August 19, 2008  The wing kit arrived today.  It was in 2 crates totaling 395 pounds.  The spars and longer pieces were in a crate 16 feet long.  Loaded them up on a trailer and used my tractor to unload them at the house.  I completed the inventory and started in installing the fuel tank attach platenuts on those gorgeous gold anodized spars.  

August 19, 2008  Here is the long crate.  Van's gets pretty creative here since the wings already have some long stuff in them, they send the longerons for the fuselage in the crate with the wing stuff.  Saves on shipping for the fuselage kit.  Pretty smart!

Augsust 20, 2008  Countersinking the holes for riveting the fuel tank attach platenuts to the spars.  Makes you cringe taking a drill to the spars.

August 20, 2008  Close up of the big ole counter sinks for the fuel tank attach screws.  I used Van's method on these using the platenuts to center the CS bit, worked like a charm.

August 25, 2008  I set up and built a wing stand to assemble the wings on.  I needed it to be movable so I built this free standing design.  It has adjustable feet to make it sit level and not rock on the slightly un-even floor. It is nice and solid.

August 30, 2008  I set up and match drilled the rear spars and doublers.  This picture shows them already in primer and ready to rivet.

August 31, 2008  Ok so I was procrastinating starting the wing rib preperation, so I built up the flap and aileron hinge bracket assemblies.

September 10, 2008  So I didn't take any pictures of the rib preperation.  Spent a couple of days de-burring, fluting, etc.  Here they are clecoed in place on the spars.  Starting to look like something now.

September 10, 2008  I got bored at work the other day and fabricated these adjustable stands to support the center of the wing structure.

September 15, 2008  I fabricated the wing walk doublers, which required no fabrication other than putting them in place underneath the inboard wing skins and match drilling a few of the holes to hold them in place when clecoed to the wing structure.  Then the rest of the holes are drilled as well as match drilling all of the skin to wing structure.

September 15, 2008  Here are the inboard skins and wing walk doublers in place and match drilled. Note the stands supporting the center of the structure.

September 25, 2008  I then added the outboard skins and match drilled them as well.  Man that's a lot of holes.  I drug out the roll around chair and sat on my butt and drilled for close to an hour on each wing.

September 25, 2008  I screwed the inboard tank ribs to a piece of wood in order to fly cut the big hole for the fuel tank access cover.  I clamped the whole thing in the drill press and cut very slowly.  Came out perfect.

September 25, 2008  Another shot of the ribs with the doublers clecoed in place.  I then riveted the doublers and platenuts in place.  Including the plate nuts on the access cover itself which are used to attach the senders.  I am using float style senders.


October 4, 2008  I moved into leading edge and fuel tank construction.  I fabbed up some cradles to hold them from the old horizontal stabilizer cradles.  I originally bolted them to the bench, but soon found it was too tall to comfortably work on, so I dug up one of my metal saw horses and attached them to it. Works perfect.  Somehow I didn't take any pictures of the leading edge assembly, but you can see it in place in this picture.  This is the left fuel tank clecoed together and match drilled.

October 5, 2008  I used a 3/8 fine thread bolt to center the tank drain and match drilled it to the skin.  Notice I used the soldering iron trick on the inside of the tank.  The fuel tank sealant process is notoriously messy, so I decided to use the plastic coating for masking. Shot of the inboard ribs with all the plate nuts installed.

October 5, 2008  I fabricated the fuel tank attach bracket from the aluminum angle supplied and match drilled it to the inboard rib.

October 5, 2008  I set up this simple jig to drill the center holes in the tank attach brackets using the templates supplied in the kit.  The jig just made it quick to get everything to align perfectly.

October 5, 2008  I installed the tank on the wing and drilled all of the attach brackets by back drilling them through the holes in the spar.  Notice the lack of clecoes in the wing skin.  I ordered some more, but in the meanwhile I am rapidly running out.  Gonna have to rivet some of this sucker together to reclaim some of the clecoes. Starting to look like a wing now!

October 10, 2008  Started the dreaded fuel tank assembly.  Smeared ample amounts of "Black Death" on the stiffeners and back riveted them in place.  Also did the fuel cap flange and tank drain.

October 12, 2008  Here is a shot of one of the ribs installed with the black goop.  It isn't particularly difficult working with the Proseal, but it sure is messy.

October 15, 2008  Here is a shot of the sending unit access plate rib.  I added a return line to the tank while I was building it in case I decide to run a fuel injection system which requires a return line.

October 20, 2008  Here is one tank all sealed up and waiting to dry so I can pressure test it.  Only 1 more to go!

October 30, 2008  Wow, that was quick!  Two complete LEAK FREE fuel tanks, Yea! Glad that's over.

November 5, 2008  Ok, now that the tanks are done, guess I better finish riveting the wings together.  I put it off until I had the tanks out of the way.  Here I am riveting the ribs to the main spar.  Notice I didn't prime them.  I was in one of those "Who needs primer moods"  My current airplane is 35 years old without a speck of corrosion, so........  Eh, who knows, I am sure some parts are still gonna get primed.

November 15, 2008  Here set both wings.  Fuel tanks on, leading edges on, all that's left is to skin them and put on hinge brackets and linkages.

November 20, 2008  Skins going on!  You can see the rest of them either standing up at the end of the wing or on the bench.  Lots of holes to do the three D's to.

November 22, 2008  Top skins on, ready to rivet

November 30, 2008  While waiting for help to rivet the wing skins on, I went ahead and built the flaps and ailerons.  For some reason I don't have pictures of the ailerons, but here are the flap parts ready to start riveting them.

December 5, 2008  Here are both flap skeletons ready to skin.

December 15, 2008  Working on the flap skins.

February 20, 2009Flaps and ailerons are done. Sitting in the rack and the top wing skins are both on.  My business has been giving me a hard time with the economy and all,  but still making progress on the project.

March 15, 2009  Bottom skins are on, including the aileron and flap hinge brackets.  Lots of bangin rivets on these dudes.  Some of the guys who are building are actually counting rivets.  Supposed to be around 15000 of them in one of these planes.

April 10, 2009  Here is a shot of the Trio autopilot servo bracket mounted in the right wing.  It takes the place of the belcrank brackets supplied by Van's.  You can see the poly tubing I routed to carry the wiring to the servo.  Getting close to the end of the wings now.

May 10, 2009   And there they be!  Fuselage kit is on order and should arrive the second week of June.  It's going to be a pleasure to only build one of something <grin>


Copyright (c) 2008 Don Jones. All rights reserved.