Or should it be ‘on’? I don’t care. All I know is that the Savannah’s screen is now in place, fitted exactly how it should be, and I’m mightily relieved about that.
And despite all my misgivings about having to single-handedly hold the screen under tension in-situ and line up all the holes for the pop rivets that are needed to secure it, everything went remarkably smoothly for a change. But the first job was to remove all of the old adhesive left on the panel top after I’d removed the old covering. I used white spirit and scraped it off with a wide-bladed wood chisel and it came up much better than the last time, actually.
Then it was time to move on to the really tricky bit, namely pop-riveting the new screen in place. It’s tricky because you have to use all of the old holes in the screen frame tube and as if it’s not bad enough just getting the holes in the screen to align with them, you also have to align the holes in the capping strips as well, while working ‘blind’.
Whoever mounted the last screen had tacked it into position first with four pop rivets, two on each side, one low and one high. However, they’d obviously done it before the wings were fitted because although it was an easy matter to insert pop rivets into the lower holes, it was impossible to do the same with the upper ones as they are behind the edges of the wings.
And if the screen isn’t held firmly enough in position, it moves before you know it making it very difficult to get all the holes aligned that you need to. So I devised a method of my own that did away with the need for the upper pop rivet tack on both sides, and this was to firstly ensure that all the holes were clear enough for rivets to slip into them smoothly when aligned, then to semi-pop one into the very top of the screen frame through both the capping strip and the screen (inside the wing root space actually) so the capping strip could still rotate but the screen was held firm, and then to tightly pop in the lower tack.
This ensured that the screen was held firm and aligned with all of the rivet holes in the screen frame and the capping strip was aligned through one hole, making it easy then to rotate it so all of the holes could be lined up and riveted. I did the passenger side first because there are cables running down the screen frame on that side that need to be covered by the inner capping strip and it was easier to deal with those without also having to hold the screen under tension.
Then I moved on to the other side using the same method. It was a bit more difficult because of the need to place and hold the screen under tension as well as align all the holes, but it worked and after a bit of heaving and struggling, the panel was at last secured in position. Here are some shots taken at that point with the inner capping strips not yet in place.
The screen doesn’t fit perfectly because there’s nothing attaching its lower edge to the top of the panel – the fit relies on the tension exerted by the mounting pop rivets pulling it rearwards and downwards. This can, and does, leave a bit of a gap between the screen and the airframe, although nothing like as large as is shown in the above pic that was taken before the final mounting rivets were in place. Even so, I now understand why there was a bead of silicone sealant along the outside of the bottom edge of the screen, to fill and seal the gap that ultimately remains.
It was then just a matter of slipping the inner capping strips into place and riveting them to the inside of the door frame. This involved aligning them with holes in the rears of the main capping strips that were fitted when the screen was secured. However, this was more time-consuming than difficult because of the need to do do a nice, neat job on parts which are highly visible inside the cabin. Here are the shots of the finished job.
Compared to the last time the screen was fitted, I’ve taken much more care with the rivet fixings that secure the screen to the two vertical tubes by placing fairly thick rubber washers between the plastic and the metal. These have a dual role because there is quite a gap between the plastic and the tubes and without the washers, the screen is domed inwards by an excessive amount. These washers almost totally prevent that happening, as the next shot shows.
So at last the Savannah has its screen back making it look more like a proper aircraft again. The work isn’t finished, though, because the cabin top panel, that has been in my lounge for weeks and weeks, still has to go on.
Before fitting the top panel, I’ll have to sort out the wiring for the strobes. I intend to fit a working set but doubt that I’ll do it until the new year. However, that needn’t stop me connecting up the switch and running the necessary cables through the wings, which I’ll hopefully be able to do tomorrow before at last finishing the work off and giving 77ASY a good clean inside and out. It needs it, very badly 😉