I'm *really* big on providing good maintenance access
You might think your workmanship is perfect, but in the life of
your airplane, you're probably, at some point, going to have to
access some rather difficult areas.
I've already written a piece about adding a large belly access panel
, between the
lower strings, running from the firewall to the Station 5
But it's good for more than reaching the
bottom of the cockpit from underneath the airplane. It
also gives you much easier access, even from above.
This picture shows how.
This picture was taken while I was installing the switch and
wiring for ADS-B. I've got the seat out an a sheet of
plywood lying across the seat mounts, with my feet dangling out
the bottom. Yep. Yabba-Dabba-Doo.
With my feet dangling out the bottom, it's a lot easier to lean
forward and work in the tunnel area in front of Station 3.
Rather than having to work for a considerable time in a
jackknifed position, I've got my feet sticking out the bottom of
the airplane. There's no strain at all, when you do this...I can
work happily for quite a while.
Note the green bench my feet are sitting on. This is actually
how I get OUT of the airplane...I just stand up on this hassock,
then (with the aft turtledeck removed as well), all I have
to do is lift myself high enough to sit on the baggage
shelf then step out of the airplane. MUCH easier than the
normal climb into and out of the airplane, and as I say, it's
much easier to work in the forward fuselage.
This picture is a good lesson for all Fly Baby builders:
MAINTENANCE ACCESS. It's hard to believe when you're gluing wood
together, but you're probably going to have to go back and
fiddle with stuff later. It's MUCH easier if you build-in good
The man that took this picture owns a light twin. He gave all
the Fly Baby pieces scattered around the hangar an eye, then
asked how long it'd be until I was flying again.
"One hour after finishing the ADS-B install," I told him, and
his jaw dropped. He couldn't believe I could reassemble the
airplane that quick. Two hours later, when I was done with the
install...well, the actual time was 65 minutes. The single
slowest operation was cranking the landing wire turnbuckle
around to tighten it after loosening it to get the forward