Bottom Skins complete

Total time: 915.4 hours
Since last time: 11.3 hours
Total bottom skin: 61.5 hours

The right bottom skin is now in place. Special thanks once again to Scott. Only thing left is the tips and to store the wings.

Fuse kit is being shipped this week so the wings need to be out of the garage and the garage seriously reorganized before the fuse kit arrives.

More bottom skins

Total time: 904.1 hours
Since last on bottom skins: 20.8 hours
Bottom skins total: 50.2 hours

We’ve got the left bottom skin complete now. Wow. What a job! It’s very difficult to reach most of the rivets. And some things I did with the wiring did not make it any easier. But it’s done now. One tip for a builder researching the wiring phase is be careful what you mount near the lightening holes. You NEED these holes to reach many rivets when you’re closing up your wings.

There are a good 10 rivets I know are not ideal but I dared not even attempt to drill them out. In most of the cases the bucking bar was off and half the rivet was hit. In these cases I just hit it again to get as smooth a shop head as possible (all by feel mostly). In no case was there a rivet I felt was under-set. If I have to choose I choose a slightly over-set rivet. And there are a few places where the bottom skin was dented from the inside when a bucking bar slipped. Not happy about this happening. But it is what it is and I can live with it – at least it’s on the bottom of the wing.

So far the inboard skins are in place on both wings and the outboard skin is in place on the left wing. My kids worked with me all day today and yesterday (I took two days off from work) and we got a lot done. I could never have gotten so much accomplished without their help. Scott was with me non-stop for about 18 hours over two days. The others were in and out taking turns. Scott and I did the driving/bucking and the others managed clecos and rivet insertion and holding back skins and getting this or that for me whenever I asked. It was a lot of fun to work so much with them. And we’re all very excited that we still have one skin left to do (not).

Lower Wing Skin Prep/Pitot Tube

Total time: 723.5 hours
Since last time: 20.3 hours
Bottom wing skins: 29.4

Work continues on the bottom wing skins. However, much of the time has been spent on the Pitot tube bracket and cutout. I’ll be using the Dynon pitot tube / AOA combination which gets mounted to a mast made by Gretz. The mast gets mounted to the underside of the left wing. There’s a lot of discussion on where to put the pitot along the length of the wing. It seems pretty popular to position the pitot pretty far outboard. One of the main concerns are interference with the tie-down rope when the airplane is secured on the ground. Van’s plane puts a very simple pitot tube about in the center of the wing – in fact just inboard of the tie-down anchor. I decided to put my pitot tube in exactly the same position as Van’s calls for in the plans. I looked at some pictures of others who have done the same and I’ve heard of no issues with tie-down interference. My main concern is that I have decided to go with a pitot/AAO combination and because of this I am not installing the standard stall warning system. I want to have my AOA sensor more inboard. My understanding is that these wings stall from the root outward so it seems better to me to have the sensor closer to the root to give a faster warning of an impending stall. Maybe it makes no difference, but this was my reasoning. And since it’s exactly the position Van’s calls for, I figure it can’t be a bad position whatever my justification.

The rest of the time was spent preparing the wing skins. They were clecoed, drilled, unclecoed, deburred, dimpled, and primed. Lot’s of time, so little interest.

One more interesting issue is a hole for a #8 screw that had to be dimpled but I couldn’t fit in any tools to do the job. In fact, I was about to grind down my female dimple die for a #8 screw when I decided to check the to make sure my squeezer would fit. It would not. So what I did was cleco/clamp in the proper nutplate and used it in place of the female dimple die. Then I oiled up a screw good and sloppy and slowly screwed it in, using it as the male dimple die. When I could screw it in no more, I unscrewed it. Success. I was left with an adequately dimpled hole for a #8 screw. This had to be done on both wings and on both wings it worked well. It’s a new trick I will remember for future reference.


Flap & Aileron Gap Fairings

Total Time: 703.2 hours
Since Last Time: 9.1 hours
Bottom Wing Skins: 9.1 hours

The flap and aileron gap fairings are strips of aluminum attached between the top wing skin and the rear spar of each wing. They are explained in the plans in the section for the bottom wing skins and they are now complete and in place.

Of other interesting things, I’ve ordered a bunch of wiring, the Dynon heated Pitot/AOA and the autopilot roll servo (also from Dynon). Originally I was planning on buying this stuff closer to final assembly time, but decided it would be a whole lot easier to install these things before the bottom wing skins are in place. So they should be on their way.

(Tried to get baby to hold cleco pliers but they were too heavy for her so she just held the cleco for me. She should be old enough to help when we build our second RV.)