Prepare Rear Turtle Deck for Covering

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Some tasks will be much easier if they are completed before covering the rear turtle deck. The first item is routing the left bridle under the center four stringers. This is necessary to ensure the left bridle is on top of the seat belts and so they can easily tear through the fabric when deployed.

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Clamped bridle to stringers holding them in place

Next I used a couple drops of CA to glue some 1/16″ plywood calls over the bridle. These need to easily break away, the fabric will hold them in place, the glue is to keep them from falling off during covering.

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Plywood caps over bridle

After the glue dried I sanded the caps to make smooth transitions. Next bolts were fastened to the BRS mount using some thread locker. The top of the bolts will be inaccessible later in installation so this makes it easy to tighten the mounting nuts later. The gap under the mount created by the nuts also keeps the BRS Velcro straps from being crushed.

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BRS mount

Since the rocket mount was relocated it was bolted in place using thread locker.

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Launch tube mount

The BRS pack was attached to the mount with the Velcro straps.

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BRS assembly

The pack can be installed through the front turtle deck opening, that will be important for future maintenance but it’s much easier to remove the break away stringers and install it through that opening. Washers were placed on top of and under the wood supports and fastened with lock nuts and thread locker.

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BRS installed

The upper bridle was bundled with some wire ties.

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Upper bridle

A hole was drilled into the bulkhead behind the chute and the upper bridle held in place with a wire tie.

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Upper bridle fastened to bulkhead

One end of the upper bridle was connected to the parachute link.

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Upper bridle connected to link

The link was closed using thread locker.

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Thread locker on link

The other end of the bridle is held in place with a wire tie.

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Link closed

The other link was fastened to the white strip on the other side of the pack using wire ties.

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Attached link to white strip

The end of the upper bridle was attached to the link.

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Upper bridle on second link

The right and left bridle will connect to the link as shown below but that step will be performed at a later date.

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I did not like how the seat belt shoulder straps flop around hanging on the BRS. I added a dowel to the two center stringers and used two wire ties to support the seat belts. This is just to hold them, not for any structural purpose.

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Shoulder harness support
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Shoulder harness

You might have noticed that the seat belts are not attached to the cables according to plans. To better understand why read the accident investigation report for G-CCAJ, you can find it here.

TLDR; attaching the shoulder straps together will help to prevent the harness from slipping off the shoulders during a crash.

In that crash the cables broke where they are mounted at the tail. To address that weakness I also modified how the cables were attached.

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These safety changes deserve their own article so expect more about this in the future.

The only remaining task before covering the rear turtle deck is to mount my comm antenna. It is nice to finally see this all come together.

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