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RV-10 Fuselage (Standard Build)

This will be a "standard build" fuselage as opposed to a "quick build" fuselage. I expect to spend a year in assembly of the bizzillion parts in the kit. This section of the kit involves making decisions of wiring, panel layout, fuel system, interior color, and overhead design. Lots to do, decide, design and implement.

This page documents sections 25 to 34 of the RV-10 fuselage kit plans.




Notes and Photos




Kit Arrives!
Fuselage arrives in a single 520 pound crate that fits perfectly in between the wheel wells of a full size Chevy Silverado pick up truck. Once again, FedEx delivered the box without a mark on it. I highly recommend them for LTL shipping. The picture below shows the cabin top still in the crate, skins in the bottom and longerons on the side. The large boxes of hardware and other parts have already been removed.

Cabin Top in Crate

Click any picture to enlarge.

Overnight low 49 deg last night!

10/10 to 10/17/08



Mid Fuse Bulkheads
The pictures below show the four bulkheads that are assembled in this section. The first two are the main spar carry through box for the wing spar. Pretty important piece of metal. It is alodine treated already and precision drilled to fit the wing spar. Be careful to dress out any nicks that you may make during assembly to remove stress points. Next comes the wing rear spar carry through and finally a fuselage spar. All of these spars are in the middle of the fuselage.

Note from the Future: Take a look ahead to page 44-2 and decide if you want to trim the main spars now while they are off of the airplane.


Shown to the left are the two main spars which form the main spar carry through box, the rear main spar and the rear fuselage spar.

10/17 to 11/15/08



Mid Fuse Ribs
This section of the plans has you start from the main spar and work backwards through the passenger seat area to the baggage area. Then the bottom forward skins are attached. The aft most part of this assembly mates to the earlier completed tailcone in section 32.

Note to builders: Drawing 26-5, Figure 3 has sear ribs labeled left on the right side and visa versa. Follow the drawing as labeled. Also double check overlap order of ribs and tabs before riveting. It is nearly impossible to correct later if arranged incorrectly. 26-5 has you flute the f-1015 ribs, you also need to flute the f-1018 rib as well.

I was able to reach the outermost ribs myself to rivet. Then with a couple of hours of help from Pete - all done! Much easier to two person rivet than the wing skins.

Note from the future1: Flap motor wires will need to run from the center tunnel to the side along the aft spar. It would be easier to mount little brackets for holding cushion clamps now rather than later.
Note from the future2: If you are going to run conduit up the side under the baggage floor, it would be easier to enlarge the tooling holes or make new holes now rather than later.

Passenger Foot Wells, Rear Seat Ribs, Baggage Ribs

Riveting Bottom Skins

11/13 to 11/20/08



The firewall is stainless steel. This section involves adding a framwork to it that will support a number of steel attach points for the engine mount and nose wheel attach. The frame work is all -4 flush rivets which takes a heavy gun setting to buck rivet. I recommend using a squeezer or a very light setting with riveting the nutplates that mount directly to the firewall only.

I left the heater ducting off of the front for now. In the next section, the firewall assy is tilted up on its nose for working on the bottom skin. It is best to not have the duct in the way.

Note from the future 1: See page OP37-2 of the electrical plans for a fat wire hole that needs to be drilled near the starter solenoid mount.
Note from the future 2: Don't enlarge the holes in the recess until you decide what type of firewall penetrations you will be using for the control cables.


Click any picture to enlarge

11/22 to 12/21/08


Sec 28

Forward Fuse Ribs and Bottom Skin
I thought this was a hard section of the plans to complete. There are two or three instances of needing two people to rivet. Thanks to Handlebar Ray and John V. for driving out to Apache Junction to help out when I needed it.

There were also a couple of instances where I think I used every tool I own. One memorable moment was fitting the right gear assembly into the corner of the center section and the side panel. I didn't have the gap needed to fit the spacer and Vans support said to go ahead and install with out it.

I made a stand to hold the fuselage and that cleared my workbench for bending skins in the next section of the plans.

Note from the future: If you are going to mount anything above the forward tunnel cover (switch panel, console, fire extinguisher, etc.) then consider adding access hatches to the two side ribs before attaching to the firewall.

Floor ribs and skin in place

Front and Mid test fit

On Landing Gear

Winter is here! High 60, Low 39. Snow up in Flagstaff. Enjoying my fireplace.

12/22 to 02/01/09



Side Skins
This section of the plans involves a lot of bending of things. First the upper and lower longerons are bent to match a curve in a template. This is accomplished by marking 1 inch increments down the longeron, holding it in a vice and hitting with a mallet for each one inch. The skins are bent to a curve by using a clamping block and a pair of angles as a lever.

It has been a very wet and cold Christmas. Plenty of rain here in Phoenix and snow in the higher country. It is clearing and warming now and we should be back in the 60's this week.

Mounted skins to fuselage structure. Took over 1,000 rivets. Plans forgot to mention that side ribs should have been dimpled when accessible.

Mounting gear assemblies to main spar was very difficult. My right gear had contact with side due to the way it was welded and I was unable to insert the spacer per the plans. I sent photos to Vans for an opinion and they said to go without the spacer.

This section took about 10 hours longer than I thought it would. The airplane is still not very aerodynamic but I am making progress.

Bending Longeron

Bending Skins

Cabin with Skins and Floor

Final Product

2/6 to 2/20/09


Sec 30

Step Attach
I made two modification to the kit in this section. The first is that I used a AN4 bolt in place of the AN3 bolt to give a larger bearing area at the outboard steel fitting. Second, I replaced the inboard nylon blocks with aluminum 6061-T6 blocks and added another AN3 anti-rotation bolt here. This way the step will have a larger anti-rotation bearing area.

2/7 to 3/4/09


Sec 31

Instrument Panel
A couple of decisions need to be made before you can complete this section. First you need to decide where to locate your radio stack. The radios project through the subpanel and need to be either side of the center rib. I decided to put my radio stack to the right of the center rib. Second is to decide if you are going to modify the left and right ribs to allow depth behind the main panel. Even though the EFIS is only 4 inches deep, you will need to modify the rib so you are not limited to how high you can mount it. My rib modification utilizes the existing rib material and only needs the addition of a small gusset held by two rivets.

Rib Modification


2/22 to 2/13/09


Sect 32

Tail Cone Attach
There was nothing hard or unusual about attaching the tail cone. It was brought together, match drilled, separated, deburred, dimpled, brought back together and riveted. The complete fuselage is now almost 18 feet long and takes up my whole workshop. It seems that everything I need is always on the opposite side of the airplane (yes, now it is "the airplane" and not "the project") and I spend quite a bit of energy walking around it while I am working.

3/5 to 3/22/09


Sect 33

Baggage Area
After you prepare your floors for installation, there is one line in the plans that says to make sure you have your wiring in place before permanently installing the floors. You can't do your wiring until you have conduit in place. You can't do your conduit until you have determined the routing and drilled the holes. You can't mount it until you fabricate all the little holding brackets along the way. Needless to say, this is where my last 20 hours went. I installed two conduit runs of the right side. On the left I have the #2 wire in snap bushing and another conduit.

I have modified my floors to have access panels above the step. These are 5" covers over a 4.5" inner ring. I also added four tie down points that will accept 1/4-28 bolts so I can have tie down straps in the baggage area.

The right side panel is installed permanently so I had to finish the static system before installation. I copied the Piper system. I have a high point and then a down slope which will lead to a drain valve then up to the instruments.

Conduit and Wire Runs

Static System

3/22 to 3/29/09


Sec 34

Baggage Door
I added two rows of J stiffener to the inside door panel to reduce vibration. These were scrap pieces from the tailcone build. The plans call for mounting the door hinge when separated but I don't think there is any way to insert the center pin once mounted, so I installed the hinge with the door mounted. There are a couple of very hard to reach rivets near the top of the door hinge.



Mike Andresen
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