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November 2002
It's time to flip the plane over and concentrate on body work. My goal is to finish the belly and gear doors, prime, block and begin the hydraulics. When I get the hydraulic system plumed I am going to install the nose gear and engine mount. The rotisserie will be taken off, so it's crucial to me to have this area completed before moving on.

My surface preparation begins with using a chisel to remove excess flox, epoxy and imperfections. I rough up the surface and clean for my first application of micro. The first area I begin to body work is the joint between the center section and fuselage. After filling and blocking it twice, it feels smooth and all the high spots are feathered out. I also backfill the countersunk screws on the gear door with flox.

In between the sanding and applying more micro I turn my attention to trimming out the console access panels and rear baggage floor panels. Once trimmed, I installed all the associated nut plates and screws. All the bonding surface areas of these components are trimmed back to 3/4". After all the scrap was cut off, it weighed in at almost a pound and a half! That's a great way to save weight. Here and there, it all adds up, plus I'm saving even more, because there will less flox used.

My son Nicholas loves to come out and help and that's fine by me. He's getting to watch all the power tools in action and just likes to have a piece of sandpaper in his hands. At this point, I'm happy to have all the help I can get with the body work.

Probably the worst fit issue to date is the gear doors. The inner doors I positioned flush with the hinge line, but there is a twist on the outer edge. What it means is that one side sits below the surface and the other side sits above about 1/16". So micro will be used to make a nice flush transition all the way around. The first step in correcting this is to sand, clean and mask out the edges of the gear doors. I used a wide brush to wet-out the whole area with epoxy. Since I am going heavy on the first application, (most gets sanded out) I lay over some dacron to keep it from running. Before it has a chance to completely cure, approximately three hours later, I pulled the fabric off and used a razor to cut a groove between the doors and wing.

Once the blocking begins, so does the real work. The amazing part of it all is that a smooth finished look appears and it's great to run your hands over it all and feel no bumps or high spots.

I made a sanding block to get an even gap between door and wing and invent my own to go around the curved inner door joggles. I took a paper cup and put micro in the top and bottom to give me a ridged tool. The bottom is easy iff you put clear packing tape down on a flat surface and simply place it on. This is a great tool and has the 7 degree angle built in! Mark Menke stress the importance of at least 1/8" gap to compensate for paint and movement. I can't see where it will cost me any parasite drag, an I won't have to worry about chipped paint. It's a good idea to use tape as a sanding guide. I don't want to sand too much and it keeps the gaps even with the doors.

The body work continues. It never seems to end, but at least now it's just touch up and perfecting everything. I did another release on my bell crank area to get a nicer, finished look and have continued to work on the horizontal-to-vertical transition.

Yup, more and more filling and sanding. I completed my leading edge wing root lay-ups and did an application of micro. I just started using a technique I read about on the Lancair Mail List. It's heating up a metal spreader and smoothing out the micro. It works great! It's just like spreading butter.

The belly is finally coming to a close and all that's left to do now are micro-releases around my antenna bases before the whole belly and tail get primed. After speaking with Rick Schrameck, I've decided to go with DuPont EURO-Prime. It's pretty expensive, but according to Rick is the best way to begin a great paint job. The other advantage is that when rolled on, it will fill all the pin-holes and sanding scratches, not to mention fabric weave and low spots. (More on DuPont EURO-prime and application techniques next month).

I'm close to settling on my paint scheme. It's going to be red and black with gold striping and based on a WACO biplane design. I have continued to add to the Legacy paint schemes and encourage other builders to take advantage of them. I hope they help. It's really the fun part of the build and keeps me focused when covered in sanding dust.

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Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. This site is the builder's log of Don Barnes and for the purpose of sharing information and opinions related to building a Lancair Legacy. Any person using these images, ideas and tips does so at their own discretion and risk. No responsibility is expressed or implied and is without recourse against anyone related to this site. This site is not affiliated with Lancair International or Neico Aviation Inc., however, we love their aircraft.

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