January 9 , 2008

Pulled Left Wing off the Jig - 6 hrs.

Today was a big day. I pulled the first wing off the jig! Then I mounted the skeleton for the right wing on the jig, aligned it and clamped it down. Then I was able to get the leading edge clecoed together and mounted on the wing. Finally, I was also able to get one of the top skins clecoed on as well. This is going so much faster than the first wing. The second wing is already taking shape right before my eyes.

Above, you can see the left wing sitting in the storage cradle and the right wing with leading edge attached behind it in the jig. The plastic over the wing is the bag that the wing spar came in, just to keep the wing clean from dust. But let me back up a minute. Speaking of this storage cradle...

A few days ago I sent out an email to the Oregon RV-list, asking if anyone in the area might have a wing storage cradle sitting around that they were finished with and wanted to pass on. I had hopes that maybe someone was finished with theirs, and it would save me the expense and time of building one myself. I was very happy to find out that my good friend and technical counselor, Randy Lervold, saw my email and passed the request on to Paul Watson. Paul is just finishing an RV-7 at Pearson Airfield in Vancouver, near Randy's hanger, and he had this really nice sturdy cradle sitting in his hanger. So my son Luke agreed to drive me over there in his pickup to get it. You should see Paul's plane... it's gorgeous. If I can get a picture, I'll post it here later. He has a beautiful fresh paint job on it already, unlike anything I've ever seen, and will probably fly for the first time next month. Anyway, this cradle is very well built and I'm very grateful to get it. And Paul was glad to get it out of his hanger. It's a true win - win, and one of the great things about being part of the RV-community. In turn, I will be very happy to pass it on to the next builder when I'm done with it. Thanks, Randy, and thanks Paul!

One nice feature with this wing cradle is the 2 x 2 wood piece that screws down over the top of the wing spar. Very simple concept, and I feel much better knowing that my wing is secured and won't easily slip and fall out.

UPDATE: I didn't have a picture of Paul's plane because I didn't take my camera over to his hanger, but fortunately, my son Luke had his cell phone with him. He has one of these fancy cell phones that takes pictures and he took a few when we were there. So here's a shot of Paul's plane and his new paint job. Very nice, huh! Not a bad picture considering it's from a cell phone. I think he got his inspiration from a certain Trigger fish that swims in the warm tropical waters around the coral reef. I'm sure you'll be seeing more pictures of this beautiful plane in the very near future.

The bluish circular spot you see on the VS is a painting in itself, of an underwater coral reef scene. There's another one on the other side. Paul gave me a brochure from the artist that painted his plane. His name is John Stahr from Eugene, Oregon. You can check out his website here. Or here.

Update, summer 2008: Here's the promised picture of Paul's plane, now flying! Isn't it gorgeous? Wow! What else do you need for motivation?

Okay, back to reality... with the right wing skeleton mounted on the jig, I went ahead and clecoed the leading edge together. I'm glad that I went ahead and prepared the ribs and primed them earlier when I did the ones for the left wing. This will go so much faster and easier the 2nd time around.

It was much faster and easier this time around to get the spar clamped down, aligned, supported underneath in the middle to take out the sag, etc. I was able to cleco the leading edge on within minutes, instead of hours later like it took me last time.

Here's the top outboard skin clecoed in place. I need to cut and drill the doubler plate next, that goes under the wingwalk area of the inboard skin. That's the only thing holding me back from having both top skins in place now. But I'm ready to call it a night.

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