Door Alignment

As mentioned in my prior log entry, the alignment holes in the doors don’t align well with the fuselage (but they do align somewhat for the inner shell on the pilot door and for the outer shell on the copilot door).

I instead chose to use the spacing with the door frame as my primary alignment mechanism. For the forward/aft position this spacing is about half an inch. The spacing from the door frame sill to the bottom of the door ended up being slightly under half an inch. This generally matched with the door alignment holes.

I am installing the PlaneAround 180 Third Latch system so I fitted this to validate the vertical positioning of the doors. The vertical position of the cam against the strike will be important for the final fit after the doors are trimmed to fit inside the frame.

I am planning on installing these prior to bonding the doors so I didn’t cut a slot in the bottom per the instructions.

The spacing at the bottom of the doors looks like it will work well with the latch. I have just under 1/4″ of vertical clearance from the cam flange to the top of the strike. The door will drop about 1/8″ when the door flange is removed (the flange sits on the top of the cabin for the bonding process). I will also be adding a thin carbon fiber cap to the sill to finish off that area (it will sit below the strike).

I 3d printed some L spacers that set the vertical and horizontal positions of the doors for now and I’ll print some new ones when they drop for final fitment.

I then match-drilled the screw holes for the latch and countersunk them.

I noticed that the doors aren’t dimensionally symmetrical where the handles mount (the distance to the sill differs). One more thing to keep in mind for alignment with the door seals…

I then fitted the doors and duplicated the lower holes with those on the fuselage. I then pulled the doors over the cabin top with clamps while using clamps on the A/B pillars to keep them tight to the cabin top. The filled void on the B pillar fit nicely and I was glad that I did this prior to fitting the doors.

The lower window opening alignment holes aligned on both doors (although the upper holes didn’t). The inner and outer flange depth was consistent around the window openings with these alignment holes. I matched drilled the holes around the windows first, starting at the bottom and working upwards.

As some others have done, I chose to drill 3/32″ holes through the door flange into the cabin top as this will allow me to secure that area well during the bonding of the shells. I didn’t drill any holes in the A/B pillars as I can clamp those areas and I don’t want to risk any structural integrity. The holes on the top are well back from the perpendicular portions of the door frame opening so I felt comfortable adding a few surface holes that I can fill later.

The hardware for the handle is still on backorder so there isn’t much more I can do on the doors for now (I called Van’s and they didn’t expect they would get the hardware until July).