Velocity will begin building the wings soon. Instead of traditional antennas for the communications and navigation radios, Velocities use an antenna that is embedded into the wing itself. A wire is then run from the antennas in the wing to the inboard part of the wing where it connects to fuselage. The standard wire for this is RG58 which is similar to what is used for older Ethernet networks. I discovered that RG400 has much better characteristics in this application. It does cost quite a bit more but since it can’t be replaced once the wing is built, I decided it was a good modification. After discussing this with the folks a Velocity they agreed to install RG400 cable so I ordered enough and had it shipped down.
You may recall that when the airplane was brought back from PA, the
right winglet sustained some shipping damage.
Where the wing root meets the strake has to be finished. Here I discovered that there was a bunch of work required. In order to accomplish this task, I had to rotate the fuselage so I could fit a wing on. For the most part the fuselage has been sitting like this:
But now it looks like this:
And here’s me and my son Steve bolting the wing on:
Once I got the wing on I discovered a bunch of work that needed to be done. Here the front view of where the strake (right) meets the wing (left). Kind of a large gap. It should be about .030″.
Almost a 1/2″ inch gap here.
And here you can see the strake ends about 1/2″ forward of the wing.
Now to fix this was going to require me to take the wing off and put it back on numerous times. And much of the time building I’m alone so first I needed to make this easy to accomplish. So I build a couply moveable stands. Here’s the one for the wing root end.
By raising the cradle portion, I can insert some dowels and shims to obtain infinite positioning.
For the wingtip end I went low-tech. A sawhorse that sits on my wheel dollies. A true multi-tasker. Alton Brown would be proud!
At first I toyed with the idea of simply filling the void. But that resulted in a rather wavy seam. So I determined where the seam should be and drew a line. Here’s the rear of the joint.
Then I put a placed a straight-edge along the leading edge of the strake and marked where it SHOULD meet the wing and marked that.
Now how to connect the mark at the front to the mark at the rear??? LASER!
With the laser positioned to create a beam from the front mark to the rear mark, I had to perfectly straight line. You can see here that my attempt to create the line wasn’t exactly straight.
So I erased my first marks and created a line where laser indicated.
I have a really tough time sawing a straight line using a pencil (or pen) line. Malcolm gave me a great tip. Lay down some contrasting masking tape on the line. It’s easier to follow that way.
I made the cut and removed the wing.
Then put the wing back on (see what I mean about the on-off thing?), applied some duct tape (is there anything that duct tape can’t do?) along the inside of the seam and filled it. Here’s the result.
Then I applied a one BID layup on the inside for strength. After that, it was fill and sand, fill and sand, fill and sand to get the surface of the wing level with the surface of the strake.
Now that the wing is on, have no reason not to finish the repair to the damaged winglet. Here’s the winglet with another layer of filler.
And here it is all finished.
Now it’s time to mount the remaining control surfaces (rudders and ailerons). The ailerons come first. They’re six feet long. I start by squaring the cutouts on the wings and the ailerons and making sure the spacing is equal on the ends and that the trailing edge of the aileron matches the wing.
To hold the aileron in place during all this, a 7-foot long aluminum angle stock is clamped to the bottom of the wing.
Then the location of the three hinges (per aileron) are marked and the barrel area was cut out. While I was doing that, Malcolm was cutting the hinges.
I decided that it was important that the hinges be perfectly aligned. So I took the angle stock and clamped the hinges to it and clamped the angle stock to the wing.
Then the (unclamped) part of the hinge is held in place and holes are drilled into the wing.
Next foam is placed in front of the hinges to push them against the aileron (when it’s put it position). 5 minute epoxy is mixed and applied to the aileron-side of the hinge.
Once the epoxy sets, the cleco’s are removed and then we drill into the aileron. After a hole is drilled, a cleco is used to hold the hinge in position just in case the hinge comes loose.
Then the hinge is disassembled. Structural adhesive is applied to the hinge. The hinge is put in position and rivets are used to permanently attach the hinge to the aileron.
After the structural adhesive cured, we put both ailerons on and sanded around the opening to insure that they moved without any binds.
The procedure for mounting the rudders is similar to the ailerons… Just backwards. First the bottom of the rudders are squared up and the fit is verified. Then the hinges are mounted to the rudders with structural epoxy and countersunk rivets.
Then Malcolm held the hinge in place and with a thin piece of steel, pressed hinge against the inside of the winglet. While he was doing that, I drilled through the hole in the winglet into the hinge. Once the hole was drilled, a cleco held it in position and a the second hole was drilled.
A third hole is then drilled in each hinge.
These rudders aren’t really rudders in the traditional sense. They’re actually vertically oriented ailerons that can only be deflected in one direction. End result is that to get them back in the neutral position, a spring is used. The spring is embedded in the winglet. A one inch diameter hole is drilled into the back of the winglet five inches deep. To keep the hole from damaging the navigation antenna, it’s important to keep the drill laterally aligned. It’s also important to keep the drill aligned vertically so that it’s perpendicular to the leading edge of the rudder.
Then a hole saw drill is chucked into the drill. Malcolm will make sure the drill is aligned laterally. I will watch from the side tell Malcolm whether he’s high or low. Once the hole is drilled, the spring sleeve is sanded, the hole is coated with an epoxy/cabo mix and the sleeve is inserted.
Once this was done, the bottom of the rudder and aileron ends need to be covered with a layer of lightweight fiberglass.
Now that the rudders are mounted, the control of the rudders is the next task. The rudders are activated by a “horn” (basically a bellcrank) that is attached to the bottom of the rudder. But there’s a slight problem. The book says “Place your rudder horn on the bottom of the rudder.” But there’s no part number. Which would indicate that this is not a supplied part. But there’s also no template that is typically used to make one. A phone call to other builders indicate that this is supposed to be included in the kit. I’m sure that I could get the two horns shipped out to me. But where’s the fun in that???
So the first thing I had to do is make a template.
The rudder horn is mounted to the bottom of the rudder by means of a hardpoint embedded in the foam. But the hard point provided is a puny piece of 1/8″ aluminum about 1 inch x 2 inch square. I decided to upgrade to a 1/4″ hardpoint the covers the entire area under the rudder horn.
Then I filled the pocket with an epoxy/cabo mix, pushed the hardpoint in place and covered it with 3x BID.
Then I put the horn in position, drilled into the hardpoints and tapped the holes.
Not very impressive, huh?
Now that the rudders have been mounted, the stops need to be defined. This is what determines the “rest” position of the rudders. The stops are the outside trailing edge of the wing.
This is a picture of the pilot side wing at the bottom of the rudder cutout. The red circled area will be the stop. The other opening at the bottom has since been filled with foam and 1 layer of fine BID.
Normally, foam is inserted into the opening and a couple layers of BID are applied. but in my case, it was going to be a LOT more work. Seems the wing was cut back much too far. So here’s what we did.
First, the opening was trued up. The existing line was very ragged and uneven. Then we shaped foam for the opening and used micro to bond it in place. (In this picture, you can see where the opening on the bottom has already been filled.)
Then, the foam is trimmed back to be flush with the opening.
Two layers of thin duct tape are applied to the rudder where it will meet the wing and masking tape is applied to the surrounding area. Then the fiberglass starts getting applied. On the copilot side, we ended up with FIVE layers of triax and 2 layers of BID while on the pilot side we only needed 1 layer of tirax and 2 layers of BID.
Then the glass was trimmed and sanded to create an extension of the wing.