As 2012 comes to an end and a new year begins, there is a lot to be said. It’s been a while since Team Nieuport at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Chesapeake has updated the blog, but with dedicated team members and new organization we’re finally back on track. 2012 ended with many accomplishments, some setbacks, and definitely lessons to be learned. We completed fabrication of almost all components for the upper wing assembly of the WWI Nieuport 24- this includes the twelve ribs, eight compression ribs, twenty-two false ribs, the front and rear spar, ten aileron ribs and their reinforcements, capstrips, hinge brackets, and methods of cutting the leading edge. In addition we worked on attaching the lower wing to the fuselage as well as the engine cowling. The team from our aviation career school learned a lot about wood construction, reading and interpreting advanced aircraft drawings, and trial and error processes. The most difficult task the team came across was the attachment of the wood capstips onto the ribs of the Nieuport themselves. This was a heavily time-consuming undertaking that had its setbacks. With our initial process, we just glued the capstrips onto the ribs of the aircraft using wood glue and a mold board that kept the capstrips tightened onto the ribs through the drying period. However, we learned that the rib capstrips were still too springy and would not hold the contour of the rib. After research and many phone calls, we developed a process to steam the capstrips. We used a wallpaper steamer with a six foot PVC pipe to attach to one of the shop’s poles. We then stuck the capstrips into the pipe, capped off the end, and let them soak in the steam for a few hours. This proved to be very successful. We have since then recapped all of the ribs and laid out the pattern for the upper wing assembly.
In the next few months, we hope to have the upper and lower wing mounted to the fuselage and the cowling fully attached. Below are some pictures that recap a year-in-review of 2012.
Follow all of the progress of Team Nieuport from AIM – Chesapeake