7.12.3 Attach left flap & adjust hinges

My inspector came and checked the wings over and was happy to sign it off as complete. All that remains is for me to fit the left flap by riveting on the hinge, inserting the pins and locking them down.

Next job was to adjust the aileron hinges slightly to remove any binding.

And with that the wings are officially finished. Yay!

After the obligatory celebration photo I covered the wings with old bedding and then relocated them to their new home.

I hope they won’t be there too long! 🙂

7.7.13 & 12.13 Fit right flap & left & right push rods & pitot

The plan today is to finish all the odds and ends before the inspector comes next week.

The first task is to finally mount the right flap by riveting the primed piano hinge to the main wing structure.

Next I fitted the hinge pins and screwed them to the locking mechanism.

Next I inserted the main push rods (the ones that will connect to the control stick) and attached them to the bellcranks and right autopilot servo.

I also fitted the Garmin AoA/Pitot tube and connected the wiring and plumbing. That means the wing is now ready for inspection.

7.11.3 – 12.1 Rig left aileron and mount left flap

The list of jobs left on the wings is dwindling fast. One of the very last major jobs is mounting the ailerons and flaps. To keep the ailerons safe I put two bolts in the hinges and left it like that until today. Today I wanted to put all the washers, nuts, bolts and spacers necessary to finalise the fitting of the ailerons.

I started by attempting to fit the push rod bolt and washers etc while it was attached to the wing but I soon realised that was going to be impossible. The nut is inaccessible while the aileron is on the wing. Hmm, plan B required. I removed everything and then removed the aileron from the wing. I fitted all the push rod parts to the aileron as per the plans.

This is what it looks like fitted…

As it was inaccessible while mounted I also torqued this nut and bolt to 25″/lbs as per standards. Next I remounted the aileron to the wing again with just a bolt in each hinge point. I then worked on each hinge point one at a time fitting all the spacers and hardware as per the drawings.

Once all the hinge hardware was fitted I then aligned the aileron using some clecos and an aluminium angle. Some builders log sees them making convoluted alignment jigs for this task. I simply used 3 gold clecos. 2 in each of the big rib tooling holes and one in the very aft of the aileron and clamped them all to the aluminium angle. So far as I could tell this is exactly what vans intended to get the alignment of the aileron dead centre.

Once that was done I grabbed the alignment template that Vans supply in the kit and used it to align the other end of the push rod. I adjusted the push rod end bearing until the eye of the bearing fitted smoothly through the bolt while the bolt was in the template and bellcrank. Once there I then adjusted the push rod until it was dead centre of both rod end bearings. I checked the witness holes at both ends to confirm that I could see the thread of the rod at both ends. All good.

With the Aileron rigged I moved on to mounting the left flap. To make sure I didn’t go over the minimum edge distances I marked a line 3/16″ all the way along the wing side of the hinge. Mounting the flap was a bit tricky because alignment had to be in three dimensions while the flap brace was putting pressure one the assembly. The three dimensions where 1/4″ gap between flap and aileron, level with the aft edge of the aileron and, finally, forward/backward about its hinge.

In the end I found an easy way to solve all three dimensions.

  1. I grabbed a 1/4″ drill bit and placed it between the aileron and flap to maintian the 1/4″ gap required.
  2. I found a block of wood and some metal shims on placed them at the most inboard end of the flap too maintain the correct horizontal alignment. The aileron had 1.3 degrees out of level (because of the wing trolley) so I maintained the same 1.3 degrees on the flap.
  3. I used two pieces of aluminium angle and some shims to lock the forward/backward movement in the same position as the aileron.

With that all in place I took a break for a quick drink. When I came back to it I rechecked everything again to make sure I was happy with the alignments and then I drilled the first hole in the piano hinge. Once the first few holes had been drilled and clecod I was really committed to dimensions.

I used my calipers to make sure that every hole I drilled had the same gap between wing skin and flap…

Eventually I finished drilling and clecoing every hole.

After I took the picture above I notice that my red clamp is stuck between the aileron and flap, doh! Not to worry to much as the flap needs to come off so I can debur & prime the hinge, make the hinge pin locking mechanism and rivet the hinge on. All for another day, for now that’s the left side all done. I just need to repeat all this on the right wing too. 🙂

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!

7.8.22-25 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!

7.8.19 & 7.9.3 to 6 Rivet flap braces to wing and assemble ailerons

My Dad popped round again today to help me get the wings onto the bench. I need them on the bench to be able to rivet the flap braces on to the wing because doing it in the trolley or wing stand would be too difficult and risky. It didn’t take long to do. Once the first one was done we removed the other wing from the trolley and changed the two fixed castors to rotating castors to match the other two. We then swapped the wings and I riveted the right wing flap brace too. I also fixed a bad rivet my inspector and I discussed last week on the left aileron bracket. We then put both wings back in the trolley.

Next I deburred all the right aileron parts and then assembled everything ready for match drilling. It was now dinner time so I decided not to drill tonight. Instead I’ll leave it overnight and do it next time.

7.8.19 – 22 Prime flap brace & bottom skins

Not many photos today but, if you been following along, it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. I mix up a bunch of smelly paint, dress up like a mad scientist and spend a few hours spraying parts. Boring but necessary,

I also primed the access plates and pitot mast parts while I was at it.

That’s enough for this session.

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