Wing Lights Wiring

Time: 3.0hrs

I had installed the Aveo Ultra Daylight nav/strobe light for the right wing a few days ago so I figured I can use that as a guide for the left wing (since I don’t have the left wing tip yet) and decided to wire them both up with the TE CPC connectors.

I also wired up the taxi and landing lights. My kit came with the Kuntzleman LTR lights so I’m going to use those. I found though that the mounting brackets I have with my kit are for the standard lights so I need to see if I can get the correct brackets from TAF. In any case I wired up the connectors for the lights so they should be ready to go when I get the mounting hardware.

I used a 4 pin mini mate N Lok CPC connector made by TE. The connectors aren’t completely water tight and don’t really need to be, but they are IP67 rated so they protect against dust and limited protection from water.

For these lights the ground is a ring terminal that will attache to one of the mounting screws. For the power connector I just uses a spade connector and shortened the wire on the light light a bit. When these finally get mounted you need to use some thermal paste (hence the little bag on the mount screw) between the light and the mounting bracket to dissipate the heat I guess. Tested them and they all work as well.

Wings Moved and Wing Tip Light Installed (Right Wing)

Time: 1.5 hrs

The good news is the wings are safely in the garage on the wing dolly. The bad news is I have no room to work. The dolly is a little short so it’s hard to move the wings around easily because you can’t grab it anywhere to move it. I guess even if it was easy to move them I wouldn’t want to so they stand a less chance of getting damaged. Well hopefully I can work around it. Most of the work will be inside doing avionics mounted to the rib and shelf behind the panel. I ordered and received my GSU 25C and the temperature sensor so I’ll get that installed and wired up this week.BTW I have and extra GMU11 if someone wants one at a discount :-). After the GSU I just need to do the VPX and the radio stack and the windshield can go on.

I also mounted the Aveo Ultra Daylight nav/strobe/position light on the right wing. I don’t have the left wing tip yet so can’t do that one. I had previously made up the backing plates for the lights so it was just a matter of figuring out where to put it and drilling a bunch of holes. The Ultra Daylights mount with a 4mm pin and an M5 bolt (provided) so I installed an M5 rivet on the mounting plate I have made. I used 2 3.2mm countersunk rivets to fix the mount to the inside of the wing tip. I also drilled out a 3/4″ hole to pass the circular connector through that I’ll be using to connect up the light. I made the hole in the fiberglass 1/16″ smaller just to minimize any issue with the wires rubbing on the metal edge oof the mount, though this isn’t really an issue since the wires have a bit of a grommet coming out of the light and are fairly stiff at that point. The Ultra Daylights are non TSO’d, but there is a TSO’d version called Ultra Galactica. I’ve heard that some DARs require TSO’d lighting to sign off on the plane as IFR capable. The TSO’d lights are about twice as expensive so if that’s required I can always get those and sell these. The mounting holes are the same so it would be a quick swap out.

The mounting plate which will be installed with 2 countersunk 3.2mm rivets on the inside of the wing tip. The holes in the fiberglass are countersunk as well so the light sits flush, the rubber seal is probably thick enough to accommodate regular domed rivets, but the countersunk is better I think. Also will be using the circular connector to wire up the light so I needed to make a 3/4′ hole for that to fit. The hole in the fiberglass is 11/16″.

And everything actually lines up and fits…. Yay!

Fuel Tanks Installed

Time: 5 hrs

Today and yesterday I mounted the fuel tanks. All went along pretty well. I started by clecoing the rivets along the rib that joins with the wing. I then got the bolts in that attached the tanks to the spare. One thing to note to make it go a bit easier is to first run the bolts through the nut plates prior to installing the fuel tanks. A little light oil on the threads helps as well. This makes it much easier to get the bolts in when you’re working in the limited space in the wing. I also used a center punch to line up the threads with the holes in the spare and that also helped a lot in getting the bolts in. Once the bolts were all loosely in I went through and clecoed the 4mm rivets that run along the spar and also fit some rivets into the holes. Next I tighten up the bolts, not torqued, but just snug so that the tanks was pulled down onto the spar. I then pulled the rivets along the spar and then the rib that joins to the wing and then torqued up all the bolts.

The one issue I have is that I have very slight scalloping on 2 rivets on the top of the left wing at the rib that joins to the wing. This because I didn’t see that there was about a 32nd of an inch of space at the leading edge of the join. I’m guessing it’s caused by the joining rib not being exactly the same shape as the tank rib. The right wing is perfect so I’m a bit upset about it, but it’s not that bad. I didn’t catch it until all the rivets were installed on the spar so there’s not much I can do about it. Even so I don’t think removing all the rivets and pulling the tank down down would help because the tank is really as far down as it can be. I’m thinking I would need to unrivet the other skin and try to push it up a bit. I’m still wondering if it’s worth doing since it’s not that bad.

So the wings are pretty much done. I’m still waiting on the left wing tip. It’s been almost a year now. Hopefully will get the right (or should I say the “left”) one soon. So a bit anticlimactic because of the scalloping issue, but nice to know most of my riveting and priming is done. Now the next big challenge is to move the wings into the garage without destroying them. Then onto finishing up the avionics and installing the windscreen.

Tanks finally mounted to the wings. Yay!!!

Right wing has some slight scalloping on the top rib join. Not sure if it’s worth unriveting lots of stuff to fix it. I suppose I could add 2 rivets in between, maybe will talk to Jean about it. Note some of the rivets are filled but not sanded yet.

Left wing join came out great.

Right Wing Tip and Strobe Plate

Time: 2.5 hrs

Today I installed the wing tip on the right wing and made up some backing plates for the strobe lights. I would have liked to do the left tip as well, but I’m still waiting of the part from TAF. I believe it’s at Torrance TAF now, so I just need to see when I can get over there and get it. I also made up 2 backing plates for the strobe lights. I don’t have the lights yet, but I’ll be using the Aveo Ultra Daylight strobes. I had read that someone building a Zenith (I think) had equipped their aircraft for IFR, but the DAR only gave him “VFR Only” on his AC. When he asked the DAR why that was the DAR pointed at his strobe which were Aveo Powerburst strobes and said those aren’t “approved lights”. So while I guess you need to take these stories with a grain of salt I am slightly worried that since the Ultra Daylight strobe aren’t TSO’d then the DAR may complain about it. The nice thing is that Aveo does make a TSO’d strobe called Ultra Galactica which are the same footprint as the Ultra Daylight (they cost about $500 more though) so if I do have a problem then I can aways switch to those without too much trouble.

The wing tip went better than expected. The main issue was it was about 1/4″ too long. Now I did install the small aluminum tip piece which the manual says to install after, but I figured that I just needed to cut a little off the trailing edge to get the wing tip to slip in there. Looking at it closer it was evident that the trailing edge of the wing tip, even if I could get it into the space where it goes, was too long. I ground down the trailing edge of the wing tip with a Dremel and sanded. You can’t take too much off because you’ll get to the inside of the seam and the two parts can separate. I also had a bit of an accident when trying to get the tip on and the aluminum on the trailing edge piece cracked a bit right at the bend. I cut it off and rounded it off and actually it’s what made the tip finally fit well.

Once the wing tip was on, I checked that there was enough fiber glass inside the wing so the rivets would hold, I went through and drilled out all the holes, clecoing as I went. The fit is pretty good. I’m thinking I may add rivets in-between on the bottom of the leading edge to get ride of the scalloping in that spot and get the skin to sit better. I don’t think I really need to fill anywhere, but I’ll see once I’m done with those extra rivets.

Next was making the plates for the strobes. I don’t have the strobes yet so I couldn’t use them as a template. I was able to get the footprint diagram from Aveo online and then I just scaled the image in some image editing software so that when I measured the print out it measured 100.3mm long and 46mm wide. I then used that as the template to mark and cut a sheet of 0.32 aluminum.

Here’s how the trailing edge came out. I think the rounded cut in the aluminum piece really helped. I tried to thin out the fiberglass as much as possible as well, but you can only do so much.

It’s on and lines up really well. This is the newer tip with the area to mount the strobe light.

This is really the only “problem” area. I think if I add in 4 more rivets between these it will get the skin to flatter on the tip. The only place I may need to fill is the leading edge where there’s a small gap.

I made up my backing plates for the strobes. I put two small holes for the wire hole because I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do there. I’d like to use the small round connectors that I used on the tail strobe, but I need to make a 3/4″ hole (using the rear hole as the center) and it may be too large. So if I go with simple fast on tabs then I’ll just do a 1/2″ hole to get the wires and connectors through and use the other more forward hole as the center. In either case the pilot holes will get eaten by the larger holes. The holes in order from top to bottom of the plate are: 1/8″ for mounting rivet, 7mm for 5mm rivnut (strobe mount), pilot holes for where the wiring will run, 4mm (alignment pin on strobe), 1/8″ hole for the other mounting rivet.

The idea was to get these done and mounted and the I could rivet the right tip on, but when I looked at how the strobes will mount on the strobe mounting area I’m thinking it would be best to have the actual strobe light to see exactly how it will fit. The flat area of the mounting area is just barely large enough for the strobe to fit so just want to make sure I put it in the best spot.

Aileron and Flap Alignment…. Arghhhh!!!!!

Time: 13.0hrs

Well I’ve been going crazy over the past few days working on getting the aileron and flap aligned on the right wing. I haven’t even started on the left one yet. There are 2 challenges when doing this. First is figuring out if the trailing edges of the wing, flap and aileron are all aligned all the way down the wing. This isn’t too hard, but did take a few tries to figure out what worked best. The Second challenge is once you get everything lined up nicely and clamped down, how to do put rivets into the leading edge of the aileron and flap. There’s no way to get a rivet gun in there without moving the part and once you move it the alignment is going to be off… well at least for me it was… especially on the flap.

So for the first part I leveled out the rear spare and then used a cheapo laser level thingy from Home Depot to project a line down the training edge of the wing. It basically just projects a straight line laser beam for about 20 ft. I had tried to use string with some wood stand offs, but the string would sag after a while.

I used some white paper in the far clamp so I could see the line projected by the laser and more easily line it up with the trailing edge of the wing walk skin. You can also faintly see it on the aileron/flap join or use your hand or paper to see it better to check the alignment of that joint. You really just need the beam to set the alignment of the aileron/flap joint because the other sides you just get them to match the trailing edge of the wing itself which is easily done by using some clamps to clamp the two parts together.

The laser level I bought fit perfect into a 3″ clamp so it was pretty easy to hold it on the wing and make fine adjustments to get it aligned with the far end (root) of the wing.

I also was able to measure the slope of the trailing edge which for me was about 0.6 degrees.

For the next challenge I removed the part from the wing and put on the work bench. I started with the aileron. I put it up on 2×4 blocks and strapped it down on one end. On the other end (wing root side) I put the leading edge on a 2×4 block and then cut a piece of wood as a spacer so that it set the 0.6 degree angle that I measured when it was on the wing. I then strapped down this side as well.

Later after taking the photo I used short pieces of floor transition molding to clamp the ends if the strap rather then use the screw. This was done so I could pull the strap nice and tight then tighten the 2 screws in the transition molding so it held down the strap.

So with the aileron strapped down with the correct slope dialed in I went and started to ream out the leading edge holes. There were quite a bit off so you need to elongate the top skin hole and try not to elongate the hole on the skin underneath so the rivet holds better.

I put in 3 rivets and then fit the aileron back on the wing to check the alignment. Everything seemed good so I strapped it back down on the work bench, checked the slope with the level and reamed and riveted the rest of the leading edge. You just need to make sure to ream all the holes so that you aren’t putting any pressure on the skin to cause it to mess up the twist that is set.

After the aileron was done I moved on to the flap. I put in a few rivets and checked the alignment and all looks good so far. I’ll try to finish up the riveting tomorrow and post some photos.

UPDATE: 11/20/2019

Well it seems to have worked. Everything lines up great so now just need to do the same on the left wing.

Wing root to flap

Flap and Aileron

Aileron and wing tip. So happy this worked out.

UPDATE: 11/24/2019

This weekend I did the alignment of the flap and aileron for the left wing. I was thinking it would have been pretty similar to the slope, etc. as on the right wing, but it seemed a bit different and for some reason a bit harder as well. In any case the trailing edge lines up pretty well and all the rivets are in on them so all seems good. Next I need to fill and sand the rivets on them.

Started Service Bulletin #0014

Time: 2 hrs

A few months ago TAF released a Service Bulletin #0014 to swap out some of the aluminum rivets along the main wing spars and the center fuselage and replace them with stainless steel rivets. Since I hadn’t built the wings yet when the bulletin was released it wasn’t too bad to implant the fix. I got all the rivets in on the top of the spar and some on the bottom. I’ll have to flip the wing over to do those. Also I don’t have the fuel tanks done yet so I can do those when I put the tanks on. Additionally there are quite a few rivets to be replaced along the main spar section on the bottom of the fuselage that I need to do as well.

Since the new rivets are Stainless Steel TAF suggests dipping the rivets in the fuel tank sealant (Flamemaster) so that there’s no galvanic corrosion due to the dissimilar metals being in contact. Some people have also primed the affected areas as well to provide even more protection. I wanted to try to get the rivets on the wings done because for one it would help strengthen the wings if I needed to move them (without the fuel tanks) and also I wanted to use the opportunity to get used to working with the fuel sealant prior to building the fuel tanks.

The process went fairly smoothly and working with the fuel tank sealant wasn’t as bad as I was thinking it would be. I didn’t use the sealant gun that I purchased, but I did get some experience mixing the sealant and seeing just how messy this stuff can be.

In progress of installing the stainless steel rivets. It took a bit to learn just how much sealant to put on the rivet so you don’t get too much out from under the rivet head and make a mess, but enough to get a good layer between the rivet and the aluminum.

I had some issues with the rivet stems getting stuck in my riveter. I tried to use the large 4.8 tip, but it seemed to starch up the rivet a bit so I went back to using the normal 4.0mm tip. Also when I did the bottom rivets and was working upside down the stems fell through the riveter and didn’t get stuck. So not a big deal, just something to note.

Rivets installed and all cleaned up. I still need to fill these and sand them. I found that using a dry paper towel worked well to get rid of the bulk of the sealant that leaked out around the rivet heads, then a bit of MEK to clean things up. Also I found that a damp rag actually worked pretty well to clean this up as well, and then used the MEK to get the rest.

Left Wing Top Skins

Time: 8.5hrs

Finally got the top skins riveted on the left wing. After finishing up the wiring and testing the pitot tube electrical I figured it was safe to close up the wing.

I had a few holes on the rear spar that slightly didn’t line up (same spot as the right wing) so the holes needed to be elongated a bit. I had one area near the rear spar and skin join that I noticed some oil canning before I riveted it so I tried a few things to get ride of it like checking all the holes to make sure the rivets weren’t in too tight and pushing on the skin and reclecoing the section to see if that could alleviate the issue. Nothing seemed to work so I carefully started to rivet and see if it got worse or better. I riveted in such a way to try to smooth out any lump in the skin (that I couldn’t really see) and also tried to pull the skin a bit to make it tighter. The oil canning still persisted. As I riveted and was nearing completion of the area I though to myself that I’ll just need to drill out most of these rivets and try again. Then to my amazement I put in the very last rivet which was probably 10 or so rivets towards the root along the rear spar away from the section that was having the issue and checked the oil canning… it was gone. One rivet that was seemingly not even related fixed it, so freaking weird. I think that’s what makes fixing the oil canning so difficult. The rivet or rivets that are causing the problem could be not even in the area where the problem is. Frustrated and confused, but glad it’s fixed

Another thing I noticed and it’s kind of funny that I just caught this now (as I near the end of the riveting stage of the build) is that the rivets are not all exactly the same. There are some variations in the size of the rivets. I first noticed it using the 4.8mm rivets on the ribs. It seemed like a rivet should fit fine in a hole, but it didn’t and then I used another rivet and it fit fine. The same is true for the 4mm rivets, maybe not so much for the 3.2mm ones though. So what I got out of this was that if you’re putting rivets in the holes and the rivet is fitting a bit tight, rather then ream out the hole or trying to get the rivet in with more force, just try another rivet. In most cases if you go through a few rivets one will drop right in.

left wing ready to rivet

Both wings have all the skins riveted. Now I need to do the fuel tanks and the wing tips.

Left wing all done. Just have to fill all these rivets.