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Wing Work; Fuel Tank Done, Leading Edge Mostly Done

August 27, 2012

Busy weekend here in the Arkansas.  I got quite a bit done on the wing, and I can officially say that I see the light at the end of the tunnel for the wings.

First off is the fuel tank.  I scraped the dregs of my proseal cans and came up with 50g of sealant that I was sure wasn’t going to be enough for the final push.  But as it turned out, it was more than enough.  You really do use 1 can of the stuff per tank.  So all the rivets are sealed and everything that I could find that looked like it needed fixing got fixed.  The only thing that is left is the pressure test.  I’ll let the tank cure for one more day before I do that.

The leading edge was also needing to be riveted.  Michelle and I got out into the garage early yesterday and got that finished before it got too hot.  Once that was done I started fitting the tank and leading edge to the main wing spar.  This is where I had problems.

The tank and leading edge mate with a series of screws that screw through the tank skin into some nutplates that are attached to a strip of metal that is riveted to the leading edge.  The problem is that the screw holes in the top side of the wing do not line up well with the tank.  It’s not even real close, so I cant just force it a bit and make it fit.  What is unusual is that the tank and leading edge mate together nearly perfectly.  So I’m sitting here wondering what went wrong.  Over night I think my brain got to work on it and I think I know what happened.

The nutplates that the screws screw into are attached to  a strip of metal that you have to bend around the curvature of the rib.  I think what happened is I had to replace that rib because of some bad drilling I had done.  When the new rib came I refit the strip of metal around the rib and then got everything drilled.  This was a mistake.  I should have fabricated a new strip of metal and resized everything again. As it is, I think I’m pretty lucky that the screw holes actually matched up on the bottom of the wing.  So…let me place that part order for a new rib, and I’ll fabricate a new nutplate strip and start again.  In the grand scheme of things its not a big deal.

Stuff I have left to do on the wing;

  • Hole for landing light on left wing
  • Electrical conduit, both wings
  • Top skins on left wing
  • Bottom skins on both
  • Install aileron and flap on left wing
  • Build and fit the stall warning on the left wing  (I had to order two off sized drill bits….errrr that ticked me off)
  • Purchase and install auto pilot servo bracket on right wing
  • Pitot plumbing on left wing

Well, that looks like a pretty impressive list of things, but really, its not a lot.  The skins are just time consuming, not really all that hard.  The flap is going to be the most challanging.  It uses a piano hinge for the entire length and it is one of those measure twice cut once operations, except it is measure 47 times cut once, reorder parts, measure 147 times cut once and get it right.

Actually, I’m not sure how many AN426AD3-3.5 rivets I have left for the skins….note to self….figure this out before you order stuff from Vans.

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