Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Finishing the wings by the end of the first year (Not!).

At the end of my last post I had great expectations of completing both wings by the time I'd had the kit for a year.  Unfortunately it hasn't happened as planned, but I have recently managed to get back into the garage for a few hours and make some good progress on the right wing.  My repaired left knee is holding up well and I'm using a stool as much as possible.  Just worried that the right knee will go next and add another huge delay.

Anyway - a summary of recent progress.

Here's the right wing upside down on the bench showing the bottom skins being fitted.  No dramas here - just a repeat of the left wing.  It's very time-consuming to install, match-drill, remove, debur, refit and finally rivet, but doing it properly now should reduce the chance of cracks developing.  My hands ache horribly from all of the cleco installation and removal!  At least I have a pneumatic pop-rivet gun.

The last bottom skin waiting to be riveted in place.

The wing turned the right way up and the first 6 rivets aft of the leading edge now installed in each rib to create the proper profile.  There are no rivets at the inboard end yet (above the blue electrical connector) where the wing-walk doubler has to be fitted in conjunction with the top skin.

Here's a view inside the wing near the root, with the bottom skin wrapping around the leading edge.  It continues to amaze me how accurate the kit production is, such that all of the holes in ribs that I've fluted still line up with the pre-punched skins!

Now I need to install the landing light near the right wing tip.  It's much easier to do before the top wing skins are fitted (I can't figure out how you'd do it on an aircraft that's already built).  UK LAA aircraft currently aren't approved for night flying and I don't intend to fly at night even if approval is ever granted.  I'm having nav, strobe and landing lights to improve the chance of other pilots seeing and avoiding me!

The supplied template is aligned with existing rivet holes and then marked-though using a spring punch for new screws and rivets.  The lamp lens cut-out is also marked.  I'm not looking forward to cutting this out by hand!

 The punch-marked holes are drilled out #40 and then match-drilled #30 to the lens brackets.

The lens hole cut out and the lamp brackets cleco'd in place.
 I used a 1mm-thick cutting disc in an air-grinder for the long edges of the cut-out and then an air nibbler  for the corners.  It was then down to careful filing and finally wet/dry paper on a piece of dowel to get the final shape accurate.  I'm pretty pleased with the final result!

Here are the lamp brackets and lens retaining plates with doublers and anchor nuts and cable grommets fitted as required.

Now I need to drill the Perspex lens and then trim it to final size before everything can be assembled.  At this point I'm stuck as I need to source special drill bits for the Perspex. Using standard metal drill bits can cause the plastic to chip or crack, so not worth the risk of rushing with the wrong tools.

That's it for the moment.  Hopefully more updates later this month.

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