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154. Tank fitting

22/03/2015

Big day today.

The petrol tank, which is the most complex fabrication on the aircraft, was offered up to the fuselage for the first time.

Ian Harris and Rick have been sweating blood over this for the past month, and so it was a very nervous moment for us. Thankfully, it all went pretty well according to plan, though until you’ve tried it you don’t realise how many things there are for it to bump into.

Designer Frank Barnwell was obviously aware that he needed to fit as much petrol on board as possible, and made the tank as BIG as he possibly could. The result is that it’s a very close fit at the front, bottom and back, and we had to spend ages making sure it wasn’t going to contact anything.

Tank being offered up. If Rick looks worried, it's hardly surprising!

Tank being offered up. If Rick looks worried, it’s hardly surprising!

But after a bit of jiggery pokery we convinced ourselves that actually it’s a d*** good fit, and when it’s finally in place it will look perfect.

Here it is in place. The tank needs trimming back a tiny bit at the front - this was expected - and the ply cover that will fit behind the tank needsd a bit of trimming, but basically it's amazingly good - particularly when you think what a b*****d it is to manufacture.

Here it is in place. The tank needs trimming back a tiny bit at the front – this was expected – and the ply cover that will fit behind the tank needsd a bit of trimming, but basically it’s amazingly good – particularly when you think what a b*****d it is to manufacture.

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