Friday, May 13, 2011

258mp, changing blog hosts

Today I received word from the FAA that I could have N258MP as my tail number which is exciting.  I can now move forward with registration.  I also just recently got my first report from a technical advisor.

In other news, with the newly minted tail number, and with issues with this blog host, I am moving the blog.  Please follow me at

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wing skins

Saturday I got into the hanger again and started putting on the skins.  I had done some reading of other people's build logs and was surprised to find out that most people didn't worry about the twist in the rear spar.  The prepunched skins work to get out the twist and according to Vans you don't need to do anything else.  Sounds iffy, so here is what I did.

I clecoed on the top skins.  Instead of doing every fourth hole, I did every other hole with very few exceptions.  Luckily I had ordered another 200 clecos.  Unluckily, this wasn't enough still.  Once the top skins were on, I moved to the back and started installing those, clecoing every fourth hole.

Top skins, every other hole.
 Bottom skins, every fourth hole.  Notice I ran out of clecos on the outter, bottom skin.  I have since ordered an additional 300 clecos....  I'm supposedly at 850 once those arrive.  Vans suggested having 350 as the necessary amount...

So with the skins on the top clecoed every other hole, and the skins on the back every fourth hole along both spars, and every fourth hole on the ribs on the root side, I hung plumb bobs on either end, and measured the distance between the line and the rear spar.  Imagine my surprise when I was within two millimeters.

I had a friend come out who is an engineer to take a second look at it.  He measured three millimeters.  I still need to contact Vans before I sign off on this and start match drilling.

In the meantime, however, I put the leading edge back up!

There are a lot of clecos to be sure.  That also means I have a lot of drilling... and deburring.... and dimpling.... I will be busy to be sure.

Wings Riveted, Help from the parentals

The last weekend in April my mom and dad were in town.  My dad being an aviation buff meant that he was ready to go to help out in the hanger.  My mom is just an extremely generous person and wanted to hang out, so she got into it too.  I had prepped the wing ribs and spars in advance so that they would be here to help me rivet them together.
 Here is my dad clecoing the ribs to the front spar.
 Mom getting a photo of us together.  You can see the tape in my dad's hand that we used to protect the spar from the bucking bar.
 My mom helped out by deburring ALL of the ribs for the right wing!
 The first rivets!  Here you can see the shop heads on the backside of the spar.  You want the shop head to be on the thinnest material.  This made the riveting a little more difficult, but I really like the results.
 Here we are getting to the root of the wing.  With all four ribs this close together (for the wing walk) it got a bit more difficult.

 The rear spar clecoed on.
 Removing the tape from the spar.  You can see how it was setup to protect the spar.
 On the left side here you can see the flush mounted rivets on the rear spar to the rib.  Two of them are in place so far.  The aileron mounting bracket will be mounted here and will go over these flush mount rivets.
 Here we are again having a mental exercise trying to figure out how to get to those rivet heads inbetween.  Because of the rivets holding together the reinforcement fork, we couldn't move the ends of the ribs out of the way to get in, so we had to get creative.  I think for the right wing I will rivet all ribs except the last four to the front spar, and then again to the rear spar, and then I will rivet in these four.

Here we are celebrating completing the tough ones.
And me posing with the finished product.
Looks lined up and you can see me giving the thumbs up halfway down.
Just for fun, we threw the leading edge up on top after we put the wing on the jig.  My dad helped me level the wing at both ends to get the twist out of the front spar.  After that, we jacked up the center of the rear spar so that the main spar to get out the flex from the deflection.  We used a piece of string along the length of the rivet holes on the spar to gauge when it was straight.

A very productive weekend and a big thanks to my folks, they both helped a lot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I just got back from some major relaxation in Hawaii, hence why the airplane news hasn't been rolling in. This weekend hopefully I'll get those ribs riveted on with the help of my dad who is in town!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Paint Time!

Aileron brackets riveted!  These things look very very cool.  I did this inbetween coats of primer on the wing ribs.

 Here is a picture of the "dusting" of the primer onto the ribs.  I was at the hanger from about 530 to 845 painting them.  It was pretty cool to see them painted and stacked.
 Here is the aileron brackets before they were put together getting reprimed to get those freshly countersunk holes.

 This was all done last night.  This morning I woke up early for some reason so I headed to the hanger before work and grabbed all of the ribs.  They look great!  I need to do just a little touch up, but overall I'm really excited.  Once my dad gets into town we'll be hammering the rivets home to get these attached to the spars!

Here they are sitting next to the right wing ribs!

Wing Ribs

I wasn't happy with how the aileron brackets looked after spraying.  I think I'm failing to get a good rinse of the etching compound.  I ended up taking the wing ribs home and washing and etching them in the bathtub late in the evening so tomorrow I can straight from work to the hanger and paint them.

Also, it was pointed out to me that I forgot to countersink the aileron brackets for the flush mount rivets, so I countersunk those and have added them to the pile of things to prime.

Wing Ribs

Tonight I went to the hanger with some new tools. First, I got a space heater to make painting work a bit better.
 Then I started by tearing up some sand paper to deburr the edges of the corners.  The tearing I think make it tear further too easily, so I began cutting it into strips instead.
 While I was working on this, the paint tent was heating up.  Once it hit 70, I sprayed the pieces for the aileron brackets.

I also cleaned and etched the ribs for priming once the edges were good!  Here they are drying in the heated tent.
 Finally, I was given some leading edge jigs so I set up the right wing leading edge.  Here the two of them are sitting right next to each other.