Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Starting the wings

Well, despite best intentions to update the blog a little more regularly I see a month has passed since my last update.  Was sidetracked by a number of things over the last month, but did manage to hit some significant milestones and have have made a nice start on the wings.

Big event of the last month was the arrival of the wing kit, which also came with the replacement elevator skin I needed.  The guys at The Airplane Factory made taking inventory of the wing kit a breeze - only a couple small questions came up that will be easily resolved.  One thing that was apparent from the start was that the pieces are getting bigger, and there is a lot more of them!

Following inventory, I deburred and primed the replacement elevator skin and finished up the elevator (other than the tips).   Moment of truth came when I mated the elevator to the horizontal stabilizer and was relieved to see that the hinges lined up perfectly and that the elevator swung freely.  Whew!

With that done, the empennage parts were set aside and I started on the ailerons and flaps. Process was pretty much the same as for the empennage components - test fit the parts and make any required adjustments to ensure proper final fit, followed by deburring and prepping for priming.  One new technique I got to try out on the flaps was fluting.   When I initially did a test fit of the flaps I was dismayed to see that a few of the ribs did not align well with the pre-drilled holes in the skin.  On closer inspection, it was clear that the reason for the poor fit was that a couple of the ribs in each flap had a pretty clear  bend in them.  After scratching my head about it for a bit, I remembered that I had purchased a set of fluting pliers specifically for situations like this.  A minute or so with the fluting pliers on each rib fixed the problem - ended up being quite a painless issue. A little more prep work and the flaps will be ready for priming as well.

Both elevator skins riveted
Rudder mated to the vertical stabilizer in the background, and elevator mated
the horizontal stabilizer in the foreground

The rivet pail is getting low - guess that means the empennage is nearing completion!
Wing spars (in the wood box) and all other components of the wing skeleton
All the wing skins and the wing tips
Checking the fit of the aileron components
Aileron components deburred, cleaned and ready for priming
Checking the fit of the flap components
One of the flap ribs that needed fluting - a few other ribs
 had a bigger bow to them than this one.
Trial fit of both flaps

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