I took the time tonight to identify and mark all wing ribs. This was a surprisingly time-consuming process because there are three types on main ribs (on the left) and four types of leading edge ribs (on the right), and all of these come in left-handed and right-handed variants. Also, each wing has a mix of the left and right-handed variants and they don’t follow any simple pattern. Basically, you have to study the plans and make sure you’re using the right rib in the right spot. I have all of these stamped now, and I’ve double checked them, so it will be easy when it comes time to attach these to the spar.
I got started making the tie down bracket spacers. The crappy harbor freight hole saw and fly cutter I had sucked, so I went to Lowes and picked up a bi-metal 1″ hole saw to make these holes.
Here is where the spacers will sit on the spar.
And here is how the tie down bracket will sit on top of them.
The spacers are back-drilled through the holes in the spar and then holes for nutplates are drilled. Here are all of the parts primed and riveted together.
And here they are installed and torqued to the spar.
The backside of the spar showing the nuts holding these on. The four hole in the middle bo through the spacers and line up with the nutplates. These will be used for mounting the aileron bellcrank brackets.
I installed two more center section platenuts per spar. Given that I was alone today, I shot and bucked these solo. They turned out pretty good.
I also tapped the tie down brackets. Apparently, many builders have trouble with this, but mine turned out great and only took about 15 minutes.
Here are both tie down brackets with their threaded ends.
My buddy Andre stopped by today and helped me get started on the wing kit. The first thing you do is install a lot of platenuts. These will be the platenuts that receive the fuel tank screws and inspection cover screws. Here is Andre drilling one of the center holes for the platenuts.
Here you can see the countersinks for a couple of the platenuts. The center hole is countersunk for a #8 screw and the outer holes are countersunk for AD3 rivets.
Here is one completed row of countersinks. Instead of Van’s recommended method of countersinking. I used a long piece of 1/16″ aluminum angle clecoed below the spar flange. Way easier and more precise.
Here are both spars prepped for priming the exposed countersinks.
The battery in my digital scale died, so I broke out the NAPA 7220 self-etching primer.
After the primer dried, we installed all of the platenuts. This went surprisingly fast with two of us and we had them all installed in about an hour. Here you can see that the lower platenuts are countersunk for #8 screws and the upper platenuts are not countersunk for the #6 screws in the access plates.
About 1:30 this afternoon, the FedEx freight guy showed up with my wing kit.
My buddy Dan dropped by to help me unpack the boxes since I didn’t have room in the garage to store them. This is the box containing all of the skins, ribs, tips, etc.
And this long box contains the spars and most of the hardware.
Cracking open the first crate.
Main wing ribs on the left and leading edge ribs on the right. These things are seriously distorted (this is normal). It will take a lot of fluting and tweaking before these are completely flat.
Inventorying the hardware. The are a lot more components in the wing kit. I had to hang up a second set of organizer drawers to hold all of the parts.
Spars laid out on the benches. This things are truly works of art. It’s a shame that these will never be seen on the completed airplane.
I ran across a neat trick on vansairforce.net for adjusting the elevator counterbalance. I installed a 1/4″ nutplate through the forward tooling hole in the counterbalance ribs.
This lets you add or remove washers (probably large area washers) here to balance the elevators. Ideally, you would want to have a few washers here to balance the elevator without paint, then remove them and adjust the amount of lead to balance the surfaces after paint.
I didn’t get any pictures, but I also riveted on the elevator tips.
My buddy Andre stopped by again tonight to get a little experience with fiberglass. We riveted and glassed the horizontal stabilizer tip fairings on which took all of about 15 minutes.
Since we have to wait for the epoxy to cure, we got started on the rudder top fairing. Here, I’m checking the fit. All of the fairings have needed a fair amount of trimming and sanding to fit properly. It’s easy, but it sure makes a mess.
After riveting the top fairing on, we glassed both sides.
Here is the tip with peel ply in place. That’s all I can do tonight since this all has to cure.
I epoxied the foam in place and put a couple of pieces of 1.45 oz/sq yd glass in place to bond them to the sides. It’s a lot warmer in the garage than when I did the vertical stabilizer tip, and the epoxy kicked off a lot faster. I ended up having to mix a second batch to finish the other tip. That’s really all I can do tonight since I have to wait until this cures.
I got started on the elevator tip fairings by cutting the relief notch to allow them to clear the counterweights and trimming the flange so that the tip can fit in completely.
Here is the tip fully in place. There’s some unevenness between the weight and the tip, but I’ll fill that with flox when I bond this in place. This entire front edge will be glassed and filled.
Here’s the horizontal stabilizer tip fairing rough cut and in place. I opened the gap here up to 3/16 to give me some room to glass and fill in this area.
Here is the right side. Clearly a lot of filling and sanding needs to be done to get this looking good.