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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Floor boards

Norwegian winter is here and the Cub had to move to the hangar at Kjeller airport (ENKJ). My wife was happy to park in the garage again now that the car windows are frozen each night. Anyway, I still have a lot of parts up here to work with.

Floor boards: A plate of 6.5 mm thick, 5 layers plywood from Oslo Finérfabrikk was purchased. Fine finish (much better than at the local builders warehouse), and the glue is suppose to be water-resistant...  The old floor boards were naturally used as templates for the new ones. But.. since I plan to actually use the baggage-compartment behind the rear seat, I decided to put floors there as well. It was on the original L-4's, obviously for the observer who sat facing rearwards and he must have had some floor to rest his feet. I have never seen an original drawing of how these L-4 rear floor boards were cut. I'm going to try something I've never seen before: one long piece reaching from under the front seat all the way back past the baggage compartment.

Boards are now ready for fitting. I need to bring them down to the airport and try them out and make adjustments. Then, when all fitted, I will give them 3 coats of olive drab paint used for wooden houses. Type "Drygolin Extreme" was the toughest paint they could recommend. The plywood is in fact so nice in itself, that it hurts me to paint it olive drab. I really like the brown wooden finish, but it would simply not be authentic for the L-4's. I guess US Army pushed Piper pretty good regarding price (approx. 2000 USD per aircraft!) and so the whole interior were simply sprayed olive drab. All of it! Boring yes, but authentic for it's time.

The MAV came with really nice floor protection metal sheets which I will reuse, authentic or not... At some point you've got so decide where to draw the line. I'm happy with an aircraft I can say is "very close to the original". Wingtanks, 90 HP engine... there's so many things anyway that breaks with the original specs. Some L-4 enthisuasts will disagree with me (sorry...) but thats life.

I'm happy with the result of the floor boards so far. More pictures after fitting and painting. Next up: wooden stringers (side and bottom).

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