The first step in construction of the wing is the preparation of the main spar. The platenuts for the mounting of the fuel tank are flush riveted onto the spar flanges, 60 on each wing!
Then the tie-down anchor is mounted on the spar web. This requires the addition of spacers to compensate for the reinforcement plates on the spar. The spacers had a tendency to slip and I had to make an extra set when the holes were misplaced.
Time: 8 hours
After several weeks of waiting for my Wings Kit it finally arrived on Tuesday, May 16. Unfortunately it arrived in a huge FedEx semitrailer which could not go up the lane to the shop and it had to be unloaded in the garage.
So we borrowed a piano dolly from Rod and Rilla and pulled it up the road to the shop with the Jeep. Linda navigated while I drove.
The longest box at 15 feet contained the spars and a couple of angles from the fuselage kit.
Amazingly the inventory came out perfect!
Time: 3 hours
The lower rudder tip required quite a bit of trimming but the trim line was marked on the fiberglass and the installation was uneventful.
The upper tip was also installed without incident the same as the matching vertical stabilizer tip.
With this the work on the empennage is finished!
Time: 8 hours
The empennage is essentially complete except for the fiberglass tips on the horizontal and vertical stabilizers and on the elevators and rudder. I decided to extend the fiberglass on the elevators to enclose the lead counterweights.
I also glued backing washers on the inside of each hole in the fiberglass to make the rivets more secure.
Time: 6 hours
The difference with the left elevator is the incorporation of the trim tab. The stiffeners are shortened on the inboard side and space is made for the trim tab solenoid motor.
The centering of the motor is important for the linkage to extend to the trim tab without interference. Unfortunately the dimension shown on the plans is in error and must be carefully corrected. A Z bracket supports the motor on the access door which is screwed to the elevator into nutplates. These have to trimmed off to the borders of the access door after riveting to permit the installation of the motor.
The trim tab itself is a challenge as the end tabs need to be bent over each other. A wedge shaped piece of hardwood is inserted in the trim tab skin and the tabs are bent over against the wood. Mine came out pretty good, but not perfect. After assembly the trim tab is mounted to the elevator with a piano hinge which needs to be aligned carefully to permit the trailing edge of the trim tab to coincide with that of the elevator.
Time: 8 hours
The next task is building the elevators. The left and right elevators are different because the left elevator incorporates a trim tab.
I did the right elevator first. The stiffeners are formed and back riveted to the skin. This is difficult for the rivets closest to the crease, but the skin is just temporarily deflected back just enough to set the rivets. The spar and end ribs and the counterbalance rib are assembled together with the counterbalance.
One caution to the wise: The forward spars E-702 are not marked left and right, but they ARE different! You must reserve the spar with the off-center hole towards the bottom for the left elevator. This hole provides clearance for the tail screw of the trim servo, and of course I got it wrong and didn’t discover it until the skin was riveted onto the frame of the right elevator. So I had to drill another hole and put in a reinforcing plate to cover the misplaced extra hole. Vans really should mark the spars as left and right!
The skin now needs to be bent to the final shape. This is done by making a homemade break out of two 2×4 boards united with several hinges. The skin is put between the two boards and a 1/8″ rod is placed in the crease of the skin to provide a minimum diameter to the bend. A lot of pressure is needed to make the bend and it has to be done in several steps.
The skin is then riveted to the spar and rib assembly to complete the elevator.
Time: 6 hours.