Tuesday, 5 July 2016

5th July 2016 - Left wing intersection fairing - day 5

For the last few days I've been building the intersection fairing for the left wing. As at today the structure is complete and the next jobs are to fill/finish the outside surface and install plate nuts to the fuselage side and screw-in inserts into the wing root. I'm using screw-in inserts to take a M3 screw. These only need a 5mm hole so will easily install into the 12.5mm wide root rib. These will be glued into place so there will be no impact on the rib's strength.
The intersection fairing is made from 0.032" aluminium sheet with fibreglass laid up round the curves. A slurry of resin and microballoons on top of the glass cloth was used to create the leading edge shape.

Friday, 1 July 2016

1st July 2016 - Starting on the wing root fairings

The intersection fairings to the wheel spats and leg fairings are complete other than final painting and screwed into place. I used rivnuts into the cowling, wheel spats and outer floor of the aircraft to provide the anchorage points.  I'll wait to complete the painting until all the other new bits are complete.
Next job is to create wing root fairings to fill the gap between the wings and the fuselage. To get ready to start this I installed the left wing to the fuselage - it still fits!
Then it started raining - typical.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

26th June 2016: Intersection fairings day 5

I've been slowly getting the intersection fairings to the point where they are now all made and finished to the point of priming. This has been a big job as expected. The approach of laying up the fibreglass over the clay works well but leaves the outside surface very rough. So it has been a process of filling and sanding repeatedly until a good shape and finish was achieved. The fairings are now looking pretty good and the next job is to fit some sort of captive nuts to the fuselage and cowling to allow them to be fastened into place but able to be removed for maintenance. Once this is done I'll finish preparing the surface and topcoat them.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

16th June 2016 - Intersection fairings: day 2

The first picture shows the clay used to create the former for laying up the intersection fairings on the right gear leg. The film is used to stop the clay drying out and cracking.

The film was removed from the left leg and wax applied to the area to ensure the layup of fibreglass would release without damaging the paintwork. Note the shim of aluminium at the rear to separate the two sides and allow the fairings to be removed and re-installed.

Three layers of fibreglass were applied using vinyl-ester resin. Once this had partially hardened the fairing was removed and the clay cleaned up. The fairings were then match drilled to the air-frame and will be allowed to fully harden overnight. This should ensure they are a good fit. Once I have done the fairing for the right leg it will then be a case of lots of filling and sanding to get a good surface before painting. I estimate this is going to be a full week's work.

16th June 2016 - The design

No sun today but at least that means it isn't in the wrong place for taking pictures.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

15th June 2016 - installing the graphics and starting on the intersection fairings

It has been a very busy day!

My wife's best friend Bonnie is a highly accomplished ceramic artist. However, on this occasion she had her arm twisted to apply her skills to create aerodynamic intersection fairings in clay between the wheel spats and leg fairings and between the leg fairings and fuselage - hardly the most glamorous task and certainly not the best working conditions!
I will then be able to lay up fibreglass over the clay to create then actual fairings. You can just see in the picture (click to expand) sections of aluminium sheet let into the clay which will create a gap in the back of the fairings allowing them to be slotted over the legs. Many thanks Bonnie!

Just when this was underway the gentlemen from thesign and graphics company arrived with the pre-cut vinyl for the aircraft registration lettering and the graphics. This has completely transformed the look of the aircraft however by the time they had finished the sun was in the wrong place to photograph the aircraft properly so pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.

31st May 2016 - Graphics design

Over the last few days I have been communicating with Paul at thesign and graphics company. This is a local firm (Wimbish) who do all sorts of graphics designs and have the machinery to cut vinyl under computer control. Following my confession that artistic flair was not my strong point Paul came up with the pictured design for the aircraft. The sweeping curves should break up the rather boxy shape of the tailwind nicely.

thesign and graphics company also do the installation so no risk of me leaving lots of bubbles under the plastic.

They will also be supplying the registration marks for under the wings - not pictured.