The Nieuport Log
Graham Lee 7/8 Scale Nieuport 11 Replica, Serial Number 01158
Updated September 26, 2005
September 30-October 1: Dawn Patrol Rendezvous
As detailed below, we got the Nieuport all ready for DP05 and had a great time while there. More details here...
September 26, 2005 (3 hours)
Today, I had the model shop guy at work cut out my firewall from 3/4" plywood.
On an $80,000 five-axis milling machine. No one ever accused me of underkill...
Here's the firewall after installation:
And then with the spun aluminum cowling on:
That's Captain Briggs in the cockpit, scanning the skies for his wingman, Lt. Stratton...
Finally, here's the Nieuport all loaded up and ready for the trip to Dayton:
September 24, 2005 (Updates for the past year, approximately 12 hours)
Today, I sat in my Nieuport for the first time! Back in April, I started doing a little work on the airplane again, and got the forward cabane struts installed over a period of several months of very occasional 'whanging.' By August, with Dawn Patrol 2005 sneaking up, I decided I'd better fish or cut bait, so I've been spending a little more time when I can.
This afternoon, the boys and I finished installing the landing gear and put some 'temporary' wheels and a tailskid on the fuselage, as well as installed a 'temporary' seat off of our deceased riding mower. It was a neat (and somewhat scary) moment as I climbed up and lowered myself down into the Craftsman seat, and was immediately transported back in time...
If time permits, I hope to have a firewall cut and installed before we head out Thursday for Dayton.
September 3, 2004 - Wayne Takes Wing
Although I've done absolutely nothing on the Nieuport since Dawn Patrol, Wayne has managed to beat us all in the air in his Seimens-Schuckert replica. Here's a photo from his first flight:
Way to go, Wayne!
September 10-14, 2003 - Dawn Patrol Rendezvous
We loaded the Nieuport atop the Crossley Tender (okay, so it was a Dodge Caravan, but who's counting?), and headed to Dayton for the Dawn Patrol Rendezvous this past weekend.
The event was fantastic! It was great to see some of the folks who have been such a help in my project at the show (Dick Starks and Rick Bennett in particular). I got plenty of new ideas for construction techniques, and had some nagging questions answered, too.
Chad and I went 'in costume,' and had a blast doing it. Seeing the rest of the AEF squadron was great too, and we're all pumped up and committed to pulling some major rivets before the 2005 event.
I had a printout of my builders log at the show, and it just about got worn out by all the folks stopping by. While my project was the least complete on the field, I think it was helpful for folks to see what the construction process is like on these replicas.
As soon as I get caught up from being away from work most of the week, I'll get back to working on those cabane struts.
September 8, 2003 - 4 hours
I took some of the mounting plugs to work today and pressed in the appropriate AN bolts. This evening, I finished mounting the carrythrough spar, and installed the seat support at sta. 97, plus the diagonal at sta. 97.
I cut two lengths of 1-5/8" tube, and will see if I can sneak over to the large self-serve fabrication tool area at work tomorrow and squash the tubes down. These will be the forward cabane struts.If all goes well, I'm hoping to have these mounted tomorrow night before I load the Nieuport on the van for the trip to Dawn Patrol 2003.
September 4 , 2003 - 3 hours
I pulled the forward longerons together, and made the upper spreader bar and lower carry-through spar tonight. Unfortunately, I must have forgotten to order AN4 nuts and the hardware to mount the spreader bar. I was able to temporarily install the carry-through (sans nuts), and also made the rear control rod bearing mounting plate.
August 26-29 , 2003 - 4 hours
Hey - action again! I received an order of AN hardware and aluminum stock yesterday, and took the rod stock into work today to make my small mounting plugs on the metal lathe. It's the first time I've used a metal lathe, and it was fun! All ten of the small plugs are done, and I'll try to do the large ones in the next day or so. (update - I completed all of the plugs Friday, including a set for Bill.)
January 8 , 2003
Still no work on the Nieuport (nor anything else but the house renovation, for that matter), but I did meet one Art Pearson up at Kewanee Airport, who has two (count 'em!) Nieuport 11s (actually, he sold one to another pilot at the airport, but it's hangared in the same row of T-hangars).I really don't expect much if any Nieuport work to go on until the house is done - hopefully by this summer. I'm planning to attend the WWI fly-in at Dayton, but will probably skip Oshkosh this year (too expensive and commercialized for my tastes any more).
June 30 , 2002 - 2 hours
The house THING continues to eat up all of my spare time, but as our church had a picnic lunch and early evening service this afternoon, I managed to wangle in some Nieuport time tonight (finally!). My aluminum wrangling was pretty much limited to cleaning the bird poop off of the table (got to figure out a way to keep those pests outta there!), and then fabricating and installing the diagonal braces at sta. 75 and 51 - so now my fuselage is getting pretty sturdy! The next step will be to make some plugs to install the cross brace at sta. 97 and then I can bend the front longerons together and get my firewall built and installed.
May 21, 2002 - 1 hour
Things have been pretty busy with the house renovation for the past few months, and my shop area has pretty much remained a disaster area until this past weekend when I finally neatened up a bit. Still have a ways to go, but the main tools are accessible now, and the Nieuport fuselage is sitting tall on the table with tail feathers (temporarily) mounted. At least it looks like an airplane again!
April 25, 2002 - 3 hours @ Steve's
I had to go to Georgia for the annual Home Educators's Conference, so planned a stopover at Steve's to work on Nieuports. We had a great time! We formed (mangled) Bill's tail post hoop and annealed Wayne's wing spars.
Steve brought in a new chuck for the drill, and it took longer to install that than it did to bend Bill's tailskid.
February 15, 2002 - All Quiet on the Mid-Western Front...
The move is done, and we're now based at a new 'drome on the midwestern front (Toulon, IL, to be exact). I have a 1600' grass strip out behind the house, and an 80' x 50' machine shed to house the Nieuport along with a few other projects. No work has been done on the 'bus since arriving, although I do have the table set up now (the movers damaged quite a bit of stuff unfortunately). However, my hangar-mates from the AEF have been forging ahead, and Wayne now has his rudder rigged and is almost done with his elevator rigging. Steve's elevator is attached, and he should be working on rigging from time to time. If memory serves, Bill said he's just about ready to put up a table in his basement, so work can progress. My hope had been to redesign this site prior to relaunching, but priorities have prevented that wish. Maybe sometime before the year is out.
August 30, 2001 - 3 hours @ Ed's
Due to the impending transfer of yours truly to a 'drome farther up the front, we are now frantically working to complete Bill's fuselage sides before I pack the family up to move to Illinois. We completed his right side fuselage tonight, and layed up the longerons for the left side. Since all of the gussets and plates are already done, this side should hopefully go pretty quickly. I also finished putting in the remaining lateral trusses on my fuselage, and am ready to start putting in the diagonals. If the schedule works out, I'm going to try to bring my completed components to the Creve Coeur fly-in at the end of September...
August 23, 2001 - 3 hours @ Steve's
We finally finished up mounting Steve's empennage tonight. Steve got so excited that he dug out his rudder and we bolted that up, too. When we left, Steve was sitting in the cockpit making Gnome Rotary and Lewis Gun noises!
August 9, 2001 - 3 hours @ Ed's
Bill came over and worked on cutting out all of his .080 gussets for sta. 117 while I continued working on my tail skid. I got the sta. 0 gussets all done and riveted, and then matched up the sleeve hinges on the rudder and secured them (so I already have moveable control surfaces on the airplane!). I finished up the lateral trusses for the first two stations moving forward. My boys have really gotten excited now that it's starting to look like a real airplane!
August 7, 2001 - 3.5 hours @ Ed's
Continued work on the fuselage assembly. I had tried forming a tail skid hoop earlier, and failed miserably. Went and bought a conduit bender, which worked better, even though I trashed another piece of 1" tube before getting one that worked. Made the sta. 0 gussets and clicoed the tail skid hoop in place. Note that I carried the tube all the way up to the sta. 35 lateral truss, which adds another point of triangulation and should make the assembly a bit more sturdy for all those ground loops I plan to do...
August 5, 2001 - 1.5 hours @ Ed's
Chad and I got the fuselage sides down and I made the two lateral trusses for sta. 97, taped everything together at the tail, and roughly squared the fuselage up.
July 26, 2001 - 3 hours @ Ed's
Bill came over tonight and we worked on his right fuselage side. When we started, we had the station 11 cluster clicoed together, but nothing rivited. By the time we finished, we had everything rivited up to station 95 - we have to make the special gusset that goes there, and then can finish up on that side. Having all of the gussets made up ahead of time made things go pretty smoothly... Before Bill arrived, I spent a few minutes finishing up the frame for the first rudder I formed that was incorrect. I'm planning to cover it and paint it with a German Iron Cross to hang in the boy's room.
July 24, 2001 - 3 hours @ Ed's
Completed the elevator assembly tonight - woohoo! You sharp-eyed builders will notice that I did not yet install the ribs to which the bellcranks attach - this is so I can adjust the angle of the ribs to match the cables when I start rigging. All the holes are drilled - all I have to do is fit the ribs and rivit them in at the correct angle (I did the same thing on the bellcrank rib on the rudder as well, having read where several builders had to redo that part to match the cable angles when rigged).
July 21, 2001 - 1.5 hours @ Ed's
Spent some more time working on my elevators. Slipped the sleeve hinges on the tubes and drilled all of the 1/2" holes in the spars to accept the ribs, and then rivited the outer frames to the spars. Next step is to install the ribs and button down the hinges.
July 12, 2001 - 2.5 hours @ Steve's
We had a full crew tonight, and worked on Steve's empennage. Well, actually his plane's empennage, but who's asking anyway? We lined everything up on the elevator and riveted the two ribs in the middle that the attach bolts will go through. We then debated for a while on the best way to set the decallage and decided to leave that for the next time.
July 5, 2001 - 2.5 hours @ Ed's
Wayne and I started work on my elevators tonight. I had received my 'sleeve' hinges from Robert Baslee of Airdrome Aeroplanes, and they're the cats! I already had my horizontal stab frame formed, so we formed the 'flippers', and my next job is to assemble everything together.
June 14, 2001 - 3 hours @ Steve's
Got to Steve's in the middle of a torrential downpour, complete with hail. We went downstairs, only to discover water pouring in through a hole in the foundation, so Nieuport work was put on hold for a while until we stopped the leak and mopped up the water. We can almost sympathize with the Dawn Patrol's KC flood now! Once the flooding was under control, we remounted Steve's landing gear and got the fuselage up on blocks to level it out. We spent the rest of the evening fitting the horizontal stabilizer, and should be ready to mount it the next time we meet. We held the upper wings up in place and made Gnome Rotary sounds, and spent a while talking about paint schemes and other fun 'daydreaming' stuff, too.
June 7, 2001 - 3 hours @ Ed's
Bill completed his rudder (sans bellcrank mount) tonight, and we also installed the first diagonal on his right-side fuselage. This is Bill's first completed component - way to go!
May 31, 2001 - 2.5 hours @ Steve's
Well, we thought we were done with Steve's aileron, but upon fitting the hinges, discovered that we needed to move a hole slightly (grin). So, we drilled out the rivets and reinstalled them in the correct place. NOW we're done with his airframe!
May 18, 2001 - 2.5 hours @ Ed's
We got more work done on Bill's rudder tonight, completing the spar and finishing the frame fishmouthing and fitting.
April 19, 2001 - 3 hours @ Ed's
Steve's airframe is complete! You can see him driving the 'golden rivet' on his aileron in the photo below. Of course, now all he has to do is put all the big pieces together, rig, cover, hang and engine, etc., etc., etc. Ninety percent done, ninety percent to go. <grin>
Bill made some good progress also, completing his rudder frame, and blocking in his fuselage longerons. Bill decided to build his rudder 4" taller than plan, so we had to redraw the pattern a little bit.
I got the spar and frame done for my elevator, and stopped until I can locate some sleeve-type hinges that I've seen on a few other replicas. These hinges slide over the spar, and eliminate any chance of the hinge rotating or coming loose (except for the actual hinge pin).
April 14, 2001 - 2 hours @ Ed's
Rudder v2.0 is complete! After a grueling run of about 8 weeks of 16 hour days/6 days a week, my work schedule has slowed down enough to allow some extra-curriculars again. After fixing the lawn mower, attemping to fix the garden tiller (and then ordering a carb rebuild kit), cleaning the garage and a few other sundry 'honey-do's, I pushed the Nieuport table out and bent some aluminum. This time, I followed the directions a little more closely, though... While the outline turned out a little lumpier than I had hoped for, it's still good enough to fly with. I split the difference between the 'stock' rudder height and the 'Turbo Intercooled Dawn Patrol' height (+4") and added about 2" to the height of my rudder. Graham and others say the extra height doesn't do much for you, but I figured I'd add enough to 'feel good' about it, but not so much that it looks out of proportion. At any rate, there it is. Now on to the elevator and top wings!
February 17/18, 2001 - 3 hours @ Ed's
I drew out my rudder on the table and proceeded to bend one up, only to find that I had misread a dimension, making the whole thing a wasted excersize. I fixed the drawing, but haven't had time (or energy) to bend it again yet... Overall, the Nieuport building has slowed to a crawl for a while here due to a heavy work schedule.
January 30, 2001 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
While Wayne and Steve worked on ailerons and horizontal stabilizer attachments, I annealed the spars for my first top wing half. Boring work, but necessary all the same. I got both done, squeezing them in the trusty old Mark VII Tube Squisher.
January 23, 2001 - 3-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Steve & Wayne came over tonight with some more .090, and we finished making the station 117 gusset plates and installed them, completing the left fuselage side (Tyler, my 8 year old son, helped me some earlier in the day - he really enjoys working with 'Daddy'). We're now ready to set the two sides up on the table and start putting in the cross-bracing... After a little discussion, we decided to start on my top wings at Steve's (since he's off the table now, and will be wanting to reclaim some basement space soon). While we're doing my top wings, Bill will start his fuselage on the table in my garage. And Steve will work on getting his empennage mounted and rigged. If I have time, I may try to knock out my rudder and elevator assemblies before Bill starts his fuselage on the table...
January 18, 2001 - 2-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Wayne and Bill came over and we did some more work on the station 117 gusset plates, finishing up the left fuselage side. I'll need to get some more .090 to make the remaining gussets for the right side, and will probably also add the remaining diagonal brace that goes up to the firewall (I guess I need to break out the Enigma machine again to see when this is really supposed to be done!). Bill also brought over his tubing stash, so once I'm clear of the jig, he can start his fuselage sides.
January 12, 2001 - 1-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Frank Wilcox, a Technical Counsellor with our local EAA Chapter (690), came over to take a look at the project and tell me if I was doing anything that could cause Sudden Terrain Impact Syndrome at a later date. Frank goes way back, having worked on some of the latest and greatest military hardware available in the 1950s, and has some great stories about those days. At any rate, SN 01158 got a passing grade from Frank. He even went as far as to state that I was going 'overboard' in a few areas (not that that's a Bad Thing, it's just extra work that wasn't adding anything but aesthetic beauty). He also answered a number of questions I had (and some I didn't have, too). Namely, I had been concerned about how tight and snug intersecting tubes should be. Due to the differing diameters, after you spend minutes perfecting a notched tube, as soon as you pull the rivet, it goes a little off-center and leaves a gap. Frank said that as long as the tube is touching, the gaps weren't a problem since the gusset is carrying the load. If I were welding the tubes, then I'd want them as close as possible, though. I had also been concerned with minor surface abrasions on the sheet gussets (where I pushed them into a jig to get the correct wrap-around curvature. Frank said not to worry unless I was planning to go supersonic. He said I could buff them out if I wanted, but it really wouldn't matter structurally. So, bottom line, I'm doing fine, and can proceed onwards and upwards. He suggested having me bring in a Tech Counsellor each time I complete a major component, and just before I get ready to cover everything. Woohoo!
January 2, 2001 - 2-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Steve came over this evening and we made gussets for station 117, installing one before we had to call it quits for the evening. Pulling those 3/16" rivets is pretty fun!
December 28, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Wayne came over, and after reviewing the plans and looking at some other builder's web sites, we decided that we were supposed to install the trusses up to station 117 (which is actually station 119 on my aircraft). We cut and fitted the diagonals for both sides, and also the twin vertical tubes at stations 119/121. Since I didn't have any .080" plate for the gussets, we taped everything together until I can get some gusset material.
Milestone: Left Fuselage Assembly Completed!
December 27, 2000 - 1-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Finished up the left fuselage side today - woohoo!! I duct-taped the two sides together, and spent much of the remaining afternoon making Gnome Rotary sounds...
December 22, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Continued installing trusses up to station 75 today...
December 19, 2000 - 3 hours @ Ed's
Continued installing trusses up to station 51 today...
December 16, 2000 - 4-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Today, I installed the first two trusses starting at the back of the left fuselage side, including the first gusset. I then scratched my head a bit trying to figure out which gusset went where, and in what orientation. After drawing a sketch or two, I figured it all out and then cut out all of the gussets up to station 97 and formed them to the correct shape. I also had to enlarge a couple of the access holes I cut in the table to fit the left side gussets. I should be ready to rock and roll with the trusses at the next whanging session... Oh, and I've requested a project visit by our local EAA chapter's Tech Counselor to make sure I'm not doing something that will end up killing me one day <grin>.
December 14, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
Wayne and I just about completed Steve's first aileron tonight - all that's left is to put the three attach tabs on the ribs and it's done. We test-fit this aileron to the other wing, and it matches up, so we won't have to build a new jig for it...
December 9, 2000 - 3-1/2 hours @ Ed's
Milestone: Right Fuselage Assembly Completed!
Woohooo! I finally completed my first subassembly, manufactured right in my very own home (for fun and profit!). I cleaned up the table and swept out the garage after removing the right fuselage side, and have laid up the longeron tubes to start the left side. Rather than building the fuselage sides on stilts (to gain access to the gussets for riveting), I cut some pretty ugly holes in my table (ouch!) with a Saws-all, which made assembly pretty easy. All I have to do for the left side is put the gussets in from below (using Anti-gravityTM).
November 30, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
More work on the aileron tonight. Formed perimeter tube, drilled mount holes and cut and fit ribs. We have to order more hardware for the hinges before we go any farther, though.
November 21, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
Steve and the gang completed his top wing last week, so tonight, we set up the jig to build the ailerons. This is getting pretty exciting!
October 22, 2000 - 2 hours @ Ed's
Installed trusses and gussets up to station 75 on the right side. Changed construction method so that truss tubes no longer overlap each other (except where three come together).
October 11, 2000 - 1 hour @ Ed's
Finished installing holes in my table for gussett access, and made another tube and gussett for station 22.5.
October 7, 2000 - AirFair 2000 & 1 hour @ Ed's
Today was our EAA chapter's (690) annual AirFair at Gwinnett Co. Airport. The weather was nice, but the crowds were a bit thinner than last year. This was my third year running the "Junior Homebuilder's Corner," where we helped kids make paper airplanes to fly in distance competitions. Ron Mulvaney, a recent addition to the chapter, brought out his VW Type 4-powered Fokker D-8, which is almost done, and really nice! Now we'll have something to shoot at when we get done. We're debating on whether to let Ron become a member of the AEF, even if he does fly a Hun plane...
Steve had his Nieuport there, and was kept busy all day talking to people about it, and letting kids 'fly' it for a few minutes.
After the event, I was somewhat pumped, and dusted off the tools and put in my first truss tube on my fuselage. This was significant, because it was the first assembly I've done on my own in my own garage (everything else has been done at Steve's so far).
I spent the rest of my hour cutting holes in my table to allow for access to all of the gusset plates as they are installed. I'll be able to build both sides of the fuselage in the same jig just by reversing the direction of the gussets on the other side. Wish I had a router to cut the holes, though - the Saws-all doesn't make very pretty holes, but it gets the job done - and quick!
October 5, 2000 - 2 hours @ Steve's
Steve, Bill and I continued work on the upper left wing tonight, completing the wingtip construction. We also removed the gear from Steve's plane in preparation for transport to the EAA690 AirFair this weekend. We also installed Steve's new moped tires on the plane, which makes for a more authentic look.
September 29 - October 1, 2000 - Dawn Patrol 2000
Chad and I drove to Dayton, Ohio for the third Dawn Patrol Rendezvous at Wright-Patterson AFB. It was fabulous! There were over a half-dozen Nieuports, plus a pair of Fokker Triplanes, SE-5s and a few others. The re-enactors were great, and there was a large complement of antique cars from pre-1919 days.
September 28, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
Steve & the guys finished up his first top wing last week, and got started on the left wing. Tonight, Steve and I completed the compression tubes and got everything ready to install the cross-bracing wires. It's moving along much faster now!
September 14, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
I couldn't make it the past couple of whanging sessions, and the guys really cranked out. The top right wing is getting very close to completion - we're working on the aileron caps at this time. Wayne and I were the only whangers tonight, so we pushed on with the caps...
We decided to make the caps in three sections in order to make forming it easier. For those with a large break press, it would probably be just as easy and neater to do them in one piece as per plans. We also decided to add a stub rib at the point where the aileron starts rather than forming a sheet cap to cover the gap.
We got the first of the three cap sections done, plus the stub rib, and it looks mahvelous!
September 5, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
We're rockin' and rollin' now! On a whim (or perhaps it was trapped gas), I bought a spindle sander and did a few quick tests using it to fishmouth tubing. Works like a charm, and saves 5-10 minutes of work per fishmouth. We formed and positioned the trailing edge tonight, and installed rib that goes next to the aileron, plus the outermost rib. While the guys were doing that, I formed and fishmouthed all of the rest of the ribs. We should hopefully be done with this wing in the next session or two!
August 30, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
We finished the internal bracing/rigging on the top right wing tonight. We've decided that the top wing construction is about the most complicated and under-documented portion of the project so far. Much head scratching and pondering has accompanied this phase. We figure the second half of the wing will take about 3 hours to do, compared to the 15-20 it's taken us to get this far on the first half. Oh, and we also fitted the first bottom rib...
August 28, 2000 - 1/2 hour @ Ed's
Just finished reading Stark's book again - always good for a laugh and N11 pick-me-up... I managed to sneak in a bit of time to cut out my first fuselage gusset today and bent it to fit around station 11-ish. Still need to cut holes in my table for rivet access.
August 24, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
Long hiatus this time - my business has been getting too busy lately! We managed to get the leading edge installed on Steve's wing tonight, after quite a bit of head scratching. We are definitely in the 'wild blue yonder' with this wing! I think we're about ready to install the internal cable bracing in the wing.
July 7, 2000 - 1/2 hour @ Ed's
Really tired tonight after spending two days helping my brother move... Whacked out the first diagonal tube for the fuselage and got it fitted in. Since I don't have gusset material yet, I can't go any farther. One thing I'll need to do is get the jigsaw out and cut out holes in the table (ouch!) for access to the rivet locations.
June 29, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's & Ed's
We started out at Steve's tonight, bending the ribs for Bill's plane. Since that only took all of 15 minutes or so, we packed up a supply of tubing from my stash and headed to the hinterlands for some exciting fuselage construction activities! I had finished papering my table earlier in the afternoon, so after some head scratching, we started drawing out the key reference points on the table and then positioned the 7/8" and 3/4" longeron tubes in place.
Graham had given me some suggestions for minor modifications to the fuselage to better accomodate my lanky self (6'-5"), so we had to account for this in the layouts. Since Bill will be building his fuselage on the same table, and he's nowhere close to 6'-5", we also marked the "standard" locations for later use.
We finished up by mounting blocks to hold everything in place (and to hopefully ensure that the second half of the fuselage ends up somewhat similar to the first half!).
June 22, 2000 - 3-1/2 hours @ Ed's (my place!)
Tonight was "Table Night." Since it will be months before I can start on my top wings (I rotated to the last in line this time), and, since Steve is out on vacation for the next two weeks, I managed to talk everyone else (all two of them) into helping me build a fuselage jigging table. We got about 80% of the table done tonight, which was encouraging. I designed the table with casters so I can move it around to accomodate other garage usage patterns (oil changes, other major time-consuming projects, etc.). I also added hanger brackets underneath for tube storage. The table is 14' x 4' in dimension, which is large enough to build the fuselage, plus the top wings if I get to that point before the table at Steve's becomes available (doubtful!).
June 15, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
In a rare move, I managed a second 'whanging' session in one week! We did quite a bit of head scratching again tonight, as we realized that the plans had no dimensions indicated anywhere to show where the top wing ribs go. So, we ended up guessing, and the readjusting a little bit. We at least got everything drawn out on the jig, though.
Steve has also placed a new order for more materials, so until they show up, we're kind of stopped for the minute on the top wings. The tentative plan is to have the next session at my house and build my fuselage jig table so I can start working on that.
June 13, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
Tonight was "Rib Night" in the AEF Skunkwerks facility. We formed three full sets of upper ribs (Bill forgot to bring his 1/2" tubing - bummer). I also went through and made a list of additional tubing I'll need to get the fuselage underway. We're pretty pumped, as the top wings seem to be coming together quite nicely so far... My stack of parts is starting to remind me of the Noon Patrol!
June 6, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
I've officially started on my fuselage! Bill and I marked out our forward longeron tubes, and, using the "Mark XVIII Longeron Forming Tool," bent them to the correct curvature. Per Graham Lee's instructions, I've added about 4" to the length of my fuselage in order to better accomodate my lanky frame. Meanwhile, Steve and Wayne did more prodigious head-scratching and managed to get Steve's top wing fittings pretty far along. The only problem was that we ran out of correct sized bolts and washers, so work kind of came to a halt prematurely. My next task will be to build a fuselage assembly table at home so I can work on the fuselage while we're working on the top wings at Steve's. With any luck, I'll be able to catch up a ways to Wayne & Steve by the time we start building my top wings.
May 31, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
After getting some good feedback from Graham Lee, the designer of the Nieuport 11 replica, we feel like we sort of know what to do with the top wing construction now. Dan Beggs, a new EAA690 member, came to watch us whang and scratch our heads, which we did in abundance. It ended up being a productive evening, as we got all of the compression tubes cut and fit, as well as the bracing wire tangs bent and fitted. Once everything is bolted up, we'll have a strong, almost wing-like structure!
May 23, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
We had a full crew tonight, and spent the time working on laying out Steve's upper wing. While we puzzled away at the somewhat cryptic drawings in the plans, Steve cut and formed his wingtip tubing (after annealing and squishing the trailing edge spar). We weren't able to agree on how exactly the compression tubes that hold the leading and trailing edge spars together were supposed to go, so we decided to hold off for next week and post to the Nieuport builders list to see how others had done it. Turns out that the dimensions in the plans weren't exactly correct, but that it doesn't matter in the end. So next week, we should be able to get the main structure all assembled and start on ribs, etc.
May 19, 2000 - 2 hours @ Steve's
I went solo tonight, as Steve was out, and Wayne didn't make it down. Steve had already annealed and squished the leading edge spars (both sides) for his upper wings, so I took one and started laying out the top wing on the table. I managed to get both spars located, along with the locations for the main tubes that hold everything together.
April 25, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
Wayne and Steve completed the last of the three sets of sub-wings the other week. Tonight, Wayne and I (Steve was out of town or something) basically did spring cleaning on the shop, getting everything reorganized (Steve will never find some of his tools again!), and sweeping up a pound or two of aluminum shavings. We are ready to start laying out the top wings, once we get a larger piece of particle board to go on the table.
April 4, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
More work on upper ribs - all are complete now, including half-ribs. The next session will be the final one on the sub-wings, as all we have to do is flip the wing over and finish rivetting the under side of the rib attach gussets.
April 3, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
Steve & Wayne had done a good bit of work on Wayne's Wing last week, so tonight we worked on cutting and fitting the upper ribs and rivetting them in place.
March 21, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
We finished up Steve's wing tonight, and got everything cleaned up and organized for Wayne's final lower wing. Bill Coleman brought over his spun aluminum cowling, and we had fun holding it up to Steve's fuselage for fit (with appropriate engine and gun noises to go along).
Our unofficial goal is to have enough parts to assemble a complete airframe (using Steve's fuselage) for the EAA690 Fall AirFair Fly-in.
March 9, 2000 - 2-1/2 hours @ Steve's
We worked on Steve's wing tonight, putting in all of the spar-to-lower wing gussets, and then fitting the upper ribs into place and rivetting the attach tabs on the top sides before calling it a night.
March 8, 2000 - Madison County Executive Airport (M82)
I became a 'Private Pilot, Single Engine Land' today!
February 22, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
We completed my lower left wing tonight! We had two visitors, plus our normal complement of four, and we were really cooking on the assembly line. We finished all of the upper rib-to-spar gussets, and then attached the false ribs. Despite my initial concerns, the wing turned out nice and straight. We pulled my wing out of the jig, and layed Steve's spar in. Before we quit for the night, we were able to complete his perimeter tubing using the patented "Mark XIII Wingtip Forming Apparatus."
The final injustice for the evening was roping my wing to the roof of my '64 VW Beetle so I could drive it home!
February 15, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
We cut and fit all of the top ribs tonight, and finished all of the leading and trailing edge attach fittings, including deburring and riviting. All that's left is the top rib to spar gussets and the half-ribs.
February 1, 2000 - 2 hours @ Steve's
Continued work on my lower wing. Placed spar in position and rivited it into place with gussets. One trick here is to cut the gussets a little differently from that shown in the plans - one of the short ends should be cut at right angles to the bend that runs diagonally across the gusset. This prevents a small edge from sticking up where the fabric will eventually go. All of my old gussets will have to be touched up to get rid of this problem. Next up: top ribs...
January 18, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
My wing will be first up on the table. We finished forming the end of the spar, and then formed the outer perimeter tubing, joining two tubes together on the back side of the wingtip with a sleeve tube. The trick here is in forming the tubing so you get a nice arc for the wingtip. We use the 'Mark V Tennis Shoe Tube Forming Tool' for this procedure, placing a block under the tube and pressing down with the shoes to slightly bend the tube over it. While Steve and Wayne worked on Wayne's landing gear brackets, Bill and I fitted, drilled, deburred and rivited my lower ribs.
January 4, 2000 - 3 hours @ Steve's
We have a new member of the AEF, Bill Coleman. His wife gave him plans for Christmas, and he's pumped to get started! We started the new year off by annealling our main spars for the lower left wings, and then using the now-infamous Mark VII Tube Squisher to flatten the ends out. The 'spuds' have been driven in already, so we're ready to start laying out the first wing perimeter next time.
December 7, 1999 - 2.5 hours @ Steve's
We finished Steve's sub-wing tonight, and reworked the jigs so we can start on the port wings the next time we get together. These should hopefully go a little quicker.
November 15, 1999 - 1 hours @ Cub Scout's
The Webelos I den of Cub Scout Pack 594 finished the final riveting in my wing tonight. They thought it was great! I even had several Dads try out the rivet squeezer. Now, to finish up Steve's wing, and move on to the other side...
October 28, 1999 - 3 hours @ Steve's
Steve and I finished up my wing tonight! Actually, I left several clicos in, as I'm going to have my son's Cub Scout den place the final rivets as part of an achievement they are working on. We cleaned up a bit, and set Steve's wing back in the jig. His should be done within 3 or 4 sessions at this point, and then we can start on the left-hand lower wings.
October 12, 1999 - 3 hours @ Steve's
Wayne and I continued work on my wing tonight, finishing all of the full ribs (deburred and rivetted). All that's left is to install the already-fitted half-ribs, flip the wing, and deburr and rivet the lower attach fittings.
October 2, 1999 - 3 hours @ EAA690 Fall AirFair
I worked the "Junior Homebuilder's Workshop" table at our AirFair this year (building paper airplanes with kids). Next to the paper airplane table, I had a table set up with my Nieuport wing, and inbetween working with kids, I worked on upper ribs. I got about half of them fitted and clicoed in, in addition to deburring and rivetting all of the lower ribs.
September 27, 1999 - 3 hours @ Steve's
We got my spar all set up, and then layed out the perimeter tubing for my wing. When I post photos one day, you'll see the "Mark VII Ed Press" being used to form the wingtips. We also got all of the lower ribs in tonight.
September 21, 1999 - 4 hours @ Steve's
We finished a wing! One month after we started, we pulled Wayne's wing out of the jig, flipped it over, installed the remaining gussetts, and called it DONE. The completed wing weighs just over 7 pounds. We cleaned up the mess, got out the Mark VII Tube Squisher and squished the end of my spar, after driving the V-strut attach block 'up the spout,' as Graham Lee (the designer) puts it. I finished up by notching and dressing the tube end. The next two wings should go much quicker. I have all of my attach tabs done and dressed now, so all I need is to fit the ribs and rivet everything up.
September 18, 1999 - .5 hours @ EAA690's Hangar
I worked ground support for our monthly Young Eagle's rally today, and brought the box of rib parts with me. A lot of the kids (and adults) were really interested in the building process and were surprised that "it would really fly." I knocked out a couple dozen attach tabs in between talking to everyone and printing YE certificates.
September 16, 1999 - 2.5 hours @ Steve's
More work on Wayne's lower right wing tonight. All parts are cut and fitted, so we started deburring and riveting. It's amazing how strong the pieces get once they're riveted together. We should be done with this wing in another night or so, and the next ones should go a lot quicker, as the parts are already cut, except for final fitting.
September 7, 1999 - 3 hours @ Steve's
Wayne is coming right along with his wing assembly and has all of the bottom ribs locked down. While he spent time fishmouthing the upper ribs, Steve and I worked on churning out dozens of attachment tabs. I completed enough square tabs to do my lower wings. I still have all of the T-fittings to finish. Oh joy! I've figured out that the actual construction of the airplane only takes about 14 hours. The rest of the time is filled sanding, deburring, etc., etc., etc.
September 2, 1999 - 1 hour @ home
I re-rigged my wing fitting jig tonight to adjust for the 5 degree sweepback in the lower wings so that my fishmouthing will be correctly oriented. Also cut out the blanks for all of the attachment tabs that will be needed for the lower wings.
August 27, 1999 - 3 hours @ Steve's
Tonight, we worked on annealling the main spar ends using the 'candle-black' method. We rigged up the "Mark VII Main Spar Squisher" from some old 2x4 lumber and a door hinge. Worked perfectly!
August 26, 1999 - 2 hours @ home
I set up a wing fitting jig on my workbench at home so I can test-fit the wing ribs as I fishmouth the leading end (saving the other end until I'm ready for final fitting). I fishmouthed all of the half-ribs for both lower wings.
August 21, 1999 - 4 hours @ Steve's
I officially started building my Nieuport 11 tonight! We divvied up the tubing, and I cut my blanks for all of the lower wing ribs. Steve had set up a rib-bending jig, so I formed all of the upper ribs and cut them to the 'rough' length needed before fishmouthing. Wayne loaded up his fuselage to take to his new house, where he can work on it there.
August 1, 1999 - Oshkosh
Well, I've had my set of plans for several months now, and with the post-Oshkosh headrush, I think we're ready to build some air-ey planes! Steve's pumped about getting started up again on his N11 again, too (he's already on the gear). The Atlanta Expeditionary Force is about to take wing!