Missing instructions stop progress for the day, but Robby bails us out

We started off with a pretty simple plan for today. Get the wings ready to install and get the tail wheel finished. I started on the tailwheel by pulling it back off the plane and removing the stinger. I then set it up to polish with the barrel spinner and the belt sander running a Scotch Brite belt. With a quick shine established, I tried some of our new etching primer which worked very well.

Stinger primered and ready to paint
Stinger primered and ready to paint

Once the primer dried, I put three coats of flat black automotive enamel on the stinger and the reinstalled it. The part of the stinger that fit into the yoke slid in and lined up perfectly. The part that slid into the tailwheel itself was uber tight. I worked it back and forth to get it on and watched the fresh paint peel right off, along with the primer down to the shiny metal . It was that tight, but with a bit of L Bow grease I was able to get it on and bolted into place.

With the tail wheel back in place and finished (Yeah!) the boys and I wheeled the airplane outside into the sunshine. This was a rather momentous occasion, the first time the plan had been outside since arriving here in March. And it was going to spread its wings!

We bolted a lift strut onto the left wing and walked the entire assembly outside to mate it up to the airplane. This was simply a test fit, but the factory test fits everything at the factory and according to the instructions we simply slid the wing in place and put the bolts in. We’d already reamed everything and had all the hardware on hand so it should be easy peasy. With all three of us working, we lined up the first spar.





Argh! What the heck? We pushed, we pulled, we maybe even cursed a bit. No way was this thing going to fit.

Trying to get the spar onto the head rack of the fuselage, to no avail
Trying to get the spar onto the head rack of the fuselage, to no avail

It looked like the wing would have fit had we not added the doublers from a previous work day. Did I do something wrong? Were the doublers supposed to be on the outside? No, they weren’t on the other planes I looked at. We hauled everything back inside and I started pouring over the manual and my pics of various airplanes. Nope, we’d done it correctly. I admitted defeat and told the boys we’d work on something else instead, but not before I took some measurements.

Measuring the head rack on the fuselage
Measuring the head rack on the fuselage

The head rack was about .075 bigger than the space in the spar. There was no way this thing was going to fit. I shot Robby a text and we went to work on the push rod tunnel that protects the push rod in the baggage compartment, while also beginning the process of killing the 75 flies that had flown in the open door during the 15 minutes it had been open.

Eventually Robby called back and I explained our dilemma.

“Oh yeah, there is no way the wing will fit. You have to trim it to fit after you install the wing doublers. Only take the metal off the bottom, leave the top alone, other than to put a slight bevel to it.”

This was great news, because it meant we hadn’t done anything wrong. It was also very frustrating because there was NO MENTION of this step in the instructions, not any of the detail Robby shared about only removing metal from the bottom, putting a slight incline from outboard to inboard on the top, things like that. At least, if it is in there I couldn’t find it in three different readings of the manual. Oh well, we had to call it an early stop anyway because it was fathers day so no harm, no foul. Tomorrow we’ll trim the header rack and then redo trying to attach the wings. If that goes ok, we’ll then pull them back off and get them ready to cover in the stands. My friend Rick is coming by to teach me about wiring our ELT and then we’ll get that installed fully.

Today's to do list, with measurements of our header rack and ID on the spars.
Today’s to do list, with measurements of our header rack and ID on the spars.

Leave a Reply