Leading the Edge

After completing the wing top skins in early February 2020, it was time to move onto Section 17 – the outboard leading edges. Also known as “the front of the wing”. The pieces will only end up being half of the forward wings, as the other half will look nearly the same, but will be the fuel tanks. Those will be chronicled in the next post.

This section was straightforward, but because they will house the landing and taxi lights it required to start thinking about which type of lights to install. Depending on the types of lights, the bracket to hold it will need to be matched to it.

Here’s an illustrative retelling of this part of the build:

The left leading edge with the ribs clecoed in a stand to check alignment and to final drill the horizontal J-Channel the goes across the top of the skin.
This leading edge is about ready to start riveting. As instructed, I start with the middle rib and then rivet radiation outwards to minimize the likelhood of the skin “oil canning”.
A nice straight-on shot of the leading edge highlighting the alignment of the lightening holes across the ribs.
In the bay where the lights will be housed, I roughed the skin with red scotch pad to prep for primer and black paint. This will make the bay look very professional and limit amount of light reflection within it.
Closeup of the forward leading edge. The most forward holes were a bit of a challenge to dimple.
Riveting of the skins to the ribs in process. You also rivet aft to forward while radiating outwards from center.
Completed right leading edge. You can see where the interior of the light bay has been painted black.
Completed left leading edge.
Each leading edge is rivetted to the wing spar. It also meant building this wing stand that allows that work to be more easily completed along with be able to easily move the wings around.

It took 2 months to complete this section. I purchased custom lenses for the light housing from Big Sky Robotics that greatly simplifies the install and looks very professional.

I’ve paired them with a pair of FlyLed’s Landing/Taxi combo lights which will each put out a LOT of light (4800 lumens) and only draw 4 amps. These are made in Australia and such a great small company. I’ll install them later in the build, likely after I’ve done the wing wiring.

FlyLed Combo Leading Edge Landing/Taxi Light (pic by FlyLeds.com)

Some additional pics of the lights I purchased as I’m preparing them for future installation.

I captured most of the build by time elapsed video. Anna and Grace really helped with the riveting the completed leading edges to the main spars near the end of clip. We finished up the end of April 2020.

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