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REFLECTOR: Fuselage Leveling


Your posting brings back memories from July 1996.  I fought with a warped
lower fuselage half for the best part of one weekend trying to get it
level.  I finally built an "industrial strength" cradle out of 2x4's and
bondoed it in.  It was a lot of extra work but I managed to get it level
fore and aft, side to side.  All my meticulous work paid off, until I
released it from the cradle and..."Boingggg"...it popped back to it's
original twisted shape.  I was livid!  I thought my plane would be twisted
and I envisioned myself flying corkscrew patterns when everyone else was
cruising along at straight and level.  To make a long story short, it
didn't make much difference in the end.  The important thing is to get your
bulkheads and center spar plumb and level.  Once the top half is joined you
won't be able to detect any twisting or warping in the plane.  I would also
take Dave Black's good advice and get a nice digital level.  I did and it
was the best "tool money" I spent on the project.

Dave also mentioned something about getting the canard bulkhead positioned
properly.  The bolt hole in the flange at the nose was not centered on my
kit.  I didn't know this at the time so all the hours of measuring and
quadruple checking my canard bulkhead position was a waste of time.  When
it came down to installing the canard it didn't fit!  The pilot side of the
bulkhead needed a 3/16' shim at the canard attach tabs.  I know this has
been a problem in some other kits so be sure to double check yours.