It’s taken a while, but the wings are finally coming together. With both tanks finally finished (there was a trivially easy to fix leak in the second tank in the corner where the tank attach bracket met the inboard rib… I just syringed some proseal into the gap and it closed up nicely), it was time to move on with getting the wings together. I had a couple of projects on the leading edges that I had to finish. While still in NY, I waited to finish the landing light covers because I didn’t want to finish them in the sub-zero temps. Well, here in Houston, it was a balmy 94 degrees. No more excuses. The fit is OK, but I feel that I could have gotten a better seal.
I was thinking about building over the 4th of July holiday, but instead spent a nice day down at the Lone Star Flight Museum. They had the B-17 open for tours.
With the lenses in place, I fitted the stall warning switch. I debated leaving this off since I’m planning to install a Dynon heated pitot with angle-of-attach sensing. However, it is such a simple device that will help more than hurt, so I left it in. I can always disable it or remove it if I find it burdensome.
With that, it was suddenly time to start assembling the wings. The leading edges are permanently installed (rivets for the ribs, driven rivets for the skins). I started with the LP 4-4 and LP 4-5 rivets that hold the inner ribs in place. It is a tight squeeze, but it is so much easier to do this without any proseal clogging things up. I used my father-in-law’s pop rivet gun here because it has a very narrow head which let me get in right next to the ribs.
Then I started to get the fuel tank in place. Here, I only have a few bolts holding it in place, but it really looks like a wing now!
Next week, I’ll finish the left wing (bolts and screws for the tanks and the rivets that I can reach for the leading edges) and get started on the right. I’m building a new wing cradle that can better hold the wings at this stage and prepare for riveting the bottom skins and applying the spar strengthening service bulletin. I’ll leave the bottom skins off until closer to wing attach point. It is much easier to initially fit the aileron controls, for instance, with the skins off. Same with getting servos and pitot masts and and other things fitted. It will move up the day to start on the fuselage as well!