The effort was to finalize every item in the fuse that would eventually get covered by fabric. One of those regrettable decisions was to accommodate an AM/FM Stereo CD player and all the necessary wiring, speakers, etc. This was the result of having too much time on my hands and not thinking like a pilot. Yes, it would have been nice to listen to my favorite music while relaxing on a lake in my float plane but now that can be done with an iPod, an iPhone, or many other modern devices. To this day I have yet to use it and it all goes along for a ride consuming space, adding to the weight of the airplane and reminding me how behind the times I was to ever consider such an item.
To secure all the interior sheet metal panels of the passenger compartment I used # 6 sheet metal screws that affixed to Tinnerman nuts attached to welded tabs on the fuse. Another item that was not in the plans is the simple idea of what to grab on to when you have to climb up to refuel the airplane. In a truck part catalog I found a unique 90 degree entry/egress handle. This would allow a good handle to grab on when you have to climb on the wheels to gain access to the wing tanks and the 90 degree turn in the handle would also provide a very useful way of climbing into the cockpit.
While I was getting closer to starting the fabric cover project for the fuse I was also reminded of the severe limitation of the width of the cockpit and it became time to take a detour and research the method for designing and fabricating a set plexiglas bubble doors to widen the cockpit.
The Wag Aero plans called for the battery to be located behind the rear passenger compartment sheet metal. A small hinged inspection panel above the battery would allow access to the battery when the turtledeck was raised. The same hinged panel could also be used to preflight the elevator bell crank, flap pulleys and a voltage gauge with switch would provide an indication of battery charge. That was the idea at the time. When the aircraft was completed and weight and balance calculations were made, the weight of the tail became a concern. It was decided that anything behind the passenger compartment that could be moved forward, would be moved forward. The ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) would move from under the turtledeck near the tail and now go to the underside of the pilots seat. A new and smaller 12Volt battery would mount on the engine compartment firewall and the switchable voltage guage would be omitted entirely.
Other pre-cover projects included the wood stringers on the bottom and sides of the fuselage for the fabric to form around and completion of the interior sheet metal forming the passenger compartment.
Efforts were concentrated on finishing anything that would eventually get buried behind fabric. In the vertical stabilizer area I had a couple of mis-guided ideas that would later be abandoned. The first was a “Helper Spring” I found described in a Cub Club newsletter and at the time it sounded like a worthy idea. The spring and cable were designed to attach to the top lug of the elevator bell crank and be adjusted so as to keep the elevator in a neutral position with no stick pressure. Without the helper spring the elevator would otherwise deflect downward with the stick forward in the cockpit as with most airplanes. The point of the helper spring was to reduce any tendency for the airplane to nose over while parked on a very windy day. The bottom line is that I found no good way to terminate the cable to an adjustable turnbuckle in an area that would later be accessible.
Another misguided effort was to install a VOR antenna in the upper vertical stabilizer. At the time it seemed logical – it was how we navigated back then. It was not a lot of work to install the antenna and associated wiring but by the time I was done with the aircraft the use of VOR navigation was quickly being replaced with GPS. The antenna and part of the wiring remains but for all intents and purposes it is useless to me.
The last and somewhat amusing story of the vertical stabilizer is the use a long push/pull control for adjusting the trim tab on the left elevator. The Wag Aero plans actually called for this mechanism which is basically the same as the Vernier control as used for the throttle. The problem is that this push/pull cable had to be nearly twenty feet long to reach the adjustment arm on the trim tab. I called a company known to make such a cable and explained how long it needed to be and proudly announced it was for my “Homebuilt Airplane”! The conversation suddenly shifted to, “WE CAN’T HELP YOU – Thank You Very Much!” I called the next week and said it was for a bus and it was sent out promptly! This was not the last time I had to be less than truthful of what I was using a part for.
Another remaining item I needed to finish was the rudder strobe wiring that went from the power supply under the turtle deck to the bottom of the rudder and up to the strobe.