Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Left wing agitation

As if the hangar wasn't crowded enough already, I had co-pilot Rick come down and help me move the wing skins out there. I tried to move them myself, but it turned out that my Subaru isn't big enough for them to fit. I didn't find that out until I had hauled one of them up out of the basement, wrenching my back in the process, and found that there was no way to get it in there short of folding it up. Stacking them in the hangar in the gap between the RV-6's wing and tail was the only good place to put them. Unfortunately, it's going to make it prohibitively difficult to get the plane in and out of there on the off chance that we get some decent flying weather.

At least the chiropractor was able to get my back fixed up. He's getting used to airplane-building related injuries.

Despite the bitter 14F chill factor, I got back out to the shop this afternoon to get the left wing caught up to the right wing. The primary structural difference between the two is that the left wing has the nose ribs' back flanges riveted into the web of the spar rather than the back ribs' front flanges having that honor. That's a bit more awkward to do since the ribs aren't pointing up at the ceiling with the spar sitting flat on the work bench as they had been with the right wing. With the left wing, I had to get the rivet puller into the gap between the ribs and rivet into the horizontally orientated spar. It's a slightly less comfortable way to do it, but it went well enough right up until I got to the inboard ribs.

The plans go to pains to insist that the manufactured head of the rivet (the flat part, or 'top' of the rivet) be placed on the rib side of the rib/flange equation. This is intended to keep the larger 'shop head' out of the way when trying to put the rivets through the rib flange and into the spar. That looked to be pretty near impossible to me when I got to the inner ribs. There was no way I could fit that big rivet puller into that tiny gap. I was flummoxed for a few minutes, then I just decided to do the rib-flange-to-wing-spar rivets first. Doing it that way mooted any concern of the shop heads getting in my way.

I was pretty proud of the pragmatic problem-solving brilliance I had demonstrated with that technique, and I was still glowing with self-awe as I was performing the final step of inserting snap bushings into each rib. These bushings will guide and protect the wires that are run out to the wing tips to carry electricity for the wingtip lights that I'm not buying. ($1,300 for lights on a plane that I won't fly at night? Not worth it to me!) It's a simple matter of just snapping the bushing into the pre-drilled hole in the rib. It couldn't be simpler. I was dumbfounded, then, when I got to the last rib and there was no hole! Impossible!! All of the ribs are the same!

Well, that's true. As long as you install all of them right side up, that is.

The very last rib needed to be drilled out and replaced with the right side up.

So much for brilliance!

** in case you're wondering, PITA stands for Pain In The A$$

No comments:

Post a Comment