Riveting Bottom Skins

November 3nd, 5h


The wing internals are nearly complete. So, it is time to start riveting the bottom skins.  First we start with fitting the skins.  The is a very small gap, about 1mm between the bottom skin and the fuel tank skin in the left wing.  It does not look concerning.  The Ri



Then we moved on to the riveting.  We started with the most inner ribs, working in an L shape, but access is pretty bad, with not much visibility.  After a bunch of trials, we decided to break for the time being, and continue this on a fresh day.

Wings Riveting & Tie Down Continue

June 5th & 9th 6h

In order to install the tie down rings, I needed to tap the tie down assembly, which went on pretty smoothly.

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Then, we continues on riveting the left wing leading edge to the main spar.  We continued using solid rivets.  Again access here is hard, but we made it work with 2 people.

We riveted all of the ribs, but the holes in the outboard rib turned to be too close to the flange, making access to the rivets very bad.  We tried riveting couple of those rivets, but the results were not good, so we are replacing those rivets and we are looking to modify the rivet tool or find some custom rivet tool for this rib.


Riveting wings

May 26th, 27th,  11h

We continued on riveting the wing top skins:

  • We finished riveted W702 Left
  • We riveted W703 Left
  • We riveted W703 Right
  • We riveted W703 Right

All went on very smoothly and the results looked great. The fit between the leading edge and W703 for both wings is great.



Then we moved on to riveting the leading edge ribs to the main spar.  We modified a pop rivet gun so that it can fit is tight quarters.  Then we tried to rivet, the rivet gun broke!  Then we decided to go back to buck riveting, trying to be as dexterous as possible in reaching all the rivets.  It was not that bad at the end.  It took a lot of effort, but we got the right wing done with solid rivets, which are way more structurally rigid than pop rivet.

We decided to leave the rivet of the leading edge ribs to the main spar for the left wing to another day.

So, we move on to installing the conduit.  This was time consuming and took a lot of effort, giving that the conduit diameter is larger than the diameter of the hole.  This is done by design to achieve close highness.  I did half of the conduit for each wing and the results look good.



Riveting leading edge and main skins

May 17th and 18th, 19th 25h

In order to move ahead with riveting the leading edge and main skins.  we needed to fix a couple things.

  • One of the countersink did not go well in the main spar.  I took a very conservative path fixing  this.  I filled the hole, re-drilled and re-did the counter sink.  In addition, I added a doubled to reinforce the 10 holes around the fixed countersink.  As well, I added an angle to attache the rib to spar via 4 holes instead of 2, which reduces the load in the hole with the fixed countersink.
  • The most inboard rib in the leading edge ended up having holes too close to the edge.  I took the conservative oath here as well.  I ordered new ribs and I re-did the work.  The new ribs look great.

Then I moved on to last items in the leading edge and the main spar, before riveting everything together, the point of no return:

  • I finished installing the stall horn with the new hardware and riveting it to the leading edge.
  • I torqued the tie down assembly to spec

Afterwards, I finished fitting all the main skins, the leading edge and the fuel tank.  Everything fit together great.



Then, after checking that everything looked great, we went on with the riveting of the leading edge and main skin.

First, we riveted the new inboard ribs to the leading edges.  This went great.



Then we moved to rivet the leading edge ribs to main spar.  There is two issues here.  One is that it is very hard to reach the rivets in the middle ribs with the bucking bar, Van recommends using LP4 pulled rivets here.  The other is that the ribs from the main spar get in the way of the rivet gun.  We started by riveting the ribs that we can access with an offset rivet set, but there was still a small angle that leads to the head of the rivet gun hitting the main spar.  So, it looks like going with LP4 rivets for all the ribs from leading edge to main spar is the way to go here.  But we are holding on doing these until we confirm with Vans.

Then we moved on to riveting the leading edge skin to the main spar.  This went on very smoothly, especially given that we can use the pneumatic squeezer here.  The results looked great.



Afterward, we went to riveting the skin to the main spar and skeleton.  We started with W702, moving from the center to outwards as recommended.  This went very smoothly and the results looked great.


Riveting leading edge, prepping riveting main skins

May 11th and 12th, 11h

After all the prep work and the priming, we are finally at the last stage of riveting the wing together: the point of no return.

So, before we get into riveting and finalizing the wing, we need to think of all the wiring, lights and avionics components that go into the wings.  This drove into a lot of research last week, these are the current options under consideration:

  • Heated pitot with Aoa: Dynon or Garmin.
  • Avionics: the choice of pitot tube will determine the choice of the avionics, given that I would like to go for a fully compatible system.  The current choices are Dynon or Garmin or AFS.
  • Stall warning:  I am going for the choice provided by Vans, the stall warning will provide redundancy since I have as well AoA with the pitot tube that would be integrated with the rest of the avionics.
  • Light:  most likely FlyLED, the open question is the position of the landing and taxi light in the wing tip and how would that be for lighting the runway and taxi way.  The other option is AeroLED.

We are still in the middle of making some decisions.  In the mean time, we went ahead with riveting the leading edges. It was great to see both leading edges coming together in one day, when it took weeks to do the fuel tanks.  Riveting without fuel tank sealant is so much more rewarding. The two leading edges look great:



After riveting the leading edges, we went into installing and riveting the stall horn.  It came together well.  However, we broke one of the bolts, so we can not rivet it for the the time being:


Then we went on prepping the main skins for riveting:

  • Leveling the wings to ensure that there is no twist.
  • Removing some the vynil paper that was not finished.
  • Attacking the skins.
  • putting rivets.
  • Adding tape.

One of the wings main skins are ready to be riveted:




Priming wings skins and leading edge

May 10th, 7.5h

First, I need to finish the last steps of the priming preparation:

  • Applying alumina prep
  • Rinsing
  • Applying acetone

Then I went ahead with priming:

  • Both leading edges
  • One remaining rib from each leading edge
  • join plate between leading edge and fuel tank
  • All the top skins
  • All Access plates
  • The of the main spar, back spar and ribs.  These need to be primed to protect the areas of the countersinking and dimple cleaning.

More Skin Prep

May 4th and 5th, 11h

  • Installing nut plates in the join plate between the fuel tank and leading edge: drilling, deburring and riveting.
  • Cleaning the dimples in the back spars and ribs to get more flush rivets in the skin, for both wings.
  • Counting winking the main spar for both wings.
  • Deburring leading edges for both wings.
  • Dimpling leading edges for both wings.
  • Deburring all the ribs in the leading edge for both wings.
  • Dimpling all the ribs in the leading edge for both wings.
  • Installing nut plats for the stall horn system: drilling, deburring and riveting.
  •  Smoothing the transition between the fuel tank and the skin, where the 2 skins overlap.