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31 Dec 1913. Wednesday.


It’s New Year’s Eve, but Frank, keen no doubt to get his ideas on paper, is in at the office continuing to get the details of the wing sorted out.

527 Aileron Front Spars 31 XII 13

528 Aileron Ribs

The aileron spars and ribs on sketches 527 and 528 stayed pretty much the same throughout the aircraft’s life, though the size altered when they redesigned the wing after the first flights. I’m slightly puzzled by the tiny differences in size between the top and bottom wings on 528. One of his starting points was to make top and bottom wings the same as far as possible for ease of manufacture, but the minute difference here is very hard to explain. The sloping ribs are the ones near the tips of the wings where they fan outward, needing to be made very slightly longer than the straight ones.

529 Wing Ribs sloping & at Aileron inner end

Sketch 529 is the first in this book to show the curious aerofoil section used on the wings, though I’m now convinced the earlier sketchbook will have described it in detail. There’s a 1914 article that says it was designed by Henri Coandă, who was Chief Engineer at the B&CA.

These are the sloping ribs again, and you can see how the ribs are made in three parts, with the flanges (we would call them capstrips today) running across all three and the ribs. When we were making the wings, it was difficult to decide whether to glue the capstrips to the three rib parts, and then thread the complete rib over the spar, or to glue the rib parts to the spar, and attach the capstrips afterwards. We chose the first, but next time round I think I’d probably choose method 2. It’s harder to do, and needs much more in the way of jigs, but I think you’d end up with a better job.

Did he go home to see in the New Year with his lovely young wife Marjorie? History doesn’t relate, but we hope she didn’t mind his being at the office such long hours.

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