Today’s build is going to continue on with the F-404 bulkhead, as there are still a few more tasks to continue before I can start on the final riveting. It sure is exciting to see this part coming together.
Below is a picture from the side. The blue side plates come supplied with the Van’s RV-4 wing kit and are match drilled to the upright fuselage formers.
Here is a picture of the lower side of the bulkhead. As you can see there is a lower plate that is used to mate the forward and aft side of the bulkhead. You will also note that it is a couple inches short now that I have widened the bulkhead for the F1 Rocket dimensions, so I need to make a new lower plate that will be long enough. I’ll detail this more in a coming post.
Control Tube Thru-Spar Cutout
I need to begin by matching the cutout in the spar, which is used for the control column to pass through, and make a matching cutout in the forward and aft sides of the F-404 bulkhead. I started by placing the forward side of the bulkhead against the forward side of the spar to trace the location of the cutout in the spar to the bulkhead.
Below (the black line) is my cut line for the cutout.
The picture below is the front face of the forward bulkhead with the control column hole cut. A little bit more edge clean up and trimming to go.
The next few pictures below show the same process used for the aft side of the bulkhead. You can also note where, for some unknown reason, that Van’s has predrilled some holes in this location. It may be for the RV-4 however as far as I can tell the control column opening cutout is the same size on both the RV-4 and the F1. Additionally, the lower right predrilled hole is going to be something that I will just have to deal with.
Below is a picture of both sides of the bulkhead assembled together.
Here is a shot of the bulkheads temporarily in place with the spars. Damn this is looking good! It’s really exciting to see the larger components coming together.
F1 Mod – Enlarged Side Panels
Another one of the F1 mods to be completed on the F-404 bulkhead is to add larger side panels to help mate the forward and aft sides of the bulkhead together but also in the future during the fuselage assembly as providing more available riveting space in this area. These panels are in addition to the parts supplied with the RV-4 kit.
Once I had the new side panel material cut to the correct width, I matched one per side with the RV-4 parts and marked out the spar cutout.
Once mounted to the bulkhead, you can see how the new side panel extends the entire height of the F-404 bulkhead. I kept these parts long for now until I can figure out where to cut them. This sure adds some solid rigidity to the bulkhead assembly!
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