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Aluminum side panels and side panel attachment

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Feb 9, 2015
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San Mateo, CA
I'm planning to build and install new aluminum side panels on N25PS. The plans call out a single piece aluminum side panel beneath the cabanes to the lower longeron (first picture below). My airplane (and many others I've seen) have a two piece arrangement, cut to follow the upper longeron, with attachment screws along the upper longeron (second picture below).

I think the plans single piece version looks cleaner and would be less drag. What's the rationale for the two piece set up? Easer to make/install? Easier to access the brake pedals/lower fuel tank? If you made this choice as a builder in the past, what drove the choice?

Here is the area I'm talking about....first picture per plans with no attachment on the upper longeron, second picture like my airplane with screws along the upper longeron.

Single piece.jpgTwo piece.jpg

Here's the plans for that area. I'm surprised they called out plain sheet metal screws for everything aft of the firewall. Mine had AN526-8 machine screws/anchor nuts. I'm planning on going back to the plans #6 screw size, but lower drag with dimpled panel holes and AN509-6 machine screws into K1100-6 anchor nuts. Those K1100-6 buggers are expensive though...can't find them online cheaper than Vans at $1.90 each! Anybody know of a cheaper source?
Pitts Side panels plans.jpg
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