8 Jan 05 - The F-712 Bulkhead and Tie-Down Ring

Time to think about finishing the F-712 bulkhead. This has been something that we've been meaning to do for awhile, but have been putting it off. I pulled the bulkhead out a few weeks ago when we drilled the pop rivets out, and preliminary playing with it indicated that it was going to be a serious pain in the tailcone to get it back in there. Well, enough procrastinating, let's get the tie-down ring on it and back in the plane.

In any case, let's (a) drill out the hole for the tiedown ring (use a unibit), get F-712 match drilled, countersunk/dimpled to the tiedown ring brace, and see if we can get everything lined up.

Match drilling, dimpling, countersinking, etc. of the bulkhead and tiedown ring brace.
Same thing, after riveting.
And in the fuselage. Four of the holes are going to be drilled out to a much larger size for bolts to hold the vertical stabilizer on, so those didn't need to be countersunk. However, it didn't hurt anything as they're going to eventually be lots bigger.
View of the tie-down ring once everything's in. It's a little far forward, so we'll have to keep messing around with the hole to get it to line up nicely.

A few observations: getting the F-712 back in there wasn't as big a deal as we thought it was going to be. Of course, I say this after we fought for 20 or 30 minutes to get it in there. If you just angle it in a certain way, it just pops right in. Impossible to describe, really, and the only way that I could show you is if I had shot a video. I didn't know it was going to work, so I didn't, and there's no way I'm pulling that sucker out again.

All that to say - don't worry, you can get it back in.

Also, I was a bit surprised to figure out that the F-712 can be dimpled without any trouble. (I was expecting to have to countersink it.) It's two pieces of fairly thick metal sandwiched together, but it still dimples nicely. Cool.

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