February 1, 2008

Deja Vu - z-brackets, rivets, and a tank - 7.0 hrs.

Boy, was this an interesting experience. It's the first time on the 2nd wing that that feeling really hit me... been here before! I looked at my log, and it's almost exactly 4 months since I was doing this exact same thing on the left wing. I'm talking about finishing the z-brackets and fastening them to the wing spar so the tank can go on for the first time. Funny thing is, I didn't really remember all the little details. At least, not at first. But as I got into it, it all came back to me.

Above you can see that I've drilled all the rivet holes for the nutplates, and countersunk them. The nutplates you see to the left are ready to rivet on.

The innermost inboard z-bracket doesn't get nutplates. It bolts directly to the wing, so you have to put the nutplates on the underneath side of the spar. Above, you can see the 3 bolt holes in the spar web. It's not quite as easy to see the 2 rivets near each one, holding on the nutplate which is underneath. It's impossible to squeeze these rivets... you have to hammer them home with your rivet gun.

A while later, here are all the z-brackets bolted to the spar. The tank sits on top of these. The left wing is in it's cradle behind this one, making for an interesting perspective. This took me a long time, believe it or not. You would think it would be quite simple to just bolt the brackets to the spar, but I fought with this for a long time. It seemed to be extra hard to get the bolts up through the spar web and threaded into the nutplates. The fit wasn't real perfect for some reason. I stripped several bolts and had to throw them away. For some reason, it was just a real bear. But I persisted, and finally got them all bolted on. This baby is now ready for the tank, which has been waiting in the cradle for this moment since I clecoed it together the other day.

And finally, here it is! The right tank is mounted on the wing and clecoed in place for the first time. It's another deja vu moment to remember how good it feels to see this wing all together for the first time. What a great feeling... my airplane has wings! Well, almost... it's also a reminder of how deceiving it looks. It looks so together, but there's an awful lot of work to be done before this wing is finished and the clecos are gone.

Once again, the joint between the tank and the leading edge is almost perfect. It fits so good you couldn't slip a razor blade in between them. I couldn't be happier. Now, after all the effort to get here, it's time to drill some holes and then take it all apart. But not tonight... I'm beat and I have to call it a day. It's been a long but very productive session.

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