Sealing skin panels

March 5, 2012 – I decided that I wanted to edge seal the wing skin panels to prevent moisture from entering, especially at the main spar. So I’m applying a very narrow band of sealant, just enough to fill and cover the gaps. I’m also sealing the skin overlap on the flaps and ailerons.

Time: 1:00

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Wing skins complete!

February 29, 2012 – I am going to call the wings structurally complete! Joe and I worked last Wednesday and today to finish riveting the lower skins. We then took the right wing out of the cradle and put it on the table. It was easier to hang the flap that way. My next step is to edge seal the skins, top and bottom, especially at the main spar. I want to prevent moisture from getting under there and causing corrosion. If I had the chance to do all this over again, I’d have sealed the skins at the spar.

Here’s the right wing on the table.

Here’s what the flap hinge pin bracket looks like:

Time: 6:45

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Left wing skin complete!

January 25, 2012 – The left wing skins are installed!

It took us 4 weeks (a session a week) to do one wing. After we got it done, we rolled the wings out to the driveway to turn the cradle around so we could access the right wing. The neighbor’s pool guy came over. “Are you building an airplane?!” He’s seen things done for the last couple of years and finally had to ask about it when the wings were out in the driveway.

I’m also glad it stopped raining before we rolled them out…

Time: 3:30

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Continued installation of left lower skins

January 20, 2012 – We continued to install the lower outboard skin on the left wing. The flap brace is completely installed, and I installed the hinge pins. They were a pain with the wing in the cradle, but I know they’ll be easier when the wing is horizontal and low to the ground.

We also got the pitot mast installed. I sealed it in place, as well.

We should have the left skins installed in just one more session, then we get to do it all over again.

Time: 4:40

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Started installing left wing bottom skin

January 4, 2011 – My friend Joe Santee came over again and we started installing the left wing lower inboard skin. We need to find a couple of younger guys to do some of this stuff. There were a lot of old man noises today. We got the wingwalk ribs done.

Once we got into the groove and figured out the sequence, things went a little smoother. It’s justĀ  hard to get into some of those spots.

Time: 6:30

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Modding lower skins at wing access plates

December 10, 2011 – One of the things that Van’s has you do throughout this kit is to dimple nutplates. This allows you to attach nutplates directly to the skin in some locations. I really have never liked that idea, so where possible, I’m adding countersunk doublers which are then attached to the skin and the nutplates are attached after that. One of the places I’m doing this is on the wing access plates. It’s probably overkill, but I prefer it this way.

I made doublers that match the inside of the recessed joggled area where the panels fit in the lower wing skins. I match-drilled them to the existing holes, then I added a #40 hole between each nutplate. I dimpled the screw holes in the new doublers, and I countersunk the rivet holes. I dimpled all the holes in the wing skins and the panels per the drawings.

Time: 4:30

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Finished rivets on right wing

May 17, 2011 – With the wing on the table, I riveted the top skin to the aft spar and the inboard rib

I still have to do the five inboard-most rivets, just like in the left wing, but those are better handled with the wing in the cradle. Blake and I then moved the right wing into the cradle.

I started looking at the aileron bellcranks, but that will be in the next post.

Time: 2:00

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Right wing top skins riveted

May 16, 2011 – My friend Joe came over again today and we did the top skins for the right wing.

We moved the left wing from the table to the cradle.

Then he and I set out to rivet the top skins for the right wing. Here’s Joe running the drill through a couple of holes:

…and the right wing is now off the stand and on the table. I just need to install the rivets for the aft spar and the inboard rib, then install the landing light.

Moved the wing stand out and brought in the cradle.

I took this picture to advertise the stand and the leading edge cradle on vansairforce.net. Hopefully they’ll be snapped up soon.

Time: 7:20

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Riveted left wing top skin to aft spar

May 2, 2011 – I riveted most of the left wing top skins to the aft spar. Easy riveting except for one location.

At the very inboard end of the spar is the doubler buildup for attachment to the fuselage. The tickness of the structure there is making it difficult to get quality shop heads for the five or so rivets at that location.

Otherwise, the rest of the wing looks good, and I’ll move it to the cradle after the landing light is done.

Time: 1:30

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Installed left wing top skins

April 25, 2011 – Today Joe and I riveted the top skins on the left wing. I’ve been reading about how some people are back-riveting the skins (using the bucking bar on the outside and shooting from the inside), but I decided it wasn’t worth the expense or trouble to find a back-rivet set that would work. It turns out that I was right. I am very pleased with how this wing turned out.

Here’s a shot of the hangar…uuuhhh…garage…this morning before we started.

We shot everything except the aft spar, because I’d have had to lay on the floor to do those. We removed the wing from the stand and put it on the table, where I can do the aft spar and finish the landing light.

Time: 9:15

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Prepped top skins for install

April 19, 2011 – I clecoed the top skins in place in preparation for their installation. I did forget about the chamfer of the skins where they meet in the center of the wing right behind the tank skin. According to the instructions you need to chamfer the corners because they overlap and will be higher than the tank skin. I did that, but then I read where some people cut the lower skin and let the upper skin lay down over that and become flush with the tank skin. I will do that on the bottom side. I would do it now on the top skins, but I removed a bit of the skin material, and I don’t want to have that lower structural integrity.

Time: 1:15

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Dimpling….

February 14, 2011 – Not a lot of pictures to show for it, but I finished deburring and dimpling everything for the tanks. I dimpled the ribs, tank stiffeners, and the skins. I deburred and painted the outside surfaces of the baffles. I also removed and dimpled the nut plate holes for the tank attach screws in the splice straps between the fixed leading edges and the tanks.

Time: 6:20

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