Aerodynamicists love to claim that "the wing is the king", and they're right. No other aspect of an aircraft's design is more critical than the external shape, and internal structure of its wing. Ray Stits chose conservatively in both respects when creating the Skycoupe. It is a Hershey-Bar style wing of constant NACA 4412 section, one of the most popular airfoils of all time, with its 12% thickness and docile "trailing edge" stall characteristics. Some other famous planes that use the NACA 4412 include the Aeronca Champ, Chief and Sedan, Aeropro Eurofox (Andrey Piskarev's plane), Buecker Bestmann, Douglas Super DC-3, Evans VP-1 Volksplane and many others.
Yesterday, Saturday 6/18/2011, a small team consisting of Andy Thomson, Joel McLaughlin, Kent Misegades and Terry Gardner, focused their complete attention on repairs to the wing. Work included sanding excess from the leading edge doublers, rebonding two loose ribs, and adding quarter blocks on either side of each rib on the main spar. We have heard that the famous airshow pilot Art Scholl once flew a full aerobatic routine in a stock Skycoupe - this is one strong airplane, and ours was made a bit stronger by our efforts yesterday. Soon we should be able to varnish all wood surfaces, reattach the aluminum leading edge sheeting and prepare for covering. See our pictures here for details of yesterday's accomplishments. The next work session is scheduled for Thursday, 6/23/2011 from 4-8 PM.
Joel sands the excess off the birch plywood doublers fabricated by Chuck Borsuk and bonded last Thursday.
The plane's wide bench seat makes an ideal new parts depot.
A 12 gallon fuel tank is well protected from a 4130 chromoly steel tube cage between the firewall and the plane's panel.
Joel fills gaps and nail holes with T88 epoxy adhesive.
Ray, the perforated plastic flamingo, our airplane's mascot, studies a conversion manual for the Lycoming O-290-G engine that will power our plane. Thanks Konrad Schoen for loaning us this manual.
Brian White generously donated a set of Super Cub struts to our project. These will be cut down and welded at the fuselage attachment point, a fun project for someone. The same struts appear to be used on the eBay Skycoupe, N24132.
The freshly-primed landing gears, ready for their final epoxy coat of white. Between them are our new McCreary Aero Trainer tires, still in their shrink-wrap as shipped by Aircraft Spruce.
Ain't they pretty? Look what a bit of stripping, blasting, priming and painting can yield - the tough DuPont "Isuzu White" epoxy paint Terry used on the wheels and nose gear will last for many years.
Ray, the perforated plastic flamingo, comes equipped with JATO bottles and a NACA 442 airfoil. Tucker Gardner, Terry's energetic Boxer, provided Ray with his perforations.
Sand, sand, sand.....Joel, Andy and Terry make dust.
46 fir quarter blocks bonded and tacked in place. Fir is, in many respects, as good or better than spruce for aircraft construction, and a lot cheaper. Capital Lumber has a good supply of quality fir planks; only the best will do for our 'Coupe.
Below: Tailfeathers, ready for covering. The pleasing light olive drab color of the primer is almost too pretty to cover with fabric. Our Male Strip Team did an excellent job preparing the tubes' surfaces, have a look when you are next at Eagles Landing.