Wings Back On

Time: 6 Hours

We have been busy getting all the things done in the new home to make it ours. Like ripping up old ceramic tile to make way for new hardwood. That was not a fun project but it’s all ripped up and ready for the installers. In-between that work I have been doing little projects in the hangar to get it organized. I also got my hands on the RV to start building again. One of the items I was unhappy with when I put the wings on the first time was the length of the wire bundles coming out of the wings. I found them to be a little short to work on with the tight space you end up with when the wings are on. So since I had the wings off again I decided to add 12″ to each of the bundles to give me plenty of length. I also figured that I would finish up the little bit of fiberglass tasks to the control surfaces, the rudder and elevators. I just needed to fill some pin holes and smooth the transitions out a little. A composite pro I am not and hope to get some help when it comes painting time to make these perfect. I used some filler primer to identify the holes and used Super-Fil to make the corrections. With the rudder pin holes taken care of and a coat of primer on I put the rudder on the vertical stabilizer and bolted it in place. I also put the AeroLED tail light in as well.I then spent two hours putting in the new close tolerance bolts in to secure the wings…again. The process was just the same as before, I froze the bolts and used LPS lubricant. The rivet gun at low pressure worked to drive them into position. The hardest part of the whole ordeal, as before, was to torque the bolts. I worked one bolt and then took a little break as leaning over the side wall of the fuselage even with padding was not very comfortable. So that’s a good start to being in my very own hangar that’s ten feet from my back door! I can not wait to be able to just walk out and go for a flight or a trip.

Wings On!

Time: 6 Hours

This morning I had breakfast with my buddy Glenn in preparation for helping me put my wings on. Now that the RV is at an airport I can put the wings on permanently so that I can continue to work on stuff while I wait to save up for my propellor. Since we have had my wings on and off two times before the process was pretty easy for us. We used the temporary bolts initially to hold the wings in place while I prepped for the final close tolerance NAS bolts. I had put all the bolts in the hangar freezer in hopes that they would shrink ever so slightly. I also picked up a can of LPS-2 lubricant that Vans recommends. Then I laid out several different tools, hammers and my rivet gun with the flush set in place. I started with the hard to get bottom bolts with the larger ones first. I pulled a bolt from the freezer and sprayed the shank with the LPS. Then I inserted it by hand as far as they would go followed by a few hits with a mallet. Then to drive them all the way I used my rivet gun and flush set with some duct tape on the face to drive the bolt thru. I just used a low PSI setting and it worked really well. I drove the two lower large bolts then the top followed by the two smaller bottom bolts then the top two. This process worked pretty slick and only took an hour.

Now the fun job of putting a washer and nut on all these bolts and torquing them. The large bolts get torqued to 520-630 in/lbs and the smaller ones to 80-100 in/lbs. not much to show on that process other than is was very time consuming and a pain to do. It didn’t help that it was 91° today and a little humid. After I finished I put some orange torque seal on to show that they were torqued.

There are also two AN-4 bolts that screw into nutplates from the aft side of the center section, I torqued those as well.

Fun day and felt good to sweat and swear a little while working on the RV! It’s been a while and I’m glad to be back at it. I have so many projects and tasks to do now that the wings are on and I’m excited to get at it!

Wings back on

Time: 2 Hours

I worked a little in the shop today after being gone for a week for my six month recurrent training in the Lear 45. I finished up the wheel pants where I had filled in some holes and reprimed them. I’m calling those done and removed them for storage until flying time. I helped my buddy Glenn remove his wings now that he has all gear leg Fairings done. After rearranging the shop plus a little sweeping we move my RV into position so I could put the wings on. I’m doing this for two reasons, first to be able to do the fairings from the top of the gear legs to the fuselage/wing and the second is one last fuel leak test. Glenn had 20 gallons of 100LL that he used for his test and he let me have it for mine.

So the fuel went into the left wing and will sit for a week while I’m at the NBAA convention in Las Vegas. If there is no blue stains on the bottom or the paper I laid out I’ll call the a passing test and transfer the fuel to the right wing for its test. I’m slowly getting tasks done ahead of my engine build school, 34 days and counting down.

Wingtip Lenses Done

Time: 4 Hours

So after I had the lenses cut, sanded and fit to the opening with a little extra gap I placed a layer of electrical tape over the edges of the lenses to do some fill work. I then screwed them back in place and use some epoxy/fiber-fil to fill the irregular gap to get a nice match to the lenses.

After that cured I removed the lenses and cleaned of the fill with sandpaper. I reinstalled the lenses to check the new fit and they look great! Very little lip to be felt as you run your hand over them. This will change with temperature as the plastic will expand and contract. But for me they are perfect!

I removed them once again as well as the nav light hardware I left on the left wing tip. This way I could prime them with a light coat to find pin holes.

I found a few pin holes and some irregular spots so I filled them with Super-Fill, sanded and re-primed. After the primer set up I reinstalled the NAV lights, Taxi/Landing lights and lenses for storage.

Wing Tip Lenses Take 2

Time: 6 Hours

Ok it’s been a while since my last post. Life sometimes gets in the way and that’s ok especially since my available project items are dwindling down as I wait for an engine purchase. I have been excited to get back in the shop and get back to building. The process of adjusting and cutting the lens to shape and sanding to final fit was the same as the last post. 

Once I got them to a very close final fit I drilled for two screws, one on the top and one on the bottom, so that I could ensure they return to the same spot as I removed for sanding. 

Once I had the fit perfect I worked on the nutplates for the screws. I tried blind riveting the nutplates in place with countersunk blind rivets. I just wasn’t happy with how they were fitting so I turned to another idea. I just clecoed the nutplates in place and covered them with epoxy/flox which cures extremely strong. After they cured I countersunk the lens for a #6 screw and put them in place. 

The fit was great and the flox worked perfectly. I had to careful with the nutplate placement so they didn’t interfere with the landing light attach points. I then removed the lenses and filled the drillled holes from the blind rivets with Super Fill. 

I will sand those areas down and reprime the tips to find any pin holes. After that I’ll reinstall the lights, lenses and tips back on the wings for storage.