May 2019, The wing construction has started ! Few hours after opening the crates we were already at work. The knowledge gained while building the empennage greatly help the understanding and allow us to be rapidly to the heart of the matter.
We start with the main spars, for safety reasons they are already assembled and treated against corrosion thus their yellow color. Only remains adding a small extension at the tips, countersinking and installing the nutplates for the fuel tanks and some access plates, installing the aileron’s bellcrank and tie-down brackets. All of this nevertheless takes some time… Countersinking the spars put the nerves on edge, a lot of material is removed and a single mistake probably means ordering a new spar with the associated cost and delay. Fortunately it all goes well !
The 30 ribs are prepared, some of them modified or reinforced. 6 of them receive the brackets for the flaps where the hinge hole is drilled and reamed for a greater accuracy.
The rear spar is reinforced by doublers which require quite a lot of filing before being ready to be used. A service bulletin has recently been published and has to be incorporated to reinforce the aileron’s brackets attached to the rear spar. A service bulletin (SB) is a notice from the manufacturer recommending an inspection, a repair or a modification during or after the aircraft construction. Good news ! The builder is not out on his own but can count on those recommendations as it is done on a Boeing or any other commercial aircraft.
The upper wing skin in 0.032 and 0.025 inches aluminium sheet is fixed to the spars and ribs with several hundreds rivets. The process is a 2 man job (a man and a women actually !) One person holding the gun and the other the bucking bar. Vasita helped me through this task with a disconcerting ease and after a few days, 5 square meters of wing skins were attached ! The next step can begin with the leading edges which will act as fuel tanks. 2 auxiliary tanks will be added outboard of the 2 mains in order to double the range and allow for longer non-stop flights…
The wings are taking shape, there is still a lot of work ahead but one year after having started we are more than satisfied with the progress !