Builder Mods - Norman Hunger's RV-6/9 Luggage Compartment
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This ski rack installation is a second luggage compartment that is completely sealed off from the rest of the fuselage. Many builders have modified their aircraft to carry skis using a door in the rear bulkhead and a sling further back. Easy to do and adds next to no weight. I elected to go for the security of a sealed off area. At first I had a hard time justifying the weight penalty of my addition but soon I realised how many different items I can now carry with ease. Golf bags, snowboards, water skis, fishing rods, rifles, camping gear........ The weight penalty of the whole installation is about 3 lbs. I don't consider that very much. My aircraft can handle quite a bit of cargo weight back there with my plans to buy a constant speed prop. I didn't do the math for a wood prop and a light panel aircraft so I don't know if they can try this. It is a must to work out the weight and balance before thinking about a mod like this.
1- Here sits my fuselage in close harmony with my painted wings. The ski rack is a sealed luggage compartment that spans three bays from the rear luggage bulkhead rearward. In this photo the rear two bays are installed. The front section sits on top of the skeleton. Each section is made of .020 2024 sheet with three .025 stiffners on each side of each panel.
2- This is the front section with the passage into the middle section visible. This is the area that will limit the size of the golf bags. I figure two of those mid size bags will fit but only one big one. The front section is quite wide. The vertical pillar is beefed up with some .063 3/4 angle as is the front bottom edge of the new baggage compartment. They are tied together with a hunk of .125 1.5" angle with lightening holes. The top edge of the side wall has a 90 degree edge which ties it into the existing rib up there. The rear edge of the front compartment sits on a piece of .063 3/4" angle spanning the whole fuselage tying the bulkhead sides together.
3- Rear luggage compartment bulkhead. The large lower piece has had the bend cut off the bottom and a new flange bent on that lowers the whole thing one inch. This is to get a good flat spot at the top edge. The floor of the new compartment is the height of the longerons so the lower bulhead had to go down a bit. It will be fastened with #8 screws as will the top right. The left upper piece is the door and is currently fastened with Southco fastners from ACS.
4- Shows the first compartment with the door closed. There is a hardpoint in the middle that will allow small ratchet straps (one cut away shown in red) to hold cargo. It is made from heavy angle and sits on two doublers. Hard to see is the small nylon platform at the front that holds the seat belt cable two inches above the longerons. It travels inside the compartment to mount as per the palns. The front end is one inch above stock to line up with my shoulders better.
5- The backs of both upper panels. Made from .025 with .025 stiffners. Everything is countersunk for a flat outside look.
6- These are the back two sections installed without the front section. The whole interior of the compartment is painted white. The skins get their insides painted off the airplane before riveting. The stock seat belt cable mount can be seen in the middle compartment along the edge. The floor has a hole reamed in to allow the clevis to sit natural. the rear round hole will get a pre-painted cover put on from the rear. The top edges of both sections are joined to the rear skin with a new line of rivets.