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Right Wing Leading Edge

October 18, 2011

The next task is to assemble the parts for the leading edge of the wing.  The parts consist of the wing skin and 7 ribs.  As with any ribs you have to flute them to get them as straight as you can.  The only reason you do this is to make it easier to assemble.  As I’ve posted before, fluting is as much art as it is science.  Especially on these wing ribs.  Before my next fluting project I’ll post something that goes into fluting a bit more.

I first created a stand that I can use to fit the ribs.  The plans from Vans comes with basic plans, but you really have to use your imagination on this one.  Here is a bad shot of it, but you can get the picture of what its doing.

Using the stand I built, Gayle is help me by putting clecos in with my new cleco gun.

You can put the skin into the stand, then the ribs go in a lot easier.  Unless they are my ribs that I’ve fluted.

After getting 3 ribs in places it became very obvious that my fluting wasn’t up to par.  I had Gayle remove all the clecos and I re-did all the fluting.  Once I got them as level as I could we went back to the stand for some more fitting.  This time the ribs went in a lot easier.  Once all the ribs were in place it was time to fit the leading edge to the wing.

Man that thing is tall

It fit perfectly.  All the holes lined up and it couldn’t have been any better.  From here it’s just a matter of match drilling all the holes.  There is one more fabrication task on the leading edge.  You have to fit the W-423 Joint Plate to the inboard side of the leading edge.  The joint plate is a thin strip of aluminum that is about 2 feet long and 1 inch wide.  you have to bend it to the shape of the leading edge to get it to fit properly.  I had taken several pictures, but the didn’t come out very well.  Heres a shot of the finished fitting.

The W423 joint plate (the thing without blue plastic)

That overlap will be attached to the fuel tank when the time comes to fit that.

I had Michelle and Gayle help out with the final drilling of the leading edge.  It really goes much faster when you have help.  You have to remove a cleco, drill the hole and then replace the cleco…about 75 times.  We took turns doing it and I’ll bet it didn’t take more than 30 minutes to do the whole piece.

Gayle helping me by setting some clecos

The leading edge is assembled and drilled.

The next task is fuel tanks.  Woo hoo!

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From → Build Log, Wings

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