Chapter 20 – Lower Winglets

Chapter 20 – Lower Winglets

30 May 2013 — Also, although I’m not 100% one way or the other on whether I’ll have lower winglets installed or not on my bird (leaning more pro vs against), I would like an upgraded look compared to the stock look.  I don’t necessarily abhor the stock lower winglets (my buddy Marco growns even at the mention of them, and threatens constant Unfriending on Facebook if I install them! ha!).  Anyway, I’ve started my research and am flirting with a redesign on my lower winglets.

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31 May 2013 — I’ve been figuring out & playing with some initial design changes on the lower winglet.  I came up with this below.  Although I won’t be using this design, I thought I would post a pic just to show some of the design processes I’m working through.

Chap 20 - Testing lower winglet design

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4 June 2013 Over the last few days I had researched a lot of different lower winglet designs & tried a number of different cutouts until I found the one I finally liked.  There is no drastic difference from the original stock plans lower winglet compared to my new design, which is really just a stock look but with a lower profile.

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

My finalized version of the lower winglet is 1.8 inches shorter top to bottom (or narrower if you look at the profile) than the stock plans version.  Also, the angle starting from the aft/trailing edge and moving forward to intersect the flat looking bottom line is moved significantly forward than the plans version.  These are essentially the “Mini-me” lower winglets of the plans version.  I cut out the new design with white poster board.

With my new winglet design in hand, it was time to get to work.  I started with the Left lower winglet, placing the template on top of the winglet and tracing out the template with a Sharpie.  I then simply cut along the marked line as close to 90° to both sides of the winglet as I could get it.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

Once I got the basic shape cut out, I then had to hand sand the new lower winglet to its final form.  I used the unmodified Right lower winglet as a general guide to figure out the shape & rounded contour of its edge all the away around the bottom outline of the winglet.

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

Once I was 95% complete with the Left lower winglet, I started on the Right winglet.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletsChap 20 - Lower winglets

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5 June 2013 —  I started out by finishing the shaping of the Right lower winglet.

I then shaped foam bases (from the original foam that the winglets were cut from & encased in when they were shipped to me) to mount the winglets to during glassing so that they would maintain their shape.  I screwed the foam bases to the work bench with 3 wood screws.

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

I mounted the lower winglets to the foam bases using 5-min glue & weighed them down while curing.

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

With the winglets mounted to the bases, I prepped them for glassing.  I vacuumed the winglets & tacked in a 1″ peel ply strip along the TEs.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglets

I the micro’d the foam, working on only one winglet at a time.

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

I glassed each winglet using 2-plies of UNI at ±30° bias.

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

I then peel plied the edges after laying up the glass plies.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglets

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6 June 2013 — I razor trimmed the glass on my lower winglets and then pulled the peel ply off.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletsChap 20 - Lower winglets

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8 June 2013 — I started off today by sanding the lower winglets’ leading, bottom & trailing edges.  I sanded the TE trough and filled it with dry micro.

Chap 20 - Lower winglet

I cut off the lower winglets’ fish tail & removed the peel ply & nails, and then sanded to shape.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

I transferred the cut UNI from my cutting table in my downstairs workshop to the garage.

I sanded the LE, bottom edge & TE for a smooth transition when I glassed the second side of the winglets.

Chap 20 - Lower winglets

I scrounged around & found 4 scrap pieces of wood as spacers & mounted them to the workbench with bondo.

Chap 20 - Lower winglet build

I then bondo’d the 2 winglets down to the workbench, using the scrap wedges to prop up the narrower bottom edges of the winglets so I had good solid platform at the appropriate angle to glass each winglet.  It also gave me clearance to wrap the glass from Side B for a 2 inch overlap onto the LE & bottom edges of the Side A glass.

I then weighed the winglets down while they cured.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

I used dry micro to fill in the plugs that were extricated from the foam when it was 5-min glued down to secure when I had glassed Side A.

Chap 20 - Lower winglets

I used micropaste with a little flox mixed in for my usual LE foam prep/fill.  Then microslurried the “field” on one winglets & glassed the 2-ply UNI layups (again, sequentially & one at a time).  Since I didn’t want to waste glass, on the Left lower winglet I started by laying up 2-pieces of UNI butted up against each other for the first layer, then covered that with the second ply which covered the entire winglet.  I then left the winglets to cure.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

Chap 20 - Lower winglets

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9 June 2013 — I started today by popping the lower winglets off of the wood blocks that they were bondo’d to.  Then I chiseled a bunch of cured bondo off the winglet surfaces.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

I then marked, cut & sanded the TE of both lower winglets.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

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16 June 2013 — After snapping some pics of the cowling, I then sanded the Left & Right elevators and the Left & Right lower winglets, then cleaned them up, vacuumed up the dust and took them down to the basement in preparation for getting packed up, shipped off and stored for a year.

Chap 20 - Lower wingletChap 20 - Lower winglet

Once down in the basement, I took another opportunity to check the fit, finish & look of the lower winglets “mounted” to the upper winglets:

Chap 20 - Upper/lower winglets test fitChap 20 - Upper/lower winglets test fitChap 20 - Upper/lower winglets test fitChap 20 - Upper/lower winglets test fitChap 20 - Upper/lower winglets test fitChap 20 - Upper/lower winglets test fit

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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!).

Cheers!

 

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