Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Little Dimples That Weren’t

Friday while Clecoing the W-1203-L skin in place for riveting, noticed the holes on the outer most nose rib appeared to be slightly off … I could see a little of the edge of each of the rib’s rivet holes when looking down through the W-1203 wing skin. All the other holes on the skin aligned perfectly with the ribs underneath except for the holes on just this one rib.  Even though the alignment was not perfect, a Cleco would still go through the holes. Unfortunately, this was the last rib Clecoed and it was getting late, so figured I would sort it out Saturday.

Saturday afternoon I removed all the Cleco’s securing that rib in the hopes I could get it repositioned … no luck. A tinge of doubt crossed my mind … do I move on or remove all the Clecos on the entire skin to reposition it slightly? Wait! … This is a Van’s kit, remember the adage “if it does not fit right you are probably doing something wrong” . Yep, I was.

Decided to just bite the bullet and remove ALL the Clecoes to reposition the skin and inspect the rib. In doing so, discovered all the rivet holes on that side of the nose rib weren’t dimpled. DUH! Amazingly, being the outside rib, I must have walked past it at least a hundred times in the past month and never noticed. A check of ALL the remaining ribs revealed no anomalies. Being totally disgusted with myself, Clecoed the now perfectly fitting skin back onto the left wing skeleton and decided to call it a day. To protect the guilty, no photos were taken.

Today was a cold one … morning temps in the teens which warranted warming up the DOG Aviation production facility with the dual burner heater my friend Mike loaned me. It did a great job of quickly taking the cold chill out of the shop.
                          Mike’s dual burner propane heater pointed towards the W-1203-L skin about to be riveted.

Much the same as the W-1201-L skin, the W-1203-L skin has areas that are not to be riveted at this time. Both sides of this skin are overlapped by other skins, so both sides are not riveted, nor are the leading edge rivets and the holes for the flaperon bracket assembly. Riveting began at the forward end of the nose ribs and continued aft to the rear spar. Everything aligned perfectly (now that all the ribs were properly dimpled) and the riveting went fairly quickly.
                               Setting the first flush rivet into the W-1203-L skin with the pneumatic rivet puller.
                                          Nose ribs all riveted and now setting the first rivet into the main spar.
On the home stretch … just a few more rivets need to be set into the rear spar and the W-1203-L skin is done.
                                                          The completed W-1203-L skin.

By the time the W-1203-L skin was riveted in place the temperature in the shop was around 50 degrees so decided it was warm enough to spray a little primer onto the W-1203-L skin where the overlap joints will be. Prepared the edges of the skin with Scotch-brite and Acetone, masked the area and spayed a light coat of the PTI zinc chromate primer onto the skin where it will be overlapped.