Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fuselage structure

It was a very productive evening.

Reminiscent of the Jenny building days, my friend Brian Eberle came to the shop top lend a hand.  We spent quite a bit of time measuring, squaring and double checking the fuselage measurements.  Satisfied all was in order, the torch came out and the tack welding began.

The vertical tube at Station 3 was tacked into place.

You may be wondering why the tube is round.  After all, all the other tubes are square.  Well, the square tubes represent the square wooden structure of the original airplane.  At Station 3, the Nieuport designers had a round tube going vertically between the lower wing attach point and the rear cabane struts.

You can see the metal tubes in Mark Miller's excellent rendition of a Nieuport 11 cockpit.

Sorry, I know it's a steel tube replica, but if I paint the square tubing tan and the round tube black.......

Also Station 3 cross tube was tack welded in place.

One of the things that bothered me was the way the fuselage crumpled in the accident.  Ron and I looked it over for quite some time and made a few observations.

One of the things we noticed is that the fuselage buckled at Bay 2 but Bay 1 remained intact.  The difference was the method of bracing.

Bay 1 was braced with tubes. Bay 2 was braced with wire.

We decided the cockpit area needed to be braced with tubes.  I know, I'm painting tubes tan to look original but getting rid of an original style wire structure.  This decision was driven by safety.  Heaven forbid an accident happens again.  If it does, the cockpit area will be better protected.

The first cross tubes were fabricated between Station 2 and 3.

Looking ahead, tubes at Bay 1 were set in place.  We measured the old fuselage and the distance between the Firewall and Bay 1 was 11 inches. I'm hesitant to weld these tubes in place until the engine arrives.

More soon.  Enjoy


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