to mark and drill the rivet pattern on the step flanges. Exact spacing is not critical, but one row of rivets do have to line up with the flange of the f-724 vertical rib.
The last effort for the day was to match drill the step flanges to the fuselage and triple check the fit. I didn't really need a cleco in every hole, but the extra pressure helped pull the flange down so I had no worries about alignment.