7.10.1 – 3 Start building the flaps

Still on a high from finishing the main wing structure and ailerons last week I couldn’t wait to get started on the last major assembly of the wing kit, the flaps. First I found the spars, deburred the edges and the lightening holes. Then I found the 12 ribs and deburred those two. Then cleco’d the whole assembly together.

Next the instructions say to match drill the ribs to the spar but there is too much movement there to get an accurate drill. I decided to cleco both bottom and top skins in place so they would hold the ribs firmly in place while I drilled. All this effort is to try and reduce/prevent twist in the flaps. The problem is the top skin curls over and blocks the top holes in the ribs. I got over this little problem by using my angle drill with the smallest possible bit.

Once that was done I removed the top skin and called it a night.

7.8.24-25 Right wing outboard skin riveted

Another session in the workshop today and I managed to get the bottom outboard skin riveted on. Again nothing complicated here as I think I got the technique nailed. It took a few hours but I got it done. After that I fitted the 8 nutplates to the outboard access hole as well.

And with that the main wing structure is finished! Woohoo!!!  It feels fantastic to have reached this epic milestone. I also updated my little drawing to show the ailerons and wing structure complete and the flaps are next on the to do list.

It’s starting to look like a plane!

7.9.9 + 10 Finish riveting right aileron

This morning I finished off the right aileron. It didn’t take long but I was just too tired to do it yesterday. Nothing too complicated, I clamped it and riveted it the same as the left. Then I put it on the right wing.

7.9.9 & 10 Continue riveting left & right ailerons

After a thoroughly crappy day at work it felt great to be in my quiet place! It’s great to have somewhere to go to vent out a bad day. I carried on assembling the ailerons and the instructions say to rivet the aft skin on to the nose skin. It was obvious this was going to be tricky to hold and rivet with a gun and bucking bar at the same time. I found on others build logs a great idea. I cut two 6″ lengths of 2×4 and screwed them to my workbench. Next I screwed the aileron to these blocks.

This made it much easier to rivet the top of the skins to the spar. About half way through the first aileron my dad appeared at the door and helped me for the rest of the afternoon.

Together we carried on working through the instructions which say to find a flat surface and weight the aileron down. I had a quick sort out and found a straight/level work surface and clamped the aileron down. Then started blind riveting using my cordless drill rivet puller tool. We started in the middle and worked outwards alternating left and right side of centre. The logic here is not to build any twist into the aileron.

Once the left aileron was done we couldn’t resist mounting it on the wing with a couple of bolts. It’s not rigged properly but it does look great.

That’s all for today, I was getting tired so I will finish off the right aileron another day.

7.9.3, 8 & 9 – Begin riveting left & right ailerons

Pancake day today so those had to get made before any plane building occurred.

After that I spent some more time in the workshop. I decided to start assembling the ailerons. As per the instructions, I started with the leading edge ribs to counterbalance weight. Next I riveted on the spar doubler plates and nutplates. Then I rivetied the nose ribs to the spar.

That’s enough for tonight as it’s getting late.

7.8.22-25 Torque tank attach bolts, JC5A inboard right wing joints & prime counterbalance again

I’m getting everything on the right wing ready to rivet on the bottom skins. First I torqued all the tank attach bolts to 25″/lb. Once torqued I marked it up with witness mark so I know if they move.

Next I applied JC5A jointing compound to all mating surfaces.

Then I mounted the inboard skin with a couple of clecos ready for me to rivet on another day. After that I applied some more primer to the inside of the aileron counterbalance weight. That’s it for today.

7.8.22-25 Rivet pitot mast & access plate nutes & prime aileron counterbalance and overlap

I spent the morning at Flight of the Navigators place helping him drill his horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage and rivet the ILS doubler plate, but mostly it was spent chatting RV! After lunch I did a bit of everything. First I mixed up some fuel tank sealant to fill the gap in the skin where the cut out for the pitot mast wasn’t quite perfect. Then I fitted and riveted the pitot mast in place. After that I riveted the nutplates to the outboard skin access plate. I gave the wing a good clean with thinner too as it was covered in paint dust and markings.

After that I noticed that I had not primed the overlap of the aft skin. I decided I wanted it primed as it would be in contact with other parts of the aileron. So I masked off both left and right aileron skins and then sprayed them with Acid 8 etch primer as a base coat.

The Acid 8 only takes about 20 minutes before it can be overcoated so I primed the inside of the aileron counterbalance weights with PR143 while I waited. Once dry I primed the overlaps with PR143 as well.

I’ll leave the skins and weights to dry to dry for a day or two before I start assembling.

7.8.22-25 Rivet bottoms skins onto wing structure

As I trundled up to the workshop today I did not have a clear plan. Should I start assembling the ailerons? I’m not sure 24 hours is enough time for the primer to fully cure in this cold weather, so maybe not. As I looked around the workshop I saw the wings staring at me. I decided that, following yesterdays successful inspection, to prepare the wings for riveting. I thought I would need a hand with this so I started laying everything out ready. I got the rivet gun ready and the correct rivets lined up in order. I then put JC5A jointing compound on all the mating surfaces and clecod the inboard skin on with a few clecos along the rear spar (top).

I then read the plans countless times and stared at the wings for what seemed like hours. What would be the best way to tackle this? In fact, would my arms even reach? I put my arm in the main structure with the inboard skin on and was surprised to see that I could reach all the way up to the top (rear spar). I grabbed the bucking bar and could also reach. Hmm! Could I still reach while holding the rivet gun? I tried and I could. So I put a rivet in and bucked it. Well that was easier than I thought. I did another one too as I was so excited!

So I carried on. I riveted in between the wing walk ribs and then about 4 rivets down the wing walk ribs. I then started riveting along the rear spar towards the next rib.

I persevered rivet by rivet and by lunch I had the entire inboard skin riveted on. Hoorah!


Buoyed by the mornings success I decided to have a go with the outboard skin too. This skin is a lot longer and more cumbersome. The first two columns of rivets overlap and were fairly easy to do as they were accessible from the access panel in the inboard skin. Then it got interesting. With the first two columns of rivets done, I had to roll the skin away from the structure and stand in between the skin and structure. I would rivet and then roll back a bit. It was too risky for me to hold the skin and buck and rivet all at the same time. I decided to use my workshop chair as a third arm and arranged it so the chair was supporting the skin and holding in place as well.

Again, slowly slowly I worked my way along the wing, one rivet at a time. This outboard skin was definitely much easier to do than the inboard skin, for sure. Hours later it was time for dinner. My back was on fire, my arms aching and my hands scratched to pieces.

And what was my reward for all this pain? Well, the left wing bottom skins are pretty much riveted. There is only the bottom row of rivets to do on the main spar.

Well what a day! I was not expecting that!

7.9.7 Epoxy prime aileron parts and inspector signs off wings, ailerons & rudder

I managed to get the parts epoxy primed today as planned and got them hanging up to dry within a couple hours from start to finish.

Later that same day my inspector popped by and checked the wings, aileron parts and rudder. He had a good look around everything and was happy enough to sign my inspection log. This thing is starting to get fuller which is immensley satisfying!

Now that’s signed off I can make a start on riveting the bottom skins onto the wing structure anytime.

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