Chapter 19 – Wings

Chapter 19 — Wings Build Prep

12 July 2012  I spent about 2-1/2 hours at the wood shop on Ramstein today.  Not nearly as bad as last time…I cut out all the wing jig segments from 3/4″ plywood (the plans call for 1/2″ plywood but their’s was REALLY warped, so I went with nearly the only plywood left in Germany: 3/4″).  I then cut 17 each 1″ x 8″ connector pieces that will eventually get mounted to each segment of the jig.  In building the jigs, I’m making every attempt to get the wing jig outline to match exactly per the outline of the paper template.  To do this, I’ve taken into account the blade kerf width on each saw I use.

Chapter 19 - Wing Jigs







Back at the shop, I glued all the forward pieces of the jigs together and clamped them.

Chapter 19 - Wing jigsChapter 19 - Wing jigs


14 July 2012 Today I glued the paper wing jig templates to the cut 3/4″ plywood wing jigs.  It took a while to find the trailing edge tip for one of the templates, but I finally found it & got the templates glued on.

Chapter 19 - Wing jigsChapter 19 - Wing jigs

Chapter 19 - Wing jigsChapter 19 - Wing jigs

Chapter 19 - Wing jigs







After I got the paper templates glued on (I used 3M 77 spray glue) and cleared the jigs and table out of the way, I pulled out the huge Feather Lite crate that contained my foam cores and began to unpack it and inventory the foam wing cores.  As I stated a few days ago, I had been reviewing the plans since to get a decent idea of what I was looking at.  It still took some time to figure them all out.

Chapter 19 - Wing foam core inventoryChapter 19 - Wing foam core inventory

Chapter 19 - Wing foam core inventoryChapter 19 - Wing foam core inventory

Chapter 19 - Wing foam core inventoryChapter 19 - Wing foam core inventory

The Prime Directive during this specific task was DON’T DAMAGE THE FOAM CORES!!!

After I inventoried all the wing core pieces, it looked as though I was NOT going to need a hotwire saw to build the wings with what I had here.  Remember, I left my hot wire saw in Virginia with my buddy Marco.


14 July 2012 Today I planned out & ordered some RG-58 coax cable as per Jim Weir’s instructions for constructing antennas for EZs.

I also started working on the wing jigs.  I cut out the #5 jig and the front sides of jigs #1-4.

Chap 19 - Wing Jigs

Once the jigs were cut out, I mounted the 1″ x 8″ brackets on the jigs with glue & wood screws.  I drilled the two 1/4″ holes for the mounting bolts & wing-nuts but since I was using 3/4″ plywood instead of the planned  1/2″, I had to also countersink the bolt heads.

Chap 19 - Wing JigsChap 19 - Wing Jigs


19 July 2012 I took the remaining Trailing Edge Wing Jig pieces to the wood shop on Ramstein AB.  I cut jigs #1-4 on the band, jig & table saws to produce their desired shapes.  I then took the jigs home & finished them by drilling the holes, sanding and installing bolts, etc.

Chap 19 - Wing jigs completedChapter 19 - Wing jigs ... completed!




20 July 2012 While I was at the DIY store I picked up a piece of PVC pipe to serve as my 3″ UNI tape roll dispenser for when I lay up the spar caps on the wings, CS spar and canard.  I retired the spit posts and pressed one of them into service as the new 3″ UNI tape dispenser.

Retiring the spit posts!Chap 19 - 3" UNI Tape Roll "Dispenser"


23 July 2012 I cut all the aluminum extrusions (LWAs) for the wings, and well…. everything.  Technically these are in listed Chapters 14 & 16.

LWA Alum Extrusions - Ch's 14 & 16LWA Alum Extrusions - Ch's 14 & 16


24 July 2012 Finally got some Alumiprep to go with my Alodine!  If I haven’t covered Alodine earlier, it is simply a corrosion protection application to keep aluminum (yes, aluminum does corrode!) from deteriorating and losing strength over time.  This is especially important for composite airplanes where these metal extrusions are embedded into the foam & glass and cannot no longer be assessed or examined for any corrosion–for the life of the plane–without actually tearing into the glass to see it.

The Alodine process is fairly simple:  the Alumiprep is an acid that does a super-scrub on the part to clean (etch) it.  The part is soaked in Alumiprep for a couple of minutes. Then the part is rinsed off with water and put into the Alodine for a couple of minutes where it turns a greenish-goldish-brown & receives its corrosion protective coating.  It’s rinsed with water once again and allowed to dry.

Click here for a good video showing How to Acid Etch and Alodine Aluminum.

I also found some Rosin Core Solder for the radio antennas that will be embedded in the wings, winglets & canard.  Also had to pick up 2 more portable heaters at the base and press them into service.

I used the Dremel & mini belt sander to make the 0.1″ & 0.2″ rounded-over edges on the aluminum extrusions.  I also cut out & made the GIB shoulder harness seatbelt tabs.

Aluminum Extrusions (Ch's 14, 16, 19)Chap 14 - Rear Seatbelt Upper Mount TabsChap 14 - Rear Top Seatbelt Mounting Tabs







I Alodined all the cut aluminum pieces and set them up to dry.  I had a sneaking suspicion that my Alodine was a little bit on the old side.  No matter what I did, pre-cleaning, leaving the piece in either solution for significantly longer, it didn’t seem to change the intensity–either light or dark–of the Alodined parts.

Alodined Aluminum Extrusions (Ch's 14, 16, 19)•••

25 July 2012 I took the now thoroughly dried Alodined aluminum extrusion pieces out to the back patio.  I wasn’t overly thrilled with the quality of my Alodining process, so I decided to add another layer of corrosion control on the aluminum parts by adding a couple of coats of primer.  But, to ensure that the glass would grip to a primer base that itself was gripped firmly to the aluminum surface, all the pieces will be lightly sanded and the prepped via a wash down with Simple Green and 3M pads to remove any “loose” and/or weak primer (this is how I prepped parts when I shot paint on my chopper project… Simple Green works great and is completely clean chemically).

Aluminum Extrusions (Ch's 14, 16, 19)Aluminum Extrusions (Ch's 14, 16, 19)

After the parts dried for a few hours, I primed the other side of my aluminum parts.

Then I started prepping for the Right Wing build.  Since the garage floor is so uneven, I decided to simply build a wood base for the wing jigs.

Chapter 19 - WingsAfter the base was complete, I located it in the center of the garage and began the process of mounting the wing jigs to it.

Chapter 19 - WingsAfter I got the first few wing jigs mounted, I took a break to work on the main gear to get them knocked out.


26 July 2012 Since the main landing gear glass was complete, I turned my attention to the wing build.  My first task was a 5-ply test layup for the 3″ UNI tape that is used in the wing, CS spar and canard spar caps.  Over the years there have been different manufacturers & suppliers of this 3″ UNI tape, so to ensure the spar caps are the correct thickness, and thus the correct strength, the width of the UNI plies must be tested.  This test layup procedure is spelled out in the Canard Pusher (CP) newsletter #25 on page 6.  If the 5 plies are too thin, then the solution is to simply add more plies, which is also spelled out in the CPs.

CP 25 pg 6 - 5-ply spar cap thickness testAs my 5-ply test layup was curing, I went back out to the shop and finished mounting my wing jigs to the wood base.

Chap 19 - Wing Jigs•••






















Recent Posts

Project Update

Hi Folks,

Well, Rough River 2017 is in the history books.  A great Rough River all the way around!  Marco’s new GRT Mini & GNRS480 avionics install went off without a hitch, providing an awesome proof of concept for my upcoming panel.  In addition, the myriad of builder tips that I got from Buly, Rick Hall, James Redmon, Terry Schubert, Mike Beasley, Bruce Sinclair, Bill James and countless others were gold in the bank for so many upcoming component decisions and configurations I need to make.

As I mentioned before, I’ve had to adjust my schedule a bit over the past 6 weeks, which of course impacts my goals.  Yes, I will continue to fight in my hope that this will be the final push to get the main assembly of the aircraft completed.   I do plan on having the main structure of the aircraft finished by year’s end.  An aggressive timeline to be sure, but I think it’s very doable.

I’m still working out the finer details of making everything fit inside the cockpit.  Since the vast majority of what I’m doing are all mods, these usually require a lot of in-house R&D, and then trial & error when finally at the install phase.  However, the curve is exponential in that as each component is designed and installed, it accelerates the build because besides just being in the “done” column, it is one less thing to design and build.  Moreover, it’s a variable that has been changed into a constant.

All this is just to say that even though things seem to be going slowly, there really is a momentum building for this project.  These pesky mini-tasks burn time, but as they are finished and systems are integrated, then when the final airframe components builds are finished, this plane will seriously be close to being done. Again, these mini-tasks are definitely time-consuming and a lot more slow going then planned.  But finishing them now allows me to work all this stuff while I can stand right next to the fuselage without having to deal with strakes, or nose, being in the way!  

I have to say that it’s much easier and more fun to build the big stuff that makes this project look like a plane, and I often feel my discipline waining to go build something “cool”.  So, although obviously not as sexy as seeing major aircraft components (i.e. nose, strakes, canopy) being completed, these mini-tasks are oh so necessary for quality of flying later on!  Moreover, these immediate tasks, in turn, will allow me to finalize the configuration of the nose components. At which point I will focus on the building the nose and the canopy.  . . while concurrently finalizing the wheel pants install (nope, haven’t forgot about those!).



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