Day 1 - TeenFlight 5 - December 4, 2016

Hey everyone!
 This past Saturday marked a new chapter; the beginning of the next build, TeenFlight 5!  It was mainly a class of learning basic building techniques and establishing classroom rules.
We then started the first project, the name tag. This project may sound simple, but it involves precise details of deburring, drilling, counter-sinking and setting two rivets. During the project, each student was paired with a mentor who offered valuable building skills and advice.
 Tune in next week for more progress! 
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Day 46 - March 26th, 2016

This weekend the team was brought back together to make further progress on the aircraft. Many exciting things took place, including the installation of the engine. Some other key points that were made during this class is the shaping of the cowling head.


The engine still had some further prep work that was needed before the actual installment. Things like making sure that the wiring harness that connects to the engine is fully in place, that the tubing on the engine is fully secured and routed, and that we have all hardware in means of placement. 

The engine was officially attached to the fuselage! This exciting moment goes down as an substantial progress for Teen Flight 4. Getting everything set and connected to the engine from the fuselage is now the next priority for this group.  

Cowling head
When it comes to shaping the cowling it is very important to remember when shaving it down from its original form, keep in mind that it's better to not take off too much at once. It is better to take off less material than more, If too much material is removed it's impossible to back track. Better safe then sorry. Measuring each piece to one another is also crucial, making sure that you are taking off as close to the right amount as possible. Not only this, but making sure they fit in uniform with the aircraft, as this is considered part of the 'frame'.  

As to the physical aspects that are coming in place
Mentors and students make their way with some filing, helping with these pieces to not have too rough of edges when built along in the process.

Being a student in this class, it takes my breathe away seeing this progress further towards our finished product. Along the way we learn many skills and tips that are beneficial to our education with material objects. Applying that knowledge and using it physically to create something of excellence is all the while worth it. Dedicating our time every Saturday to learn.

Friendly indeed, for needs may come. As a team we are one. 

Day 45 - March 12, 2016

This week at the hangar, the TF4 students mainly focused on the the empennage, the landing gear fairings, and the battery installation.  Noticeable progress was made on the vertical and horizontal stabilizer which are all apart of the area known as the empennage.  The main ribs that make up the vertical stabilizer were all riveted to the rear spar of the assembly.  

After this task, the skin for the vertical stabilizer was unwrapped and the painstaking job of deburring began.  As for the stabilator, the inspar ribs were aligned with the spar caps and will soon be riveted in the coming weeks.   

The landing gear fairings were predominately being sanded in order to smooth out the space between the front and aft halves of the main fairings, but other work was also completed.  The wheel fairing brackets were aligned and clecoed in order to maintain the fit between the two halves.

Also, the battery was installed with the help from the mounting bracket. 

As for other news, it is time to pass on the writing of the blog to another TeenFlight student member.  So this is Davis signing off.  It's been fun.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

Day 44 - March 5, 2016

On Saturday, the students worked on many tasks including the rudder and vertical stabilizer, the fuselage components, the landing gear, and the landing light.  As for the empennage, the rudder was completed after many pulled rivets and drilled holes.  Along with this task, the vertical stabilizer rear spar continued to be riveted, and the skin will be riveted soon. 

Many fuselage details were worked on including the installation of previous parts and the organization of the cables.  Also, the main landing gear struts were re-installed to verify the fit as well as to torque the main bolts.  The nose landing gear was also installed after time was spent aligning and drilling the assembly to the engine mounts.  The rear section of the engine mounts must also be completed with this step due to the fact that the nose gear bolts screw into them.  

 Stay tuned for next week!


Day 43 - February 27, 2016

The past two weeks have been exciting for TF4 with the painting of the internal fuselage and many other tasks.  Earlier this week, the fuselage was transported to the Van's Aircraft factory to be painted, and it looks great!  Of course, this could not have been done correctly if it weren't for the hours of prep work that were completed prior to the paint.  

As for the vertical stabilizer, the upper and lower spar caps were prepped and aligned with the vertical stabilizer rear spar and will be riveted next week.  The rudder was worked on with the attachment of the spar caps and the rudder horn to the rudder spar.  Also, the rudder ribs were riveted to the spar.  The baggage bulkhead was trimmed to allow for an easier way to remove it, without having to remove the fuel tank with it.  

Despite all of the sanding that has been done on the engine cowling, many pinholes still remain on the surface.  The solution comes down to putty which has been applied in multiple layers to fill the holes.  

The right wing tip is very close to being finished after the riveting that was previously worked on. The landing light is the last task waiting to be completed on this wing.  

Stay tuned for next week for more progress! 

Day 41 - February 13, 2016 & Day 40 - February 6, 2016

Over the past two weeks, many tasks were worked on including engine parts, the wing tip and landing light, and the flaperons.  As for the engine, carburetor details were completed including the drip trays and other parts.  The cowling and oil door continued to be sanded and the door will be attached soon.  As we near toward the inaugural painting of the interior, many panels and skins both inside and out had to be scuffed and cleaned to help with adhesiveness of the paint.  

The landing light lens was cut and drilled and will be fit in the next few weeks, along with light itself.  Also, the flaperon torque arms were bolted to the pushrod assemblies, which is the part that moves the flaperons to provide for roll controls in flight.    

See you next week!

Day 39 - January 30, 2016

Overall, the main focus of this week's TeenFlight 4 build was the wings and flaperons.  As for the wings, the wing tip on the right side was worked on, which involved proper alignment of the skins and holes.  Also, the area in the outboard leading edge of the right wing skin was cut out to serve as the inset of the landing light. 

The left and right flaperons were fully completed and riveted together.  They were then attached to the wings on the mounting brackets after the wing tips were completed.  Next in the process, was attaching the wings to the fuselage.  This is a very meticulous process due to the simultaneous aligning of two spars in order to fit two pins that secure them in place. 
After a while, the wings were then lined up and it's starting to look like a plane!  

The engine was also worked on with the reconfiguring of the cooling hoses and the applying of RTV (Room Temperature Vulcanization) to seal the fuel return line. 
Stay tuned! 

Day 38 - January 23, 2016

This Saturday, noticeable work was done to the wings, flaperons, and engine parts.  As for the wings, the top skins were riveted on the right wing and the wing tip skins are the only remaining skins to work on.  After time was spent on aligning the holes and fitting the rivets, hundreds were set in place. The hole for the landing light still needs to be cut in the leading edge of the wing, but this can wait while work on the flaperons remains consistent.   

The flaperon skins were riveted on after proper alignment and fit were achieved.  The flaperons will be complete in the coming weeks, and the flaperon linkage system will be aligned with the fuselage connector.  

Many small engine parts were worked on for the first time after the oil was drained.  The canopy and fiberglass were also worked on, but only so much can be done since the parts are in their last stages of sanding and filling.  

Stay tuned for next week!

Day 37 - January 16, 2016

It was a busy day at the hangar today.  As for the canopy, the usual work was continued with sanding and filling for the appropriate contour and sleek look. 

The cowling continued to be fitted to its hinges and is coming close to completion of the proper alignment.  Since the left wing is almost completely finished, the right wing was brought out and work began on the process of skinning.  After preparation work, the skins were clecoed in place and rivets started to be pulled.  After a few sessions, this should be close to completion. 
See you next week!

Day 36 - January 9, 2016

Work progressed on the canopy fiberglass with the continuous task of filling uneven areas to sanding them smooth.  The canopy fiberglass molding was also trimmed to its final size and another layer of filler was added to low spots.  Overall, it is looking great.
The left wing tip light, wiring and the stall warning are very close to becoming finished.  The canopy fitting to its hinges was also continued in order to meet the desired fit with the engine and to enhance aesthetics. 

Stay tuned!

Day 35 - January 2, 2016

Happy New Year from TeenFlight 4!
It was good to be back at the hangar today.  TF4 continues to make great progress.  The engine cowling, canopy, wing tip, and engine have all been further worked on.  As for the engine cowling, it has continued to be fitted to the firewall and the hinges.  This has involved hours of tedious sanding and drilling, all in order to achieve a perfect fit.  The repeated process of sanding has also been crucial for the appropriate contours of the canopy fiberglass.  This will also be continued until the perfect shape is formed around the forward upper fuselage.
The left wing tip was further riveted and that went very smoothly.  The strobe light was also prepared and will be attached in the next coming weeks.  As for the engine parts, the cooler box and its door were deburred and riveted together. 
Stay tuned for next week!

Day 34 - December 19, 2015

Today was another great day at the hangar.  TeenFlight 4 worked on the engine, the engine cowling, the wings, and the canopy fiberglass.  As for the engine, the parts were inventoried and the battery holder and cooling system subassemblies were worked on.  The left wing tip was also riveted and the wing is very close to being fully complete.

 Also, students were exposed to a new type of material and process: fiberglass.  Mr. VanGrunsven led a workshop to practice the skills necessary for this type of work.  This included the epoxy and hardener ratios, how to cut fiberglass cloth, as well as how to apply it to the desired work surface.  After some time, work began on the canopy fiberglass.

The multiple layers of fiberglass were cut to the different shapes and were then glued to the sides and top of the forward upper fuselage using epoxy resin.  After the fiberglass hardens, it will be time to sand in order to achieve the smooth contours. 

The engine cowling was sanded and drilled to align with the hinges and other parts of the firewall. 
Have a great Christmas and TF4 will see you in a couple weeks!