You can’t quite tell in the preceding pictures, but there was an error in our pilot side lower strake alignment. This was due to a couple of things that those following us should take care to avoid. Here are some tips, watch-outs, and screw-ups made:

  1. There is no specific mention of the fact that the strake really *ought* to cross the slanting (forward) section of the door for clearance reasons (not on the dogleg, as ours did). I discovered this when I went to cut our door free.
  2. You shouldn’t have to cut your door free. Oddly enough, it is mentioned, you take all of these great measurements based on the strake’s location on the door, but are mysteriously supposed to remove it before bonding. Go figure.
  3. DON’T PANIC. Anything fiberglass can be repaired.
  4. When I finished panicking (it’s advice, I didn’t say I followed it), I called the factory and they talked me off of the ledge. They really are some of the nicest, most caring folks in the business, and have a rather surprising ability to not laugh out loud when you’ve done something silly – with the exception of Frank, who we give a pretty wide berth since we spent a lot of time together at Head Start.
  5. When you make a mistake, fix it, and the sooner the better, you’ll sleep better and be a much nicer person.
  6. You bulkheads will probably not be flat, so what you think is level (fore-and-aft) probably isn’t. Once we had the canard set, we should have (and will from now on) use that as the reference for zero incidence.
  7. Heavily Dremeled Fiberglass is very dusty, and itchy. Cut fiberglass is sharp. It is very uncomfortable to be dusty and itchy, especially with open cuts. When all else fails, allow your SO the chance to be dusty and itchy also, try to convince them it’s fun to use power tools.

Anyway, so we put the canard back on and leveled it to find that the nose was in fact slightly low (*very* slightly). This was making about 1″ of difference (low) on the door. On advice from Scott Swing, and since we didn’t have any of the bulkheads that attached to the spar installed yet, we cut the strake loose from the side of the fuselage (but not the spar). We then sanded all of the BID and micro from the first attachment off, pulled the nose of the strake up to the correct position, checked it several times, and re-bonded it to the fuselage. We had to replace some foam from the baggage cutout area before replacing the BID in this area. With this modification, the strake passes just above the dogleg in the door, and opens and closes wonderfully.

Foam Repair in Baggage Area of Strake

Stake Supported to Correct Door Height

Posted By: Brett Ferrell
Thursday December 26th, 2002 at 9:51 PM

Categories: Strakes
Tags: Building Fuselage Strakes

2 responses to “Strake Repair”

  1. Document says:

    […] OK, so two things. First, I don’t like the “cut perpendicular to the door cut line from the inside” technique at all. You’d have to have line a foot long saw to do that in one motion, and I think it’d be hard to judge “perpendicular”. Second, on my fast build I have a door jamb already, for which I’m grateful, but the cut line needs to be even with the opening (a 1/2″ further out), not the jamb. So, here’s what I did. You go to the hardware store and get one of these trick new B&W laser level/stud finder deals, pin one side so it doesn’t seek level, grab a stand, and fire the laser at the strake perpendicular to the fuselage along the door line. At least this way I can visualize the cut line, verify it’s perpendicular, scribe the line, and cut it. I was very pleased briefly, as this worked very well for me. Then I realized that I still had a door clearance issue. A quick search of the available Velocity picture archives confirmed that my strake was too low on the door line. Many angst filled hours and a couple of phone calls to the factory, the Strake Repair began. […]

  2. Document says:

    […] are over, major Strake Repair is complete, Canard […]

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