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Kit Building: Fuselage

One of the first things we did was elevate the fuselage.  It took most of an hour to unpack it as Quad City does a great job in covering things up.  We made use of a couple of "workmate" type benches acquired for $15 each at Canadian Tire for this task.  Tracy and I can easily lift the Challenger II Fuselage.

We wanted to get the plane on it's wheels right away, but after adding the struts in "temporary" mode and assembling the wheels, we discovered that as our brakes were backordered, these also included the axles, so playing airplane would have to wait a few more days!  
That's Dad hiding behind the wing.  he did not really like to get his picture taken!


 Late Night Odds and Ends

We try to accomplish something every day when we have time, and sometimes it's not much, but keeps progress moving.  Here is a running compendium of "little jobs" that keep one in touch with one's plane!

Aileron Bell crank Shackles

We had a few shackles backordered, and when these arrived we needed to put them on the control stick linkages and the aileron bell crank.  You can see them on the rear (right side) of the bell crank.  As shipped, there were blue nylon quick ties in place of the shackles, and these were under slight pressure, but came off very easily once nipped with some side cutters.

These shackles normally come installed, but there is a real shortage of them throughout North America right now, so here's some tips just in case you have to install your shackles as well.  

The wire connecting the rear of the Bell Crank from one side to the other passes under a pulley and was too tight to allow us to install the second shackle.  However, as we were installing the control stick shackles as well, we loosened all the control stick turnbuckles enough to gain slack in the aileron cables to allow the shackles to be installed!  

I'll put some photos of the control stick shackles up later.

Now all that remains is to retention these linkages and  acquire and install some replacement .040 safety wire. 

This is one of those things that is "oh so obvious" once you ponder over it for a while, but it's not in any manual, so we documented it here for anyone else who was wondering "just how am I going to stretch that wire enough so I can stick that little wee pin in there through the back side of that Bell Crank?"

Front Rudder Pedals

One of the first things we did was attach the nose gear bracket to the front spar and install the front rudder pedal pushrods on a temporary basis.  I've got to recheck these against the manual to be sure I have them on right!


Brake Axle Shortening (Not Normally Required)

Our brakes were backordered for a couple of weeks.  When they arrived, we found that they would not fit as the axle stub was too long to engage the brake drum on the 5" custom wheels.

This turned out to be a very minor item.  On calling Quad City, it was confirmed that we were shipped the wrong brake weldments for our custom wheels.  They would ship replacements immediately, or there was an easy fix if I was halfway handy with a hacksaw!.  

All we needed to do was mark the axle sleeve and cut it down to 1.25 " in length (it was supplied at 2.25" to fit the standard wheels.)  I elected to pursue this route as I was in a hurry to get the plane on it's wheels and try out the "Front Seat". 

The shipped brake is the lower one in the photo, and the upper one has already been reduced in length.  This fix took less than 10 minutes per brake assembly with a hacksaw and a file.

On Her Wheels

There comes a point where you just have to sit in the plane!

After doing the brake adjustments pictured above, we installed the wheels and set her on the floor.

At this point, with no tail feathers or engine installed, she sits level on three wheels and is easy to get into.  You can see that this kit is being built as a wide body model without the high sides.  Much easier to get in and out of!

Happy to report that visibility out the front and over the nose cone is excellent.  I did install the nose cone temporarily to see how it felt, but neglected to take a picture - we'll do this again later on and get a photo up here.

We've ordered a 15 gallon fuel tank and related accessories, and a heater  from Turbulence Aviation ( so we're not going to do much more on the fuselage until that arrives.



The Fine Print - Caution

Ideas, illustrations and photos are the author's own work and are for information only.  
Builders of Challengers should always follow the Quad City manual.

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