Left Wing Leading Edge Stall Warning

November 22, 2012

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Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning, while having a declicious cup of coffee, I noticed Jack and Ginger having a conversation while looking out the window:

Jack: “Ginger, what are you thankful for?”

Ginger: “I’m thankful for all these neighbors to bark at.”

(And yes, Ginger ends her sentences in prepositions. That’s how she rolls.)

Here comes one now!

Anyway, later that morning, I thought a little garage reorganization was in order.

I didn’t take great pictures, but this was a big step in the progress of the project. I moved the right wing (currently closest to the work benches) to the “outside” spot.


After. (Although this is really a “before” shot. As in, before I add some 2x4s to protect the wing from door dings.)

Anyway, time to get started on the left wing.

Since the leading edge was already sitting on the bench, I went ahead and matchdrilled it.


I’ve also decided that even if I don’t end up using the stall warning vane that Van’s now provides with all their kits, I should at least install the little riblet to allow future installation.

You can see that top flange needs to be fluted.

Much better.

Then, I thought I’d get out the stall warning system to at least see how it’s going to work.

An overview picture.

The detailed subassembly.

Luckily, all the hardware came in a separate bag.

The subassembly built up.

I didn’t final assemble anything (still need to deburr, prep, and prime), but this is how it will fit together.

1.5 hours today. Mostly reorganization, but some building.

Now, it’s time for football!

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Right Float Sender, Riveted Leading Edge to Spar

July 23, 2011

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Guess what? I worked on the airplane today, so the observant of you should realize that I am NOT on my way to OSH. Boo.

No use worrying about the spilled milk, though. More time for me to work on the airplane.

I need to leak test the right tank, but first, I have to finish sealing it up completely. Last post, I got everything sealed except for the float sender. Here’s the plans shot showing the sender, but it’s showing it mounted to the access plate. Mine will be the same dimensions, but entering from the rear of the tank in the second bay.

A couple 90° bends, and I'll be cooking with gas.

That was easy.

To install in the sender, you line up the plastic piece with the slot in the metal housing, and slide the float wire in.

Can't get any easier than that.

Now, let’s clean up and get this thing sealed in there.

Five #8 screws after swishing in some MEK.

After cleaning up a whole bunch, I put the rubber gasket in place with some sealant (couldn’t decide if I needed some or not), then put the float in, then more sealant around the edges, and some sealant for the screws.

Looks good to me.

I retested the sender and noticed 240 Ohms to 80 Ohms (I think I saw something lower before). That’s okay, my EFIS (Electronic Flight Information System) will calibrate the range of fuel levels based on resistance later.

Okay, that was about a half hour, and there are plenty of hours left in the day, so let’s move on. I think the next thing on the docket is to get the leading edge on the spar permanently. I have the leading edge landing light installed, and the tiendown bracket is good to go.

A changing of the plans picture…to the wing rivets and skins page.

Always fun to change plans.

After a few long minutes of getting the spar holes countersunk, I rubbed the scotchbrite pad over the length of the flange, cleaned up with MEK, then taped off to get some primer on there.

Ready for primer.

Sorry the light kind of precludes the primer from showing.

Okay, before I just start riveting the leading edge to the spar, I want to make sure everything lines up again. So, I want to put the tank on the spar, and the opposite skin from where I’m working.

Before I can get the tank on, I need to grab some nutplate for the inboard tank z-brackets.

Looks like AD3-4 and K1000-3 nutplates.

Here they are.

Done. I couldn't countersink very well along the spar bars, so I went a little light and used oops rivets on the very top and bottom (right and left here) holes.

Then I grabbed the outboard lower skin, and got it clecoed on.

Here's just the leading edge clecoed.

Then, I grabbed the tank and put screws in every 5th hole.

And a screw in every hole along the tank/leading edge joint. Everything lines up great and looks awesome.

I told you it looks awesome.

With the leading edge 50% clecoed, I decided it was finally time to show the FAA I’m really building this airplane. Sorry this awesome picture of a pre-squeezed rivet blocked the shot.

My visor says "Foxy's" on it. Anyone? Oh, and that rivet size looks appropriate, let's get to squeezing.

After 65 rivet squeezings, I had the upper leading edge skin riveted to the spar.

The leading edge looks so cool with no clecos in it.

After 65 more rivet squeezings, I had the lower leading edge skin riveted to the spar.

Oh man, I'm so excited.

GOOD DAY IN THE SHOP, high fives all around.

So….0.5 hours toward the tank. 2.5 hours toward the wings.

6 rivets for the spar nutplates, and 65 rivets each on the top and bottom of the leading edge. That makes 136.


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Right Leading Edge Joint Plate Nutplates

July 13, 2011

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Wuhoo! Got my latest Van’s order. Below, you can see my two T-411 tank access plates, two tiedown rings, a tenth of a pound of AN470AD6-10 rivets, and the left inboard leading edge rib.

I love getting orders in.

First thing, I ran over and screwed in the tiedown ring.

Uh Oh.

It was way loose. Hmm. I know I did the 1/2 turn in, 1/4 turn out with the tap.

After some thought (and a trip to work), some of the guys were convinced that 1) I didn’t ruin the part, especially since I had only tapped the 1″ shown on the plans (and the rings are like 1 1/2″ long), and 2) it must be the tap quality.

They lent me a really nice tap (as opposed to the $7.99 tap and die set from Harbor Freight.)

I screwed in the nice new tap, and once I got past the first inch, I immediately felt a difference. When I turned 1/2″ in, the tap felt like it was cutting, instead of just pushing material out of the way. There was significant resistance at the end of the 1/2″ turn. Once you start the 1/4″ back out, there is some more resistance, then a “release.” I could tell immediately that the release was the cutting of little chips from the material.

It was like I heard angels. This is what tapping is supposed to feel like.

(The old one was just steady increase in resistance in, then decreasing resistance out.)

Just one more reason why I should have bought the $80 tap and die set, instead of the $8 tap and die set.

Lesson learned.

From the following picture, you should be able to tell that the thread cutters on the left are nice and sharp, and the apex of each blade comes to a point. The one on the right is not sharp, and the apex is kind of rounded.

The nice tap on the left, the crappy one on the right.

So now, I have about 1″ of loose threads, and 1/2″ of perfect threads. I am okay with at least four threads perfectly engaged, and 16 threads mostly engaged. If I’m worried about 10,000 lbs of holding power versus 5,000 lbs of holding power, I have more to worry about than my tiedowns pulling out.

Let’s build on.

Here's the tiedown installed.

It was subsequently removed, and will be stored in my storage box until, I don’t know, a few years from now.

Next up, I needed a nice little project.

How does the leading edge joint plate nutplates sound. Good?

Good. I’ll work on those.  A quick check on the plans showed some hardware needs.

Some #8 screws and nutplates.

First, let’s cleco some nutplates to the previously dimpled holes. This worked great, and perfectly centered the dimpled nutplates over the dimples.

#30 clecoes worked great.

I drilled one ear of each nutplate, then clecoed.

After drilling both ears, I deburred, then started countersinking for NAS flush rivets.


Here’s one of the oops rivets, just holding it in place.

This will work.

Oh man, I'm making a mess.

Then, some riveting.

All done.

1 hour,  including the tiedown re-tapping, and 28 rivets in the leading edge joint plate.

Not much more in the way of sealing up that right tank.

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Right Leading Edge Landing Light

July 10, 2011

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Whew. Tonight was a good night. While I’m waiting for a Van’s shipment to show up, I decided to knock something out that I had been sitting on for a little. The next step on the wing (once the right tank is finished) is to get the leading edge riveted to the wing.

It turns out that I would have been fine to do the leading edge landing light stuff later, but I decided to tackle it now.

Previously, I had gotten a lot of the prep work done, so tonight, I wanted to focus on getting the lens in there.

Repeat after me.

“When seeing ‘bandsaw’ in the instructions. Do not think that means ‘jigsaw.'”

I got about two inches around my first lens’ trace line and .

Nice big crack, all the way through the lens. I broke out the dremel on the next one, and pretty much held my breath all the way through it.

Here’s a picture after getting the second lens cut out, then smoothed on the scotchbrite wheel (which worked suprisingly well).

I set it on the other lens so you can see what I had to remove.

Since I didn’t take any pictures before, here’s the finished cut. I basically traced between 5/8″ and 3/4″ all the way around the hole, then used the dremel.

I'm glad that part is done.

Now, for the infamous “tape handle.” It’s funny, the instructions make very clear that this is the BEST way to drill the holes. Some people get cute and try to push the lens in from behind, and they end up getting the lens too tight in the leading edge, then the resulting holes are spaced such that they can never get the screws in.

A little finesse goes a long way.

Here, I've drilled the bottom three holes.

After drilling the top three (now all six are drilled to #40), I enlarged them all to #30. Then, I removed the lens, drilled the skin to 9/32″ (I think that was it. It was whatever the #6 die fits into), and tested with a #6 screw.

Looking good.

Then, I used a #30 countersink bit to countersink the lens to accept a #6 dimple, and put the lens up next to the dimple so you could compare.

The countersink in the lens should accept the dimple on the skin.

Finally, I fished out the two nutplate strips and put some of the provided double sided tape on them.

Double Double sided tape.

Fast forward a few minutes, and I had it screwed in.

This picture is actually upside down.


I'm very happy with how this turned out.

My only issue is that there is a little gap right at the leading edge. The lens is not quite the same contour of the leading edge, but after looking at some old pictures I have of some other leading edge landing light installations, this is pretty much how everyone’s looks.

Now I need to clean that lens.

Big picture view.

Again, I’m very happy with how this turned out, and now when the tank is finished, I can move forward with getting the leading edge riveted on and start on those wing skins.

1.5 hours today. Glad this is behind me.

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Riveted Right Inboard Leading Edge Rib

June 20, 2011

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Now much to report tonight. I riveted the right leading edge inboard rib to the skin, along with the W-423 (?) joint plate.

15 perfectly set rivets here (on the bottom side of the skin)...

and 14 perfectly set rivets on the top.

29 rivets, 0.5 hours. It don’t get no better than this.

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Two More Right Tank Ribs Sealed

June 18, 2011

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Today was a busy day! Even though I’m logging all the time today as on the fuel tanks, I did spend just a couple minutes on the leading edge.

First thing, I deburred and dimpled the inboard leading edge rib, then fit it back in place on the leading edge, this time WITH the joint plate.

Looking good.

Oh, while I was in autozone today, I grabbed a tubing bender and mini tubing cutter.

These should work.

After much reading, deliberating, gnashing of teeth, and hand wringing, I decided to bite the bullet and add a fuel return line.

Not very many fuel injection systems require it, and if I got with the ECI injection (which is supposedly very nice), they say you can just add a bulkhead fitting to the inboard bay, but I think I’m going to run a -6 line to the second bay.

As of a week ago, I had decided I was not going to add any injection system that required return lines, so we’ll see how I feel in another week.

Anyway, I was milling about the parts under my workbench when I came accross the standard rigid pickup tube that Van’s provides. Since I’m using flop tubes, this is scrap, so I held it up against the tank, and figured out it would just make it over to the second bay. Wuhoo!

I guess with the normal pickup, they crimp the end and you make saw cuts in the side of the tube as the actual pickup.

First, let’s get this thing cut in half.

Not bad. Needs deburring, though.

Then, let’s uncrimp the other side so the thing will fit into the cutter (I want a fresh cut on both ends).


Of course, I made a fresh cut on this end too, then deburred both sides, and promptly put the tubes away before taking any more pictures. Sorry.

On to some tank ribs.

After the usual cleaning and preparations, I buttered up rib #5 and clecoed it in place. Here are some undriven rivets with tape on the heads, ready to be set.

Ready for riveting.

I went light on the pictures today, sorry. Here’s rib #5 and #6.

I still don't like the proseal on the outside of the skins, but I'm trying not to have any leaks. I hope the razor blade trick works.

Then, I repeated the whole process for rib #3.

...and my trusty rivet gun.

A picture of the top side.

Nice, except for the very last rivet I shot, which is on the lower right corner. Ding city.

Starting from the (invisible) rib all the way to the left, I did ribs 2 and 5 today.

Still need some rivet encapsulation, but overall, a really good day. 34 rivets times 2, none drilled out.

Oh, and 3 hours. (It really only took me one hour per rib, but I was messing around with the leading edge and the fuel tube stuff.

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Right Leading Edge Inboard Rib Redux

June 17, 2011

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Since I’m out of MEK and I didn’t get a chance to stop by the store on the way home, I decided to work on the new inboard leading edge rib I ordered for the right side. If you remember back on May 13, 2011, I discovered that by having the inboard face of the rib lined up with the edge of the leading edge skin, the drilled holes ended up being too close to the web of the rib. (See this picture specifically.)

Anyway, let’s see if we can’t get a better alignment.

First thing, I kinda-sorta set the rib in place and just made some small marks where the holes would be. This is so I could pull the rib back out and flute it appropriately before drilling.

Marks made.

After edge-finishing and fluting, I stuck the rib back in place where I wanted it, then started matchdrilling.

A few notes:

  1. Since the leading edge skin was dimpled, I didn’t include the W-423 (I just made that part number up) join plate. The rib and skin fit was secure enough that it’ll work out.
  2. I ended up lining up the outboard face of the rib web with the skin edge (make sense?). Said another way, the rib sticks out a little further than the skin.
  3. If it happens to be May 13, 2011 and you discover that your rib drilling on one wing didn’t work out, AND you did both wings the same way, you should probably order both inboard ribs again, instead of waiting until June 17, 2011 (TODAY!) to check the left wing. Doh! I messed that one up too. Now I’ll have another one of these.


Finally, I clecoed the leading edge on the wing (I don’t know why you can’t see any clecos here), made sure my x’s from earlier still lined up over the tiedown hole, and drilled a 3/8″ hole for the tiedown ring.


I still need to tidy it up a little, and probably go to 7/16″ instead of 3/8″ (the tiedown ring is 3/8″), but I’ll leave that for another day.

0.5 hour.

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Riveted Some More Right Leading Edge Ribs

May 23, 2011

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Well, after a very relaxing week-long vacation, I got back to work on the airplane.

I had previously prepped and primed three right leading edge ribs, so I figured this was a good time to get them permanently assembled.

Here’s a shot of the leading edge and the three ribs 50% clecoed.

Ready for riveting, sir.

The ammunition.

The rivet gun and bucking bar.

After setting half of them, I removed the clecos.

Not shown, I put rivets in the empty holes here, then shifted the tape over.

Guess who made an appearance when she heard the rivet gun.


I’m pretty sure when Jack heard the rivet gun, he headed underneath the bed.

After the top of the leading edge done for those three ribs, I flipped it over and did the bottom.

After all was said and done, I had 87 rivets set, none needed to be drilled out.

Here are some shop head shots.

Here's the fourth rib...

...fifth rib...

...and sixth (outboardmost) rib.

I just HAD to set it on the skeleton to see how it looked.

It was soooo light without all of those clecos.

Here's the top side...

...and the bottom side.

Then, I started pulling out the blue plastic. I only pulled out the sections where I didn’t need more riveting or where the leading edge landing light is going to go.

Pulling off plastic.


Sometimes, I worry that my careful devinyling lines are a little overboard, but then I see these primer edges, and it makes the extra time worth it.

Nice clean lines.

One hour today, and 87 perfect rivets.

(Honesty alert: I did have two small dings, both on the top surface. I hate it when I forget to start with the bottom, where no one will see any mistakes.)

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Started Prepping Right Leading Edge

March 25, 2011

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Jeesh, I can’t seem to get a minute away from our third puppy to head outside and do any work on the airplane.

Tonight, finally, during halftime (go UNC!) and just after the game (wuhoo UNC!), I managed to go outside and do a couple things.

I didn’t want to do anything major; I really just wanted to go out there and get back up to speed. I’m kind of in the middle of rib prep on the leading edge, so I disassembled a few of the leading edge ribs and worked on what I labelled R3, or the third rib from the inboard side.

After deburring (back up, looks like I forgot to matchdrill some of the holes….sigh). Okay, after drilling, deburring, edge finishing, and scuffing, I now I have two right leading edge ribs ready for primer.

R2 and R3 (my numbering) ready for primer.

After pulling out the rest of the ribs (including the two outboard-ish ribs shown below), I went ahead and drilled pilot holes for the nutplate holes that are needed for the leading edge landing light installations. I had previously marked these while they were assembled with the leading edge using the provided template.

The two outboard ribs, now with pilot holes drilled for the bracket (the two small holes just above the lightening hole).

So here’s my thought. I really hate rib prep, so I’m basically going to do one at a time, then get it installed in the leading edge. To do that, I’ll need to prep (deburr, dimple) and prime the appropriate parts of the leading edge, and prep one additional rib. Generally, you want the surrounding structure in place for whatever you are riveting. Hence the need for the “next” rib to be clecoed in place while you are riveting a particular rib. If you don’t have the next one in place (have everything perfectly aligned), then the final structure may not be aligned. Make sense? No? Oh well.

So, I put the leading edge in my cradles and got to work with deburring. I got all the exterior holes deburred, did some edge-finishing with my permagrit block and my edge deburring tool and a scotchbrite pad, then started deburring the interior before my hand got tired.

Leading edge during some prep.

Oh, and out of laziness, I screwed the right tank loosely into position instead of taking it back upstairs. I think it’s going to be awhile before I get back to working on it.

It kind of has a funny shape with no ribs in it.

It was a short night, but got me back into the mood, so I’ll call it a success.

1 hour.

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Some Right Leading Edge Work

March 13, 2011

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since my last work on the airplane.

Taking care of this little puppy (trying to find him a home) has taken its toll on our schedules and ability to sleep at night. Also, I’ve been busy at work logging time in something a little bigger than an RV.

Anyway, back to building.

I spent a few minutes taking some time to get reoriented. I couldn’t decide whether to work on the leading edge light or start working on ribs. The plan is to get the right leading edge assembled, then get back to prep on the left wing to catch it up.

I spent some time deburring, dimpling, and scuffing the joint plate, then focused on the inboard leading edge rib.

Crap. These holes are too close to the web.

Crap, I didn’t have it positioned properly when drilling.

There's no way I'm going to be able to dimple these holes.

The most important part of this picture is the sad face.

Time to order another part (along with rudder skins, maybe.)

After wiping the tears off of my cheeks, I moved on to the leading edge light hole. I knew over the last few weeks I needed to figure out a way to clean up the leading edge landing light holes, so I went to Northern Tool and bought a $25 angle die-grinder and a few accoutrements to go with it.


Looks fancy.

I plugged it in and gave it a go, and was very happy with the die grinder, but it wasn’t what I was looking for for the leading edge holes.

I broke out the jigsaw (gasp!) and put a fine tooth metal cutting blade in.

Carefully, I enlarged the leading edge hole right on the line, and spent a few minutes cleaning up the cut. It needs some more work, but it’s okay for now. This was a lot faster than trying to do it with a file.

Right leading edge after cleaning up my jigsaw enlargement.

Finally, I pulled out one of the other leading edge ribs and prepped it (deburr holes and edges, dimple, scuff, etc.)

For the dimpling step, the nose of my economy squeezer sticks out a little further than the female die, so I used the regular grinder side of my bench grinder and ground it down a little.

Now it won't scratch the web of the ribs as I dimple.

Here's one leading edge rib prepped.

I still have a few (a lot!) more to do (including some nutplate attachments for the outboard two ribs for the light bracket), but then I’ll get the leading edge prepped and maybe get one of the big pieces put together. That will make me happy.

I’m going to work over the next few weeks to put in some more regular airplane hours. I need to keep moving if I’m ever going to get it done.

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