Wing Tip Lens

Time: 4 Hours

Now that I had the landing/taxi, NAV and strobe lights installed I broke out the lens that cover this area. Vans sends these as on piece that needs to separated for the left and right side. The material feels flexible and not like plastic so I did some tests using snips to cut based on other builders experience. They worked perfect and I separated the two halfs easily. They are way to big and need to be cut down to fit your opening. I started with the right wingtip and positioned the lens over the opening until I had a good shape and the curve matched the wingtip. I taped in place and use masking tape to mark the edge of the cutout. 

Are use the snips to cut along this line for the bottom cut.  With that edge nested after being cut I then worked on the other edge. 

After I had both edges cut are used sandpaper to fine-tune and get the lens to nest all the way around the opening. Once I was happy with that I drilled two holes to hold them in place as I continue to work the shape.

I cleaned up the edges so they sat within the lip all the way around. I was pretty happy with most of the fit except a few areas that had a very slight gap under the lens where it didn’t sit flat on the wingtip. What I decided would be the easiest fix for this was to sand all the fiberglass on the lip, wax the inside of the lens, apply a thin layer of epoxy/fairing filler to the tip and put the lens back in place. I applied tape to the edge to edge and buttered the lip with the epoxy and put the lens in place. 

This should match the inside edge of the lens to the fiberglass and make a solid fit.  I let them cure overnight and started the process of removing the lenses. I used a pop sickle stick to slide under the lens and work my around the lens. The left side released without any issues and looked great however when I worked the right side it was a different story. When I got to the lower side I heard a pop and noticed that the lens cracked at the drilled hole followed by another right next to it, that lens was finished. So rather than fretting this I just jumped on the laptop and ordered another set of lenses from Vans. I then sanded all the edges of the wingtip to remove the epoxy I just put on so I can start over with the new ones. I’m thinking this time I’ll live with the little amount of play I have rather than risk cracking another lens. I takes Vans about a week to ship things to my house so I decided to do some serious shop space cleaning and removed a lot of stock/supplies that I just no longer need. It’s amazing how much dust is created with composite materials! It took 8 days for the lens to come so I’ll be back at it soon. I also ordered a axle nut wrench that Vans cuts and you rivet together. I will keep this in my aircraft tool bag so I can change a tire on the road. 

It’s Easter break with my kids this week and taking a much needed break the following week to join my girl in Kona, HI after her weeklong program is over at the end of this week. It’s been kinda nice having only a few little tasks left to do on the RV which forces me to enjoy other things around me! I’ll be back to being supper busy building after I order and receive my engine from AeroSport power. The goal is to order it around the end of June and attend their build school sometime September/October timeframe. 

Wheel Pants Finishing

Time: 4 Hours

Now that I had the intersection fairing pretty close to perfect I removed them for a light sanding and priming. 

I then removed the wheel pants from the gear and put them back together off the plane. This allowed me to sand all the edges where the two halves meet as they sit on the workbench. I worked the seam with a small file to get a small gap between the two parts that will allow for the paint. After cleaning up the mess I made with all the sanding I put on two coats of smooth prime with sanding in between to fill pin holes. 

Smooth prime works pretty good and is easy to clean up since it’s water based. I cleaned up the pants after the final sanding and applied several coats of filler primer to help reveal any remaining pin holes. 
In between the right and left wheel pants I shot several coats of primer on the canopy skirt after all the work to cover up the rivets. When I was happy with the finish I removed the tape and paper and cleaned off the canopy itself. While I was at it I removed a bunch of the blue protective film from the aft part of the fuselage. 

To help keep any new dust off the RV I put the custom cover on as well as a couple bed sheets I bought from target to cover the tail. 

The right side wheel pant was much worse than the left side with respect to pin holes and surface condition. There are a lot more pits and voids that need to be filled. I did two coats of smooth prime and that took care of most of the pin holes but there are still several deeper pits so I sprayed them with filler primer to better help see those and I filled them with Super Fill. 
After that cures I sanded them and reprimed to call the outsides good, I’ll let the painter fine tune so they come out perfect after paint. I still need to fine tune the wheel opening to have a nice even gap at the front and back of the tire. I also will put several coats of just epoxy to help smooth out the inside surface so dirt doesn’t stick as well. 

I will call these done for now and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.