Sealing the Fuel Tanks – Part I

Today I started to seal the left wing fuel tank.  I decided to follow the method laid out by Rick Galati at Van’s Air Force.

The method involves fay sealing surfaces and allowing the sealant to partially cure before riveting.  It is supposed to be less messy, and after handling the sealant for a while, I can imagine that trying to shoot rivets with this wet material everywhere would be quite frustrating and sloppy.  I masked off the area around the stiffeners to allow for easier clean-up after a partial cure.  We’ll see how that works out tomorrow.

As it was, the method is (so far) not terribly messy, as long as you’re willing to sacrifice a ton of nitrile gloves to prevent spreading the sealant around too much.

Today I prepped and sealed the left wing tank inboard rib hardware (fuel flange and anti-rotation plates) and five of the fourteen tank skin stiffeners.  I could have done more, but had only mixed 55g of the sealant (50g Part A : 5g Part B).  That was just exactly enough for the pieces I worked on today.  Perhaps I could have been a little less generous at first and got another stiffener or maybe two, but it looks like you need about 10-11g of sealant for each stiffener, including losses to the pot and gloves, etc.

When I opened the can, my first thought was:  “Wow, that’s a polysulfide!”  And sure enough, it is, according to the manufacturer.  It has a rather rich aroma.

Here’s what I accomplished today.  More tomorrow.

The inboard rib hardware:

The stiffeners:

Easy Peasy Rivet Squeezy

I finished replacing the rivets in the inboard aileron bracket on the left wing that I mentioned in my last post.  They look much better now, and I will not be worrying about them anymore.  It is amazing how thinking about these has actually slowed me down for a while, until I finally just got up the nerve to drill them out and replace them.  I have replaced other rivets before, but I was nervous that in drilling these out, I would damage the aileron bracket and have to build it all over again.  I just jumped in and did it this evening with no issues.  Glad that is behind me!

After that, I clecoed the top skins to the left wing and prepped it all to begin riveting as soon as I can get a helper.

Right wing leading edge complete and shop cleanup

Yesterday I completed the right wing leading edge, cleaned up some shop area, moved the tail cone to a better storage location, and then made a test fit of the left wing leading edge to the main spar. The fit looked good.

I have one rivet I need to drill out and re-set on the left wing rear spar, and then I will begin the top skin riveting process.

Left Wing Outboard Leading Edge Complete

Long time, no update.  Rest assured, work has been progressing!

Today, after a long preparation period that involved tons of part finishing and priming (and receiving and inventorying the fuselage kit), I began final construction of the major sub-assemblies of the wings.  8 hours of work later, I completed assembly of the left wing leading edge assembly.  Tomorrow I plan to complete the right wing leading edge assembly, and possibly begin main wing top skin riveting.  Or maybe fuel tanks.

Hole cut for the stall warning system access cover.
Access cover plate doubler pre-priming
Test fit of access plate cover and doubler.
Left wing leading edge stall warning system access/inspection doubler and cover installed 6/9/2018
Left wing leading edge stall warning system access/inspection doubler and cover installed 6/9/2018
Left wing leading edge assembly and riveting in progress 6/9/2018
Left wing leading edge assembly and riveting in progress 6/9/2018
Left wing leading edge assembly and riveting in progress 6/9/2018
Completed Left Wing Outboard Leading Edge 6/9/2018
Completed Left Wing Outboard Leading Edge 6/9/2018
Completed Left Wing Outboard Leading Edge 6/9/2018
Completed Left Wing Outboard Leading Edge 6/9/2018

Fuselage Kit!

I completed the fuselage kit inventory today. Just a few discrepancies to correct. E-mail sent to Van’s, and I’ll be on my way!

 

I decided to use the Cee Bailey’s windscreen and windows, so I deleted those from the kit. Also, I deleted the Van’s aluminum heater boxes because I intend to use the stainless heater boxes.

I am very excited to begin the fuselage construction phase, but I still have some work on the wings to complete before I can really dive in! I have been making slow but steady progress on the wings, but I hope (and think) I can really accelerate things soon.

 

You’re Invited!

Open Invitation to EAA Chapter 68’s Picnic at Herron Airport!

https://www.flightsquid.com/event/3716

Please join us at Herron Airport on Saturday, June 16. This picnic will take the place of our regular monthly membership meeting for June.

Please register so we have an idea of how many to expect. If you can join the work party for picnic preparation on Friday, June 15, please register for the work party at the main registration link, below.

https://www.flightsquid.com/register/3716

We hope to see you there!

Dave
Vice President
EAA Chapter 68

More Pictures of What I Saw in Florida

I see I have been getting a lot of hits here recently.  I understand Dave Ruhf has posted a link to here on his Facebook page.  Thanks to Dave and to all of you who are visiting from his link.  As some of you know, I gave up on FB and social media in general back in 2012 or so.  I’ve found I am a lot more productive and less stressed as a result!

My best wishes to you all!

Again, please consider a donation to Aerobridge, the charity that organized the effort I took part in in Florida.  They are continuing the good work in the Caribbean, particularly in the VI and Puerto Rico.

Also, please consider Patient Airlift Services and Angel Flight East, two other worthy aviation related charities that provide medical and compassion flights to patients and their families who must travel long distances for medical treatment, but for financial or medical reasons, cannot travel via commercial airline.

 

Flooding in south Florida
Flooding in south Florida
Flooding in south Florida
A sailboat grounded in Southern Florida
Hurricane Damage on Summerland Key