After a week of resting up my arm, I took the day to go to the shop to see what I could get done.
First up, I decided to tackle the patch we need to make for where the original upper wing skin got torn at the root. This was either in the crash (likely), recovery of the wreckage (more likely) or propagated from the non-existent edge deburring by the original builder (probably most likely, but no way to prove it).
I had previously stop drilled the end of the tear and trimmed back towards the root edge. Using a lid from a coffee can, I traced the approximate shape we want the patch to cover:
I cut the patch to match the blue outline. The line is an appoximation of the open space we are trying to cover:
Final holes to A4 size, deburr and rivet. I used an edging tool to roll down the trailing edge. This tightens the patch against the skin:
The final photo of the patch - nice and tight:
Next up was finding another length of 016 for the outboard nose skin. While rolling up the remainder, the coil slipped a bit, catching my finger with the fresh sharp edge.... ouch! Feel kind of stupid and should have known better to wear gloves. Fairly deep cut, but took more skin layers than anything and I was able to tape it up and stop the bleeding without to much effort. Just in a bad spot on my good hand. Learning as I go right? LOL
I didn't take many more pictures today, just wanted to keep working. Did manage to get the outboard wing nose skin cut to rough size and deburred. Next up I'll have to cut the remaining slot bracket holes and get both of these nose skins mounted.
One thing I did take a picture of though.... one of my rolled sheets of 040 that I bought last summer. I'm getting it ready to roll it out and cut some more parts for my 750 tail. This time I'll wear gloves :)
Thanks for reading, more soon :)
Finally got back to the shop yesterday and got some work done on the 701 wing repair. Looking out our window lately makes travel to the shop..... fun. Makes me look forward to having some flying fun on skis!
Before starting up again on the 701, I decided to have another look at the 750 cabin frame I picked up last weekend.
The edition 2 cabin frame was changed/updated to edition 3 by Zenith in an effort to increase head room and apparently allow for a design gross weight increase. From a Wikipedia defintiion, aircraft gross weight is the total aircraft weight at any moment during the flight or ground operation. An aircraft's gross weight will decrease during a flight due to fuel and oil consumption. An aircraft's gross weight may also vary during a flight due to payload dropping or in-flight refueling (neither of which applies to my 750 - imagine in-flight refueling... oh the places I could go LOL).
The changes included removing the diagonal tube that crosses the top of the cabin and replacing it with two shorter corner tubes at the front corners of the roof - these new corners serve the dual purpose of becoming hand holds for climbing in and out of the cockpit. Both the old diagonal tube and the corner tubes are made of the same diameter and wall thickness tubing, so when I make this modification, I won't have to buy new tubing, I'll just use the removed diagonal.
The other change I've read about is that a larger spar carry through tube is required for the gross weight increase. This is the major component of the cabin frame and where the wings attach to. It's the main structural component that gives strength to the wing-fuselage interface - very important obviously as I plan on using this plane off strip, also putting the 750 on floats eventually and definitely want that extra strength and rigidity. Some others that have done this upgrade to edition 3 cabin frame have noted their spar carry-through tube needed to be changed to a larger tube. That's a lot of welding.
The cabin frame I have must be a late model edition 2. I measured the spar carry through tube and it matches my edition 3 plans in both diameter and wall thickness! This saves me a ton of work and materials. Once the corner braces are done, this cabin frame is good to go. Good news!
Measured up the inboard nose skin for the 701 wing. We have to use an inboard and outboard nose skin due to the extended wing. I tried using the original damaged wing skin as a template, but like most things the original builder did, it's measured wrong. I decided to cleco the old skin in place to see how far they were off the plans (my repairs to the nose ribs and spar caps are correct to the plans now). Yup, they were no where close and certainly didn't debur anything.
Once the skin is cut to rough size, I had to start to do the figuring out stuff regarding the slat attach brackets. The goal is to make the slot just the right length and position for the bracket to project through. Think twice, cut once is what they say, but in this case it becomes think many times, cut many small times and think again until it's just right. Repetition plays well here.
I placed the original wing root skin in place - look how far they were out from spec. If it had been right, they wouldn't have drilled the skin rivets in the wrong spot on the ribs - they should be on the flat spots between the relief bends. The root skin is too badly mangled to salvage, a new and proper one will be made.
The upper skin now completely done and riveted. The last few will be done when the new root skin is made. We'll likely wait on this until this wing is mounted on the fuselage to ensure proper fit.
Was going to go back to the shop again today, but I've somehow managed to strain my right arm to the point I can't left a drill or grip a set of cleco pliers.. I suspect I overdid it when shoveling off our house roof the day before. Some say it's part of getting old. So today is a day of rest and recuperation.
More to come, thanks for reading!
Getting close enough to getting the 701 wing completed, it's time to start planning the rest of the tail group on my 750. That means ordering some aluminum!
I called the supplier (Aircraft Spruce Canada) and ordered all the 016 I need for the entire build, a sheet of 025 to replace what I've used from Ron and some elevator trim tab hinge. The plan was to go last weekend, but the huge storm that dumped on southern Ontario precluded the trip so instead we loaded up the truck and headed south this weekend.
We arrived in Brantford and convenient for the girls, an equestrian riding store is about a kilometer away from ACS. I dropped them off and headed to ACS to pick up my order and some items for Ron.
The staff at ACS are fantastic - I had asked them to roll the aluminum as small as possible in order to fit it under the tonneau cover of our truck and keep it out of the winter weather. They are masters!
In addition to stopping at ACS, I had been in contact with another 750STOL builder in Burlington - Ghazan Hieder. Ghazan has been slowly working on his kit for about 10 years and self admits that any upgrade that comes out from Zenair he buys, so when edition 3 cabin changes were announced, he bought the plans and updated parts, making some edition 2 parts available. He had advertised on the Zenair Builders website he was giving away an edition 2 cabin frame and windshield, so I made arrangements to meet up with him while down south to take possession of these two valuable items.
He was glad I called as he had hoped to find another builder who could use these items - and I was glad to take them off his hands. All the research I could find shows only minor modifications need to be made to the cabin frame and the windshield is another easy mod.
Ghazan also offered me an early edition nose wheel fork and nose strut - he'd replaced his with Viking steel spring mod, something I'm considering too. If I can't use the strut he gave me, it will work for one of Ron's 701 builds.
Brenda helped me load everything into the truck as best we could, but we decided to put the windshield in the back seat until we could work in the daylight the next morning.
With better lighting, it was easy to pack everything safe ans secure. I borrowed some moving blankets from a buddy and laid them out in a way to protect the plastic edges of the windshield and the sharp edges of the cabin frame.
Getting it home safely worked really well, thanks to Brenda's amazing packing skills!
Unpacking it all at the shop, here is a better look:
Needless to say, I am truly thankful to Ghazan for his generous donation. He could have just tossed these away (frankly I'm surprised no one else came forward to take them) but he didn't - he just wanted someone else to use them on an airplane. Estimates are hard to nail down because I have no idea what this stuff would cost to ship, but conservatively? I saved about $800+ by picking up these surplus (to another builder) parts!
One of the coolest things I've learned about the homebuilding community is how keenly interested everyone is in other people's builds and more importantly successes. I have or am learning the skills to make these work for my build and that works for me, whereas Ghazan is happy to build from a factory kit. Either way we share a common bond - dream, build, fly!
Thanks for reading!
January is definitely here! -32C today (that's about -25F for you imperialists) in the sun, without the wind. Brrrrr..... good day to be in the shop with the woodstove!
I thought we'd be on the road this weekend with the family, picking up supplies at Aircraft Spruce, but a major winter storm threatened to clobber southern Ontario and delivered over 40 centimetres of snow, right where we were headed. Glad we stayed home - we'll head south next weekend.
While I'm working on the 701 wing repair and making parts for my 750 STOL, Ron continues work on his Aeronca Scout. I hope to learn his methods for welding steel tube, he is a master craftsman. The rear fuse frame has been painted and the new wooden stringers are just about to be installed. Looking real good!
Got the trailing edge complete on the 701 wing. The plans call for squeeze rivets here - small ones!
With the trailing edge aligned, finger clamps are used to maintain the edges of the top and bottom skins. Spring loaded centre punch marking the location and spacing of the rivets, holes drilled and clecoed
With the wing now flipped upright, we need to strip off the last of the oh-so-pretty paint. The stripped works real well on the white, but the red primer underneath is painfully difficult to remove.
After 4 hours of applying stripper, scraping and scrubbing, the wing is now clean enough for priming once it is ready. I was so fed up I didn't take a picture. What a pain.
So far I've got 17 "standard L" blanks cut, so I used some time to day to bend them.
I made two test bends and used these as measurement jigs by taping them to the ends of the blanks. This provides the correct inserted depth in the bending brake.
Half an hour later, I had them all done and I'm happy how they turned out. They still need to be deburred, but that will be easier now that they won't flex all over the place. These are used all over the contstruction of my 750, so I'll score this under "other".
Spent the balance of the afternoon measuring and planning the installation of the nose skins for the wing. With the extension, we'll need to use two separate skins, one inboard and one outboard with the joint offset from the spar extension joint.
This will take some planning and some thought which I've started on. The end of this repair/extension is tantalizingly close.
Next weekend we're headed south to pick up some materials and parts.
Thanks for reading, more to come soon :)
In my previous post, I spoke of the standard 4 foot long L's that I have to make. There are apparently a lot of them, some sources claim up to 64 required for the plane, some as little as 35. They are simple to make and I'll need some quantity of them anyway, so today I worked in my downstairs shop to see if I could come up with a way to start producing these as I have some spare time.
I rolled my workbench out from the wall to give myself some room to work at the ends of the bench and locked the casters in place.
The cutting tool I made previously is perfect for this task (more information here).
The workbench already has some bolts I use for the drill press mount, but here I decided to use them as a front edge spacer. The first cut was measured and marked out on the aluminum sheet. Once I had the sheet in place, I was able to position the straight edge angle in the correct position so that the aluminum is cut to 36mm, the correct width for the "L" before bending.
Using the cutting tool, score the aluminum from one end to the other. Important note - if you are planning on using this method be sure you do not put any side loads on the blade - pull across the surface and let the tool do the work. Side loading the blade may cause it to snap. (Photo credits showing me doing the work goes to my supportive daughter Natalie!)
I found it took about 10 passes to create a good score line on the 0.025 aluminum. It creates quite a bit of "swarf" - the small pieces of metal removed from a workpiece by a cutting tool.
Once scored enough, I un-clamped the sheet and shuffled it forward - being sure to remove the front dog bolts - and placed the score line directly over edge of the bench and re-clamped it down.
To prevent the sheet from buckling upwards as I bent it at the scored line, I clamped down the edges and also held a piece of 1/3 on top
It took about 30 minutes or so to complete the first one and more like 10 minutes for the second one as everything was already set up.
I continued to produce these for a couple of hours and managed to make 12 in total. They still need to be bent and deburred, but I think this is good use of time and certainly cheaper than having the cut and bent in a machine shop. For now, I'll make up to 30 of them until I can confirm with Zenair the total count that would come in an ordered kit.
Here is a pic of the collected swarf (including some dust bunnies from the shop floor)..... more to come!
Ducked over to the shop tonight to work on making some 0.025 aluminum parts.
My original intention was to to start making the numerous (64? Are you kidding me!) 4 foot standard "L"s needed for my build, but I decided I wanted to accomplish something more tangible.
I cut out the 0.025 skin for the elevator trim tab. I'm going to leave it flat for now until I have more time to concentrate on bending it. It's a fairly complex bend over a narrow piece of aluminum, so it will pay to think it out well before committing to the bender.
Next I started and completed the wing spar tips. By laying them out opposite to each other on the aluminum sheet, I saved a some cutting and and prevented waste.
Once I had them cut out the next challenge was to bend opposite flanges with the correct web space between. Thankfully I had done this before on the 701 wing extension, so it was fairly simple.
After making the correct bends (I had to think about which side was which) I laid out the measurements for the lightening holes. Once satisfied, it was back to the fly-cutter.
Depsite my efforts to size the hole correctly, I had a bit of a rough time flanging the holes evenly. They will need a bit more work from the flanging die. Other than that they turned out real nice.
That's it for tonight, thanks for following along!
A quick glance at my countdown timer to the right of this column tells a scary tale of how little time I have to get this plane done.
Originally designed as a motivator, I haven't really been paying attention to it. Now with just over 400 days to go I really have to get moving.
After battling with a broken snow-blower belt on New Years Day, I managed to get over to the shop for a it of building therapy.
A couple of quick photos of what I got done on the 701 wing repair - getting so close to moving it into storage and starting assembly on parts that I've made for my plane.
Unfortunately, Ron was gone for the night and I couldn't find the right squeezer anvil head for these rivets, so it will have to wait until I can ask them. It's probably right under my nose, but rather than rush when I was tired tired it can wait until next time.
Going to order some more aluminum this week. I'll post more to my blog about that next time.
Happy New Year everyone, thanks for reading!
Back in the shop today.... a full day to get lots done.
Started the day by cleaning up some of the small details for the flap brackets and assorted attachments. Surprisingly, most of these are actually good (contrary to most of what we've found during this repair). All four original flapperon brackets are stripped of paint, final sanded (not done by original builder) and clecoed in place. Final riveting will happen when we align the flaperrons. The new fifth one is already for final rivets and paint.
As with the flapperons, the wing extension we've added will require the slats to be extended too, meaning an additional slat support will need to be added. But first, I had to assess the current ones for condition and fit.
It became very apparent that the slats were installed with the same random carelessness of everything else on this wing. I really think most of the holes drilled by the original builder were done blind.
Here is the first one I I looked at. Clearly not to plan specs. Don't think those two top rivets will hold much, do you?
Drilled them out and not surprising, the nose rib looks like swiss cheese. No way we'll leave it that way or try and drill new slat supports to match either.
We decided to add doublers on both sides of the ribs that require this (we replaced several damaged ones with new already) in order to sandwich things together and give us fresh material to anchor to:
Taking a closer look at the slat supports, we determined that these too were randomly sized. Stacking them shows this well, none of the holes align, let alone match the plans:
So, like a lot of other things, we are replacing these with new. This of course means making new bent strips that will support the nose skin and required slot for the slat support.
Making the bent strips was fairly straight forward and and glad they turned out well.
It's very important that all slat supports are aligned the same, both for aerodynamic reasons and alignment of the slats. To accomplish this, the plans show how to create a positioning jig that puts the slat support in the correct position and alignment for riveting.
The bent strip is added and pre-drilled for fit:
The whole thing is re-assembled back in the jig for final drilling:
Disassemble again, debur, re-assemble and final rivet:
Managed to to get two done in about an hour. The second one went easier now that I know the process. With the second in place, it's clear the efforts to do it right are paying off. There are five in total so three more to do.
A view from about mid wing looking out towards the tip. A closer look shows perfectly aligned slat supports - yes!
That was a good day of work. Next up is finishing the other three slat supports and prepping the nose skin.
Thanks for reading :)
I was talking to along time friend the other day who I hadn't spoken to in a long time. Like me he is a huge aviation buff and we know each other from our time with the OPP.
Inevitably, the topic of my build came up and I mentioned this blog which reminded me that I need to stay on top of keeping it current, especially if I'm suggesting others read it! The last installment was the culmination of my trip to the Zenith weekend - with that documented I can move on.
Lots of progress to report on the 701 wing repair and extension. The pictures are limited and maybe slightly out of order, but the captions will explain what is going on. This took place over several trips to the shop and a lot of head scratching over the past couple of weeks!
Skin back in place and pilot drilled. The fit over the flap pick up is real clean and tight. The new skin showing over the fuel tank bay is a replaceable panel. We'll be mounting it using riv-nuts (more on this later) that will allow future servicing of the fuel tank should the need ever arise. You can sort of make out the gentle folds that go corner to corner to help rigidity of the panel as there isn't much room underneath for structure between the panel and the tank. The panel edges also are bent slightly down to help tighten the panel against the surrounding wing skin when it's installed. Again, I'll try and get some more pictures when we get ready to install this.
Overall, very happy with the progress on this wing. Next up will be the nose and new root skins. These too will need slots cut in them for the slat attach brackets. With the extension, we'll actually be using two sheets as the wing is now wider than an standard sheet of aluminum.
Still some work to do, but excellent progress - very happy.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more in the coming days.
On Saturday evening, as everything was wrapping up I folded up my tent, packed up the car with my gear/stuff I bought (the long spars I bought from the factory just fitting from trunk to dash through the folded down back seat!) and headed to a local hotel for the night after saying my goodbyes to the Zenith staff, William and Dan from the Corvair group and the innumerable new freinds I have made . It had been a very long couple of days and a cheap hotel stay helped me catch up on some needed sleep and a hot shower felt good!
I was up (fairly) early Sunday morning, having enjoyed my stay but anxious to get on the long road home. I wanted to make it back to Kevin's in order to have a bit more time to visit with him and the family.
On my way east again, I tried again to get some pictures where I could but the drive to get back to Ann Arbor kept me focused on destination and less on the scenery. Other than gas and food, I had little reason to stop..... and it is just as flat and full of corn rows coming from the other direction too!
On the way down, I found Illinois less than convenient when it came to catching visitor centre entrances. They aren't very well marked and I found I was past them before realizing I did. So on the way back I tried to grab a photo:
After a stop for gas and a bite to eat for lunch (Arby's in the states is SO different than here in Canada), I was across the flat corn views of Illinois and into Indiana. I promised Kevin to keep him up to date with my ETA and decided to stop at the next convenient spot where free WiFi was available and a good spot to stretch my legs. By the time I got on Interstate 94 south of Chicago I was ready for break. A very well placed highway sign for the Indiana Visitors Welcome Centre at Hammond beckoned with the promise of washrooms, WiFi and good parking.
The first impression of this visitor centre is WOW! A very interesting architectural design:
As I walk up, I see a little bronze statue of a boy with his tongue stuck to a pole and I think, "Ha! That's a funny thing to put there!"
It never even donned on me, but Indiana is the state where a famous movie was filmed - this art was a tribute to a favorite family film:
I went inside and discovered that this building was also the Christmas Story Museum. I didn't have time to explore much, but the curator gave me quick run down of local sites that were used in the movie, all within a couple of miles of here. He was surprised at my level of knowledge about the film and really pleased to meet someone with a connection to Vincent Massey school in Etobicoke Ontario where the famous school and flag pole scenes were filmed (my Mom and her siblings went to grade school there). wish I could have explored more locally, but time was ticking and I wanted to get through more of the traffic before rush hour got into full swing.
My next washroom break was at the Michigan visitor centre.... almost felt like I was home, until I remembered I still had two and half hours to go.....
The rest of the last leg went without a hitch and I arrived in time for dinner and longer visit at Ann Arbor and a good night sleep.
Monday came early and I did my best to stay out of the way as Kevin, Wei and the kids prepped for their day. I had a shower, packed up my overnight bag and left mid morning, hoping to miss the inbound morning traffic through Detroit. I made a good choice and the drive to the crossing at Port Huron was good. I grabbed gas just north of Detroit and headed for the border.
When I purchased the spars at Zenith, I asked about bringing them across the border. The admin staff at Zenith issued me a customs declaration form which identified the items as aircraft parts that are exempt from duties under NAFTA (now called USMCA apparently).
When I approached the Canada Customs booth, the agent asked the normal gamut of questions (where, when, what, etc) and then peered into my window, looking directly at the wrapped spars sticking out across the back seat and up onto the dash.
"Anything to declare sir, particularly in the plain brown wrapper?" he asks - staring intently at the spars with a sly grin on his face.
"Aircraft parts, here is the documentation" I smile back.
We laughed a bit and I was on my way home.
A couple of stops for lunch and some more gas and I was finally home.
Here is a pic of the spars I bought. The camera doesn't do length of these justice and in hindsight I wish I had taken a picture of them in the car. I'll unwrap these in a future post, probably when I start the horizontal tail build:
I continue to be busy in the shop and I do have some pictures to share on a coming blog post that will catch me up to where we are today. Thanks for staying with me :)
Time until takeoff
Husband, father and 911 dispatcher. Long time pilot with a licence that burns a hole in my pocket where my student loan money used to be. First time aircraft builder. Looking to fly my own airplane.