Dad and I got lucky with some warmer weather in early February, so we headed into the garage to make some headway on the wings. It took five solid days of work, but when we were done, we were able to remove the wings from the jigs and get them into their cradle for storage. Of course, this was all made possible by many weeks of tireless work by Dad, who has been in charge of the wing project from day one.
We started by riveting the outboard leading edge assemblies to the spar. We’d read that many builders had used pull-type rivets in this area, since it’s difficult (or impossible for solo builders) to reach into the lightening holes to buck the shop heads. But with Dad shooting and me bucking, it turned out to be easier than we thought.
The image above illustrates one of our better examples, but the point is that there were only two or so flanges that we had to buck completely blind. Dad also filed down the “edge” of our offset rivet set as mentioned in Van’s instructions and elsewhere online. This made a big difference in keeping the set squarely on the rivet head.
After the leading edge was attached, we bolted the fuel tank on. This required a little bit of jimmying to locate the spar holes with the tank Z-brackets. After the tank is installed, we inspected the seam between the leading edge and the tank for even spacing and pillowing. As it turned out, the left wing looked pretty decent right away. We wouldn’t be so lucky with the left.
Next we moved to riveting on the top skins. Although the weather had “warmed up,” it was still only about 45°F in the garage.
Squeezing the bottom row.
The fuel-tank/leading-edge joint.
A bit of pillowing … or, as it turned out, indentation.
The end rib of the leading edge assembly is actually slightly out of position, even though it was pre-punched and match-drilled with the spar.
So, we drilled out the rivets and moved it. Of course, since the holes in the rib flange were now oversized, we had to install a doubler plate for strength.
The aileron brackets assembled.
Yep, we screwed up here too. While match-drilling the outboard bracket to the rib, I didn’t notice that it wasn’t quite at a 90-degree angle with the rear spar.
So we drilled it correctly and installed yet another doubler plate.