25% Cap 232 Wing Repair
Oops...had an attack of stupidity at the field on Saturday, January 21st.  I was taxiing out and had stopped the plane by the retaining fence (between the pits and the runway) and was preparing to enter the runway.  I normally keep my left thumb on the throttle stick to ensure it is pinned at idle when taxiing.  For some reason, this time I held the TX in my right hand, and reached for the antenna with my left, bumping the throttle in the process.  (Not only stupid, but dangerous.)  The plane jumped forward, spun out and smacked the left wing on the retaining fence.  The fence is made of rebar and plastic net.  The net caught the nose and the prop, the rebar "caught" the wing, resulting in a nice aerodynamic slot in the center of the leading edge.  (Why is it that nobody sees me do a perfect Cuban 8, but when I do something stupid, everyone is watching?)

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At first glance it looks a bit ugly, but since there is no spar damage it will be an easy repair.  Thought I'd show how I did it just for fun...


Step 1 is to cut away the bad wood until you hit good wood.  In this case I went back to the spar, and out to the next rib on either side of the damage.


Step 2: Make a "false" rib for each side, this will give the new sheeting a nice "shelf" to sit on.  Trace the outline of the ribs on either side of the damage.  This is a tapered wing, so all ribs are different.


Step 3: Cut out the false ribs.  Note that they are smaller than the tracing by the thickness of the sheeting, so the sheeting will be flush with the rest of the wing.


Step 4: Glue the false ribs in place.  You can see the step where the new sheeting will sit.


Step 5: Use a straightedge and cut back a bit farther to expose the main spar, giving a rear shelf for the new sheeting.  Do this on the bottom of the wing, too.


Step 6: Glue a block of balsa in place to form the new leading edge.  You can see what is left of the damaged rib laying in the center of the cutout.


Step 7: Shape the block to match the rest of the leading edge.  I purposely leave the covering around the damage in place so I do not sand the "good" wood on either side of the damage.  The long sanding bar allows me to follow the contour of the LE exactly.


Step 8: Cut a new rib half using the old damaged rib as a pattern.  Cut it a little big and then sand to fit.  Here is the leading edge blocked out, with a new rib ready to put in place.


Step 9:  The new rib is glued in place.


Step 10:  View from the bottom.. Glue two pieces of balsa sheet to the back of the new LE to form a shelf for the front of the new sheeting to sit on.  Now we have a shelf all around to which we'll attach the new sheeting.


Step 11: Sheet the bottom of the wing first for practice, in case you screw up it won't be as noticeable as the top :-).  Note that I still have the covering in place up to the edge of the damage.  Be careful not to get CA up under the covering or it will be harder to remove in the next step.  Block sand the new sheeting flush wit the covering on each side.  You'll know you are close when the covering starts to scuff.


Step 12:  Remove a couple of inches of covering from either side of the damage and do a light final sand to get the new sheeting flush with the old.  Now we're all set to cover!  (I should get to that in a couple of days.)


All covered and ready to fly next weekend!  The color match on the red isn't great, because the original red is a rather poor grade of Ultracote, while the patch is true red Monokote.  Not too worried about this, once the 33% Cap is flying, this plane will go to the bench for a re-fit, which will include a 1 pound "diet" and a full recover job.