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July 2003
July was a slow month for progress. I picked up from last month by bonding on a block of balsa wood to the wing tips to sculpt the shape. The balsa gets cut down first with a band saw, bonded then rough shaped with a file. Micro is applied and sanded out. A final five-bid lay-up of fiberglass will lay over this form and extend into the wing tip joggle. From there I will cut out the lens shape I have marked and begin fabricating a lens joggle and bulkhead. Creating the wing tips is all eyeball. I am merely following the contour of the wing and extending it out about 2". I have measured out from the ailerons to insure that the distance equals left and right. Much better than stock!

Dave Saylor from Aircrafters brought out my removable windows to test the fit and do a preliminary installation with hot glue. The installation of these windows is so easy it's impossible to screw it up and takes less than an hour. The window gets trimmed and bonded to the frame. (That's the prep). To install, the window drops in position, gets hot glued (better than clecos for this task) and the hinges are set, drilled for clecos and then riveted. I am opting to bond in Carbon hinges instead of aluminum ones. This window mod is one of the best options to come our way and just to be able to remove it for servicing is worth the extra hour of build time.

My elevators still have a slight bow in the center and have proved to be a challenge to take out. I thought by heating the area and correcting with shot bags would work, but building up micro on the trailing edge is the only way to get them perfectly straight. Even though the micro thickness is about .003" at its thickest, I will overlay a very lightweight layer of fiberglass to avoid chipping and cracking after paint.

The elevator with the trim tab is another story altogether and I am continuing to build up micro and sand back down to get it straight. I found that by getting micro in the space between the elevator and tab will keep the trim tab from flexing while sanding and will prevent sanding into the carbon. After it has been corrected I will cut it out with a diamond wheel. More filling and sanding. Uggh.

A few other things got finished this month including my trim tab hinge release, servo release and fuel vent shaped like a real NACA duct. The leading edge of the wing had several low spots of 1/8" and is being filled with micro and blocked straight.

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