18 March 2011: I begin mounting the left flaperon. Since I assembled both flaperons at the time I was working on the right wing much of the work has been done. Today I drilled and clecoed the reinforcement brackets and came to a halt due to the fact that I'm out of Hysol epoxy. I waited too late to order more Hysol from Kitfox. My fault!
25 March 2011: The Hysol has arrived! I completed bonding and riveting the flaperon brackets.
27 March 2011: Mounting the left flaperon. From the beginning of this project I've obsessed about getting the rib spacing right. Now that both flaperons have been successfully fitted to their wings I can say that it paid off. (The pink ribbon marks a place that needs extra varnish.)
3 April 2011: Back to Work! I spend a few days away from the Kitfox in order to perform maintenance on the Cessna. Today I returned to the Kitfox and began fairing the left wing. I started by filling the gap between the tank and leading edge with Super-Fil.
8 April 2011: First coat of sprayed Poly-Brush. Painting with a HVLP gun is a new skill so I started by painting one coat on the top of the right wing. This was after painting a couple of cardboard boxes for practice. I'm pleased that there were no disasters.
15 April 2011: End of Term commitments at both of my teaching jobs keep me away from the kitfox. In two weeks it will be over and I'll have an abundance of time. Now and again I can snatch a moment or two. Today I worked a little more fairing the left wing for covering.
23 April 2011: Completed fairing the left wing. Applied the final bit of varnish. the next step will be applying epoxy primer to all the aluminum and steel.
24 April 2011: Tedious! As I've said before, the white Poly-Fiber epoxy primer doesn't brush well. This is the first coat applied to the ends of the spars. The second coat will give it a more uniform 'stippled' appearance. To me this is acceptable for the wing spars and other metal parts of the wings.
27 April 2011: Continued painting. This is going to take about a week and a half of work.
29 April 2011: More paint. Another pink ribbon marking a loose glue joint.
1 - 4 May 2011: Painting, painting...
7 May 2011: Bugs!! I was able to apply a second coat of sprayed Poly-Brush to the top of the right wing. It's Love Bug season in Florida and when a 'couple' alighted on my freshly painted wing I decided against painting the bottom. Fortunately the paint was dry enough not to cause a problem.
11 May 2011: Mating the pitot tube to the pitot mast. My plan is to install and plumb the pitot tube in a manner that would allow me to remove it and reinstall it during the final assembly. This will require an inspection plate aft of the pitot mast. I will permanently install the pitot and angle of attack tubing so that it can be accessed through the inspection hole and at the wingtip after the wing is covered. Today I marked the positions of the mounting screws on the pitot mast.
12 May 2011: After drilling and tapping the screws! I installed the pitot tube assembly. The screws are hardware store stuff. I will use better stuff at the final assembly. If it's necessary I can make small adjustments to the angle of the pitot tube with shims.
14 May 2011: Trial and Error: My plan is to lead the pitot and angle of attack tubing from the pitot tube, to the wing tip, and through the aft spar to the wing root. For now I intend to coil the tubing next to the outermost rib where I can reach it after the wing is covered and mounted to the fuselage. At that time I'll feed the tubing through the spar. Today I spent most my time thinking about exactly how I am to do this. More head scratching than actually doing something.
15 May 2011: I may regret it but I've changed my plan. I've decided to route the tubing toward the wing root, snugly passing under the rear spar next to rib 3. I put a lot of effort into minimizing chafe. Zip ties helped me position the tubing to keep it from touching the fabric.
17 May 2011: Yesterday I spent my time cleaning the shop, retrieving all my covering supplies, and waiting for delivery of a flaring tool from Aircraft Spruce. Today I was able to use the new tool to complete the work on the pitot tube. You'll notice that I left the tubing over length. I'll trim it when I do the final assembly.
18 - 20 May 2011: Covering has started!
25-28 May 2011: Preparing to Rib Lace! Linda and I first snapped chalk lines at the rib lace positions. I then started to apply the rib lace tape. Two rows of 1/2" tape side by side on each 1 inch capstrip.
3 June 2011: Doilies: An astute observer will notice some bubbles formed on the Poly Brush coating. Experience tells me that when this happens after the Poly Brush starts to set, leave it alone. Messing with it will only make it worse.
4 June 2011: Applied tapes to the top and bottom capstrips.
6 June 2011: A fix! 4 days ago when I coated the wing with Poly Brush an approximately 2 inch section of fabric detached over the bottom capstrip of rib #3. Apparently there wasn't enough glue and when it was softened by the Poly Brush it let go. Since this was in an under-cambered part of the rib it created a separation of about 1/32nd of an inch. (Due to the fact that rib #3 is adjacent to the tank it can't be rib laced.) Since it's on the bottom of the wing it would probably be acceptable to leave it as it is but it bothered me. Today I thought of a solution and took action. Expand the photo to full size and notice the "wound" in the fabric between the two scuba weights. I used a rib lacing needle to poke a hole in the fabric, I then loaded a syringe with Poly Tac and injected it through the hole into the space between the fabric and the capstrip. Clamping pressure was maintained by the scuba weights. (3 lbs each)
In this area on the top of the wing the fabric is glued to most of the tank. This makes separation highly unlikely. On the rest of the wing some will say, since the Kitfox capstrips are an inch wide, that gluing is enough to hold the fabric and rib lacing is unnecessary. My recent experience casts doubt on that assertion.
10-12 June 2011: Started the span-wise taping. Some hitches, progress is slow.
15 June 2011: Leading edge tape. As with the right wing I started by gluing the tape to the bottom of the leading edge. I then folded it over and attached it with a 1" strip of glue to the top. Because of the hills and valleys of the ribs and false ribs there are wrinkles that have to be worked out with heat. I've learned to give Poly-Brush plenty of time to cure before applying heat. I'll do it in the morning.
16 June 2011: It's morning! You can see that I was able to smooth out the wrinkles. After I coated the leading edge tape with Poly-Brush I applied the drain grommets. A little more heat smoothing and I'm declaring the left wing COVERED!
A Respite. I regret to say that I won't be able to go forward with the kit until mid to late August. Linda and I are buying a house in Titusville. The next six to seven weeks will be occupied with moving to the new place and preparing our place in Cape Canaveral for the market. (Anyone want to buy a townhouse close to the beach?) The good news is that I will now have a two-car garage that will accommodate the entire kit. A real bonus is that I'll be a couple of miles from another kitfox builder.
6 August 2011: Moved! The kit is now located at our new house in Titusville. I still need shelves. All the stuff that's on and under the tables will be on shelves. The tables will be stored and all that space will be work space. I'm in heaven.
14 August 2011: I'm back to work. I had originally planned to complete painting the wings to the third coat of Poly-Spray. However, it's August in Florida. The garage is 88 degrees mid-day and the humidity is like a steam bath. I'll work on the fuselage until the weather cools. Then I'll take a break and paint the wings.
You may notice that the garage door is new and it's very robust. Hurricane zone building codes. It was a bit pricy but, it's nice to know the Kitfox is well protected.
20 August 2011: I know! I have a fetish for building stands and fixtures. This time I'm making stands to support the fuselage. Two stands like the one illustrated to be placed at the fore and aft landing gear mounting points. And the tail stand that I already have. The plan is to be able to move one of the stands out of the way when the time comes to mount the landing gear.
28 August 2011: The control column is complete and ready to mount in the fuselage. I'm developing an uncontrollable compulsion to make airplane noises. The assembly manual states that installing the connect tube on the co-pilot's stick pivot "can be difficult to install." That's an understatement.
2 September 2011: The control column is installed! I have to confess that when I back-drilled the last bolt on the plastic bearing the bit emerged out the top a little off-center. I knew that getting it perfect would be difficult. The first bolt hole was drilled with a drill press. The second hole had to be drilled on site. The asymmetry is annoying but, since the control column is well aligned and functions well I'm leaving it alone.
Elevator connect tube: Some of the nuts are only hand tightened so that they may be easily removed to allow adjustment during the final rigging of the airplane. These places are garishly decorated with pink surveyor's tape to remind me that there is more work to be done.
10 September 2011: The flaperon mixer is assembled. For a few days I've been occupied with the Cessna. There were some issues with the left muffler that needed attention. But today, the problem is fixed. This morning Linda and I took turns flying the Cessna and I spend the afternoon working on the kitfox.
11 September 2011: I assembled and installed the flap handle and installed the flaperon mixer. After that I installed the flap and aileron connect tubes. Again the hand tightened nuts are marked with pink tape.
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