Busy in the Shop

We recently finished making/deburring/priming all 180 ribs, 4 spars, false spars, rib attach angles, rib stiffeners, rib spacers, and cap strips… Whew!

Spring2014-update

We now are assembling our spars and are almost done riveting our second rear spar together. Riveting is, well, riveting (especially after months of what seemed to be endless deburring).

Next we’ll be learning to weld (again) so we can begin fabricating the internal steel components that go inside the wing.

While the blog and livestream are on hiatus, the airplane progress is not, so please follow us on our Facebook page for regular updates and photos.


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First Cleco: Tim to the Rescue!

We learned two important lessons about clecos:

1. Size matters (and therefore color matters)
2. Keep your EAA friends on speed dial

Thanks for the save Tim!

(the “ball-and-socket” demonstrated at the conclusion of the video is in reference to this video – in case you need a bit more humor today)


Posted in EAA, Spars, Tools, Wings | 3 Comments

Spar Plates in 8 Easy Steps

It feels so good to be working on something other than ribs.  Here’s a quick video showing how we made the 20 or so various spar plates for our Bearhawk.

These spar plates are made out of 1/8″ 2024-T3 Aluminum and will will be used to attach the spars to our fuselage (like a shoulder joint) and splice together our main spars (since the main spars are actually made up of 2 sections each).

These small pieces of metal are extremely critical, but also extremely simple to make. Best of all, they gave us an excuse to use just about every tool in the shop.


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A Pearl From Paul

While Caleb and I were bending spars, EAA Founder Paul Poberezny visited the Weeks Hangar. We seized the opportunity to have him inspect our work.

He picked up a nose rib, ran his finger along the edge, flipped it over. “Looks great,” he finally said. “Better than anything from ______.” (production aircraft company to remain nameless).

Caleb and I beamed. I then told Paul how appreciative we were that the folks at Weeks let us come over to use their brake because…

He interrupted me mid sentence. “Their?” he asked. The expression on my face made it clear I was confused. This was obviously EAA’s brake.

“Ours,” he said confidently. His eyes twinkled and a small grin crept on his face when he saw I finally understood.

He didn’t say another word, just gave us a thumbs up and walked away.

Caleb and I turned back to our work, amazed. “Wow,” we said to each other. That’s exactly the spirit of EAA. Thanks Paul for the reminder.


Posted in EAA, Spars, Tools, Wings | 4 Comments

Spinal Surgery (Spar Bending)

This was one of the most exciting and fun days of our project so far.

Since the spars will one day be the backbone of our wings, Caleb and I treated the bending of these spars like spinal surgery.  The only problem is that neither of the surgeons have ever done this kind of surgery.  Oh, well.  There always has to be patient #1.

Here’s the step-by-step making of our first spar…

We took our time, made plenty of practice bends, experimented with bend radius techniques, made more practice bends, calibrated the bolts on the 8-foot brake to make the bend as straight as possible, then finally strapped in the metal for our first spar.

It’s hard to explain the incredible sense of accomplishment when you feel this proud of your work.


Posted in EAA, Spars, Tools, Wings | 3 Comments