Despite the fact that I'd rather replace the whole sheet, I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to install a smaller replacement piece that extends downwards from the top to fill the hole. This bothers me, but less so than the prospect of major further schedule slippage. So today I removed the remnants of the aluminum that is still riveted in place above the tear. This involved drilling out all the rivets on the left half of the above image, then a few more further to the left to give me enough wiggle room to slip the snips into place to cut. It was a far more time consuming activity than I'd expected, and removing it required well over an hour. The sun had set by the time I was done. About the only other things I accomplished were to figure out what I shall do about the wire runs for the brake line, and
Tomorrow shall involve fabricating the pieces I need to fix the hole as well as for the rest of the middle section belly skin fixes, and hopefully cutting and fitting the insulation. Due to the weather as forecast, the exterior work such as riveting the new pieces into place in the photo above will likely have to wait until the drier whether expected this weekend.