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 Building the Pitts Wings

Laying out the Pitts Wing Spars for initial assembly. 

Kitplane construction techniques for experimental airplanes

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Photo by C. Jeff Dyrek

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There are several processes to building the spars, especially the top wing spars, before you get to setting up the tables as you see in the above photo. 

 The spars are made from select spruce available from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty near E. St. Louis, Illinois.  Since the front spar is located forward of the center of the wing it must be cut to match the taper of the airfoil.  To do this correctly you must set the angle in a jointer before you cut the top and bottom of the spar.  It's important to make test cuts on a piece of scrap wood to prevent damaging the expensive spar plank material.  Making a prototype is always a good idea.  For example, as stated above, make your practice cuts on a piece of scrap.   This goes for the joint of the upper spar.  Make a prototype from scrap wood or just some pine that you get from the lumber yard.  There are a lot of problems that arise that you may not think of in your mind and that the instruction do not discuss.   I was watching another practice that Brent always did when gluing pieces.  Every time he mixed a batch of T-88 Epoxy he made a test joint of wood that he would later break to test the consistency of the glue.  If the glue broke and not the wood, he would have to go back and rebuild every part that was made up using this batch of mixed glue.  Luckily, we never had a bad batch. 

Throughout this photo series you will see that we are wearing coats which meant that it was cold in the room where we were building the wing.  I want to assure you that what you see in the pictures where we were wearing the coats was just preliminary setup and practicing the moves we were going to use once the temperature was up to at least 70 degrees F.   All of the actual gluing must be done at 70 degrees or above and remain at this temperature until the glue (epoxy cement) dries.


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