Lower Wings Progressing

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Its been a while. Despite not posting, building has been progressing. I had four weeks away from working on the plane. Its the first time I have struggled. I went overseas for work for 2 weeks then when I got back I was busy and for the first time I really struggled to go back and keep going. So I took a break. Slowly the desire returned and now I am back into it. It is really hard to keep positive and feel like you can overcome all the work you have to do. Any builders out there…..I know I haven’t finished, but I guess you gotta just keep doing little bit by little bit and reading BiPlane Forum to keep the desire going.

Check it out at…. It is such a wealth of information and a great community of helpful builders.

Now back to the wing.

Pictures first

The pictures here are of the current area I am working on. This is the wing walk. Normally you don’t have a wing walk on both sides however I am putting one in on both sides to assist passengers into the plane as they get in. The last photo with the words on it is a pic I annotated to ask a question on the Bi Plane Forum about how to round of the spar tips.

I am very close to completing the base wing. I just need to fit the wing walk ply, glue the wing bows then flip the wing and finish the underside fitting. Oh and fit the trailing edge. Should have that done by the end of next week. Getting close

After that – first aileron.



Lower Wings

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Work continues on the lower wings. Some pics below. The early steps for the wings, following the Skybolt builders manual is loose fit ribs, loose fit butt rib fittings, butt rib, then start on the three ribs that have the drag/anti-drag wires running through the spars.


The Wings Take Shape

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Once the crates were unpacked, I was able to get started on the wing assembly. I have started with prepping the two sets of lower wing spars. These are easier as they are symmetrical in the aerofoil shape the the spars are perpendicular to the fuselage – unlike the upper wing which has a 6.5 degree sweepback.


I have added the butt plates to the fuselage end and then laid the spars of the right lower wing into the spar racks. This takes a bit of time as you have to fit the ribs so that they slide onto the spars front and back, but primarily as you are making the wing exactly square on all planes. The spar centrelines have to lined up and the whole wing square.

Pictures below of the work to get to the ribs onto the wing spars. Next step will be to start glueing.



Finally the finished product…. the ribs are just sitting on the spars. Next step will be to start glueing.




Wings Arrive

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Finally – after waiting 14 months, my wings (kit) finally arrived. I just need to finish of some metalwork I am doing on the horizontal stab and elevator, then they will be put aside for the wings. This will be fun


Two boxes of fun and excitement


Bits and Pieces

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The good news is the wing kit leaves the US on the 8th of August. Until it arrives however, there is a number of things that I am trying to get finished off so I can focus on the wings when it gets here.

The horizontal stabiliser and elevator are out for media blasting and finish welding. They needed work as they are just starting to get surface rust just sitting in the garage bare and I want to get some primer on them. Thats what you get with humidity I guess.

I am now riveting the upper wing fuel tank. Should have that finished quite quickly but will wait to have it welded because I need to check the clearances in the wing and particularly underneath the tank to make sure the clearance of the drain/fuel line flanges are acceptable. I will build a drilling template also to locate the holes in the lower surface of the wing.

I am also still completing the second and last butt rib for the upper wing, which is different than a butt rib from the standard wing. This rib is a 1/2″ think rather than the standard 1/4″ and has the compression wood within it.

Finally I have been playing with the cabane struts, having been fortunate to scrounge some streamline tubing from a fellow builder in Canberra. Thanks Lou!!




You can never have too many clamps

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I remember reading on some build posts about the need for a large number of clamps. I have found myself drawing the same conclusion. I find every time I walk into a hardware store I pick up a couple of clamps of differing kinds as the use of them changes.

I can confirm, if you are building a wooden plane – they are your best friend. I must also say you get very adept at putting them on even with one hand.

Below is some pictures of the laminating process for the hand hold that sits at the rear of the top wing centre section. Most of this will be covered eventually except the middle which will assist the passenger in the front pit extracting themselves on the way out.


How to Make Ribs

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OK a quick tutorial on how to make wooden wing ribs.

Step 1: If you want to do this the easy way…. but a wing rib kit from Steen (if you are building a Skybolt) as well as the rib jigs. If you dont want to buy the gussets, capstrip and jigs – thats fine you can make them, but man that would take a lot of time

Step 2: From here I am using a rib kit and the jigs. Next step is to lay some Glad Bake into the jig. This stops the glue sticking. Then cut out the gussets from the sheets that come with the kit. One sheet per rib. It does take a bit of tim to figure out which of the 6 jigs to use. Once you have done a couple you can figure that out. You will notice in the picture below that the nose rib is already cut – another time saving from the kit.




Step 3: Trim Capstrip and lay it in. You will notice that you need to notch the fronts of the top and bottom cap strip to lock it into the nose rib infill. Trim the rest. I do the verticals first then the angles.

Step 4: Glue. Now once its laid in, I pull it all apart again to start the glueing process. I do one rib in about 35 minutes. Each piece needs to have glue added in the right spot in the joint starting with the bottom gusset, then lay the cap strip in then add the top gussets.

Step 5: Lay another sheet of Glad Bake on top of the ribs, ready to sandwich between the bottom of the jig and the perspex overlay


Step 6: Place the top on and clamp to hold flat. Once clamped drying only takes about 12 hours.


Step 7: Once dried and removed from the jig, there is quiet  bit of sanding that is required. What I have done is use a file with the jig in a vice to file out the spar location holes, then used a linisher to sand any glue on the outside of the rib. Any further removal of glue for example on the cap strip is done with a file.

Step 8: Once all of the ribs are dry I then joined them up to profile sand. This takes quite some time to get the profile of the ribs together so they are the exact same size and profile


Step 9: All done and ready for placement onto the spars