Patrick's Sling TSi

Weeks 38-43: Rudder tip & left fuel tank

Since my last update I have finished all the rivet filling except for the left wing. I had to wait until I got it back out on the table to finish the fuel tank.

Another project I needed to complete was mounting the beacon on the rudder. I couldn't find a light I liked that wasn't wider than the flat area on the rudder tip. I decided that I could use filler to reshape the top to accommodate it. While I had the rudder out to fill the rivets I decided to get that task done as well.

First I marked and drilled the mounting holes on the rudder tip and installed the riv-nuts. The light didn't come with mounting hardware, so I ordered a variety pack of "6 socket head cap screws. Once I get the light mounted I masked it off then used it as a guide to apply the filler.

I did a rough first coat and after it dried sanded it down and put on another coat. I was able to sand that one to a shape I'm happy with. I'm sure a body work expert would not be impressed, but once it's painted and 8 feet in the air I think it will be fine.

With all the busy work done I decided to unpack the fuselage crate so I could make room for the finishing and canopy. This turned out to be a good idea, I'm not sure how I would have fit everything in my crowded garage.

The next week I got the shipment of both the finishing/canopy kit and the replacement fuel tank skin. I started by prepping the skin, opening up the fill cap hole and dimpling the required holes. This time I was careful to not damage the skin in the process.

While waiting for a neighbor to help move the left wing back onto the work tables I decided to build the ailerons since the hardware I was waiting on was in the finishing kit. I got all those parts prepped and assembled except for the leading edge rivets that had to wait until they could be aligned properly.

Right as I fished those I got the help I needed to move the wing. Once it was back on the table I pulled the old tank off because all the ribs were inside it. The next step was to cleco the ribs in the new skin, then mount it on the wing so all the holes could be reamed out in the correct position.

The next step was to start assembling and sealing the tank. First the ribs are riveted and sealed to the front channel. Then the rib assembly is riveted and sealed to the skin. The tank had to be temporarily mounted on the wing again for that to make sure the alignment was correct.

The next day I pulled the tank back off the wing and put more sealant on all the joints and over all the internal rivets. I'm trying to not have a repeat of the right fuel tank where I had to remove (and then replace) the back channel due to an inaccessible leak.

When I was satisfied that everything was sealed properly I installed the back channel. Again after putting on the sealant and clecoing it in place, the tank had to be mounted on the wing to make sure the alignment was good.

While getting this step done I realized I didn't have enough of the 4mm sealed rivets that go on the back. I made sure I got at least two on each rib to ensure they were aligned correctly. I requested more rivets from the factory and will get those installed as soon as they get here. I'll use plenty of sealant when I put them in.

Once I get that done and let the sealant cure I can leak test the left tank. Once it passes the test I'll permanently attach it to the wing and get to work filling all the rivets. That should be the last step before starting on the fuselage.

This post is from Patrick's Sling TSi