Baggage Door Installation

March 3, 2011

One builder option that is available, is a small door for access to the baggage compartment.  Without this door, access to the baggage compartment involves crawling into the back seat on your knees and reaching over the back of the seat.  The door adds a little weight and complexity to your build, but I think it is well worth it. The plans are shown on drawing 17a.

The door is located between stations "M/E" and "L/F" at the bottom of the fuselage side.  The factory fuselages come with provisions for it to be on the right (starboard) side of the aircraft.

To save some time, I purchased the baggage door from Avipro already welded and painted. I did make the door opening formers from scratch though.

I started by stringing a yellow string to give me reference line where the bottom stringer of the fuselage side will be located. Next, the baggage door was positioned in a place where it was in alignment with stringer line. The bends in the door must align with the stringer line. With the baggage door properly positioned,  the hinge pieces were bolted to the door hinges and were welded to the fuselage.

Next the door opening formers were made to match up with the door.

Everything was build around the yellow string and to match the door.  Here is the forward baggage door opening former in place:

Note it is attached to the fuselage tube with .040 steel tabs with about 5" spacing. A short piece of stringer material will run from the main cabin door opening to this former.

And here is the aft former for the baggage door opening:

Note that the aft one stays about 1" wide and goes up to eventually meet the top stringer on the fuselage side.  The side cabin window will also meet at the top of this door opening. Also note that the bend on the door opening former matches the bottom stringer line.

The top baggage door opening former starts wide at the aft end to match the aft former and tapers to the fuselage width at the forward end as shown here:

The last baggage door opening former is the bottom one shown here:

If you didn't get one from the factory, the door can now be made to fit the opening formers, with a 1/8" gap all around.  You can see the techniques involved to make your baggage door, by clicking here to see the main door page.

Here is my baggage door, which I got from the factory:

I still need to make the provision at the aft end to accept the door latch.

As you can see the stringer line falls exactly along the bend lines of the door and the door fits the opening well.  The door should pretty much disappear when closed.

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