Doors part 3 and Aerosport Handles

Once both doors were hung on their hinges and operational, I looked at the Airward Door main door hinge kit that I had bought. This is supposed to beef up the hinges by providing plates on both sides of the door, and I’m sure it does, but they do sit proud of the surface by at least 3mm. I just wasn’t happy with that prospect. It just looks really out of place not being anywhere close to flush with the rest of the cabin top.. After doing some more reading and research, I’m convinced that the stock way of doing the hinges is just fine. I may use the inner plates of that kit to provide support and nutplates for the hinge screws; or just use some nutplates on the door side of the hinges themselves. To be determined later. So with that, I countersunk the outer door surfaces for the screw heads and also have bought some countersunk washers that I’ve seen suggested.

Hinge Countersinks

I then got working on the Aerosport exterior low-profile handle assembly. The next several pictures show how the exterior handle will look. It was pretty straightforward following the instructions from Aerosport on trimming the door for the lock and inner ring of the handle.

I then got back to re-assembling the door latch mechanism and safety wiring the pins to hold the racks to the forward and aft pushrods. The Planearound 3rd latch gearbox was reinstalled and the lock mechanism re-installed. One thing I had to take care of was some Parabeam material and epoxy had oozed out and block a portion of the void where the racks slide. I spent about an hour one night getting that relatively small chunk of glass out of the innards of the door so the latch mechanism would work freely. I had seen, after the fact, that some other builders had put some scrap aluminum just below the elbow cavity to prevent this and would certainly be something that I would suggest doing if I were doing it again. I got lucky in that it only happened in 1 of the doors and was relatively minor from what it could have been.

Forward Left pin safety wired to middle rack

Once the door latch mechanism was back in and installed it was time to drill holes into the door frames to accept the pins and keep the door closed. I went against the plans of using a bolt ground down to a point to mark the spot where the pin comes out and instead used a method I saw on Dr. Mark’s build and using some math. I first marked the top and bottom of the door skin where the pin comes out. Then transferred that to the fuselage and used a square to further transfer those marks to the inside door edge.

Marking the pin exit points; top and bottom

Then I measured the distance from the outside of the door to the inside of the pin and transferred that measurement to the inside of the door frame.

Measuring the door to pin
Transferring it to the door frame.

I then measured the thickness of the pin, which was 14/32″ and divided by 2 to mark the center points of the where the pin would be as shown below.

Then I under sized the drill working my way up from a #30 all the way to a 10mm, which is what I had and was smaller than the called out 7/16″ in the plans. I then used a dremel tools with a grinding wheel and a small file to work slowly to get the pin to go through the hole with no extra slop. This step required a lot of patience and repeated grind a little away and recheck, but in the end it paid off and the holes for the pins are nearly perfect and keep the door flush to the fuselage surface.

Final hole for the pin to go through

Next up was to get the Planearound guide blocks into place. The best way I found to drill the 2 holes needed to hold these in place was to close and latch the door and place the block on the inside of the door with the pin going through the center hole as shown below. In most cases, without trimming, these hit up against the outer skin and prevented them from rotating or moving while drilling the holes. I then trimmed those guide blocks as needed when putting the on the other side of the door frame.

While I had previously sanded for a very close to 1/4″ gap around the doors for the McMaster seal, as you can imagine, this fit of the door closing with the pins engaged required a little more sanding in some spots. I also bought the 3/16″ grip McMcaster seal so I sanded the inside of the cabin top to get that as consistent as I could. For the most part, I don’t see much of a need to build up the door gutter for the seal as many others have done, as I had to sand down most of it to get to a decent 3/16″ edge thickness, but we shall see. I just may do it anyways to get a perfect fit. There are a couple of spots which are thinner and squeezing the attachment point seems to hold it on fine.

A quick video of the right door progress.

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