A Stitts Skycoupe Restoration Project

The Stitts Skycoupe is also known as Stitts SA7 D

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Progress Report on the RV-7 Wings

THANKS to all that came out last week. We made great strides on wing number one. This week it looks like Wed's temperatures will be perfect for finishing wing 1 and starting wing 2. We will plan to start at 4pm. If you haven't come out yet read the blog for the taping sequence,Our resident nonfiction author, Kent "Hemingway" Misegades gave an excellent step by step of the operation, on the blog, which is essential to follow so check it out to familiarize yourself.

On the RV7 wings front, besides one wing being essentially done and one top skin being installed on wing 2, Joel and I continue to make good progress on the fuel tank. For anyone contemplating building a fuel tank, the cartridges of proseal are the hot ticket, especially with the mixing device we acquired (see below).

Proseal mixer - makes a terrible job less terrible.

Proseal cartridges - Yum!

Proseal two-part mixture - Yuk!

I received a good evaluation of both this week when I assisted JP assemble his RV12 tank this week using the quart can of proseal and the messy measuring it requires. By the way, JP's -12 is looking good! As a side note, I realized, as I was wiring up the fuel sender in the 7 wing yesterday, I have worked on an RV7,8,9, 10 and 12 in the past month or so. I only have the 3,4,and 6 to go and I have have worked on the entire Vans product line! Besides the wiring session yesterday, Joel and I managed to put in 3 or was it 4 sessions(don't remember lasting effects of MEK) last week(with help from JP and Noel), and ended up running out of proseal Friday night at 10pm. More tank sealant is on the way and should be here this week from Cali. The tank ribs are all in, the capacitive fuel sender is mostly complete, the vent line is in, and what remains is the back baffle, z wing attach brackets, and fuel pickup I know it seems progress has slowed on the 'Coupe itself but use this time to familiarize yourself with the myriad of systems that even a small aircraft, like the SA7 , have. It is an excellent opportunity to view the Orndorf Videos available from the vast skunkworks library. Also it would be nice if someone purchased and donated the all the Tony Bingelis firewall forward books to the effort. They contain virtually everything you need to know about this important aspect of home-building, and should be required reading. It is always about the money, and the funds from the -7 wings will really help to ease the finances on the Skycoupe.

As a final note be thinking about those expired biennials and long dormant skills. Don't wait until the 'Coupe is flying to get current!

See you Wed!


One RV-7 tank done! Ain't she pretty!

One RV-7 wing nearly done! Ain't she pretty! (No, it does not have a fabric-covered trailing edge - that's the Skycoupe wing in th ebackgroun - old tech meets new tech.)

Terry and Joel study the plans - measure twice, cut once!

Naked wing frame readied for the skins.

Andy and Terry hard at work on RV-7 and RV-9. Can you have too many projects?

Shiny new skins riveted on the ribs - starting to look more fly-able now.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Work Session 2/23/2012 - One wing taped

Nice warm weather allowed us to open our pots of dope and start taping the Skycoupe's wings.
On hand were Skipper Jim, Terry, Jack, Kent, Tim, Andy, and Chris.

With the expert guidance of Jack Phillips and Terry Gardner, the left wing is now nearly complete. We used three different widths of tape: 2", 4" and 6". The leading and trailing edges are done in 6" tape, the 2" tape covers the ribs and other critical edges subject to chafing, and the 4" tape was used on a few sections where 2" was too narrow and 6" was too wide. They are pinked on all edges (to prevent separation in flight should an edge come undone, very clever idea) and affixed to the surface with PolyBrush, mixed 3:1 with reducer. An iron at 250F was used to form the tape around edges, and a second coat of PolyBrush was applied over all tapes.

The order of tape application is critical, always considering the wind forces that would tend to pull them off. Tapes are applied in the following order on the wings:

1. trailing edge, 6" wrapped from bottom to top around thick trailing edge

2. 2" tapes over ribs, starting on the leading edge of the lower surface and affixed up to the trailing edge. Another 65" of virgin tape was rolled up to the trailing edge and taped temporarily. Two patches of fabric were cut and affixed around the wing strut attachment hardware that protrudes from the lower wing surface.

3. when all rib tapes are complete, the wing was flipped right side up and the remaining 2" tape was affixed from the TE to the LE, with some excess allowed to droop over the LE.

4. the rib tape overlaps by an inch on the LE and is then covered down the span with the 6" tape.

It all makes a lot more sense when you see it. It helps to have 2-3 people doing the work - two to brush on the PolyBrush and another person to lay down the tape, using pencil lines previously drawn to maintain straight alignment. Since the wings have a wide 5' chord, it really helps to have one person on either side. PolyBrush dries fast, so you can not wait too long to lay the tape down. And as Jack says, once it's on, don't mess with the coating - let it dry. Blobs can always be 'melted' off later with a bit of MEK.

One more point - before applying tapes, it is important to draw pencil lines where they will be applied, then brush on an extra coat of PolyBrush and allow this to dry completely. This prevents the coat needed for the tape to be absorbed into the fabric.

We were all pleased with the results, and if I ever figure out how to get the pictures I took off my $#$%#^&%!! new-fangled android phone, I will post them here, danged technology!

Above: Kent and Jim trim the pinked 2" tape prior to affixing along the rib lines of the upper surface of the left wing.

The wing's lower surface, tapes in place.

The wing's upper surface, tapes in place.

Below: Jim, Chris and Andy admire the work of the day, with nearly all tapes in place.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Update from the President

-Half the top skin is installed on the -7 second wing, and the tank fabrication is proceeding well. 2-3 more sessions and we will be ready to assemble, finish skinning and sell the tail/wings. These funds will add significantly to our Skycoupe coffers. Therefore they have taken precedence.

-The 6" tape came in late last week, that was needed for the final taping of the Coupe wings. I am looking at a mid-afternoon work session possibly on Thursday (high of 68). I will keep you posted. I know it is during the work day but to take advantage of the warm weather it is necessary to start a bit earlier. I will keep you posted, try to come if at all possible.

- The officers will be making assignments to the work groups this week. If you have a preference, as a group leader or member, let me know. We will consider it but the ultimate disposition will be that of the officers.As a member of these groups we expect the work group to relentlessly pursue the data required to make the best informed decision on each area. You should be the subject matter experts on your particular tasks and be able to logically defend your choices. We mustn't go to Abilene!

Thanks, Terry