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23. Spreading our Wings


Me and my big mouth! Once again, I’d thought that we’d be building a wing the next day. But those holes took a LOT longer to line up and drill, and uncovered some discrepancies between the wing and aileron spars. We should have known better;  there’s only one way to uncover all the problems, and that’s to do it for real! Anyway, it meant that Rick had to spend the whole of yesterday sorting out these alignment problems and doing the drilling, so I got on with the tailplane, hoping to be able to get it completely finished, and Theo worked on what’s called the ‘centre cellule ‘ the bit of the top wing that fits over the top of the fuselage. By lunchtime, I reckoned I was all set to finish the tailplane, but soon after that we came across a little bracket which needed a combination of  welding and brazing that was beyond our capabilities, so it had to be postponed. I’ll be taking it home with me to get it finished of with Alan Hazeldine, the welder. Theo made good progress on some aluminium brackets inside the centre cellule. And by this morning we were ready to make a full frontal assault on a wing assembly. Did we do it? Yes we did. And here’s the proof. That’s virtually every bit of the wing assembled together. there are some long thin bits of wood about the size of a firework rocket stick but the full length of the wing to fit, and a couple of short wood diagonals, but that’s pretty much it. It gives one a huge moral boost to see a major part of the project come together, even temporarily. And we’ve also uncovered a couple of problem areas we wouldn’t have discovered any other way. The first of these is the aileron cable pulley, which sits just behind the front spar, and interferes with an adjacent rib. We think we can fix that without too much problem. In fact, there’s a bracket added to the original drawing in 1915 which may give a clue to how they fixed it at the time! More serious are those brackets we tested earlier in the week. When they are assembled in their proper position on the wing, they interfere with a couple of things. The first is fitting for the internal bracing wires. You can just about see that fitting with the wire attached to it isn’t sitting flat against the wooden spar, as it’s supposed to. It isn’t because the bolts for the other fitting get in the way (you can’t fit them the other side of the bolts either – we tried that!) In fact, the problem would be made worse if we fitted the sleeves to the bolts that are on the parts list, but nowhere else… That’s one problem. The other thing we can’t understand is that the fitting gets in the way of the aileron, so that it can’t rotate through the necessary angle unless we cut great chunks out of it.

You can get a walkround of the problems to date here

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