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Cutting the winglets off a $7000.00 sailplane....... then putting them back on

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  • Cutting the winglets off a $7000.00 sailplane....... then putting them back on

    I can't begin to tell you how many time we've all cracked the winglets on our big expensive all glass ships. For unknown reasons, some manufacturers feel the need to make the winglets, with their long thin airfoil, part of the outer wing panel and not removable, while others make them removable.
    This is the case with my Arcus, Quintus and ASH-31.. hmm, I guess that means H-model is one of those who makes them part of the wing.

    After picking up a 12yr old H-model 7.2 - 8.4m ASH31 from a friend, I needed to do some repairs on the winglets of both the extend and short tips. Three out of four were cracked or have been repaired over the years so I feel it's time to make the move to removable winglets. Since the damage occurs mostly from transporting the model, making them removable has to help!

    Here is a quick look at how I did mine.

    Supplies needed were epoxy, and the telescoping rod and sleeve.

    To get the sleeves and rod I made a quick call the my supplier, Kirkessner Aeroworks in PA. Two days later the parts were on my doorstep and I'm ready to go. Thanks Timmy.

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    This is the shorter tip panel for the ASH31



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    As you can see, cracks and repairs


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    Inside view

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    Tools needed for the first step

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    I use a metal ruler with cork back to help prevent it from sliding

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    Lined up the edge of the aileron cutout to make the parting line

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    Simply cut through the skins, be careful and take your time


    I used carbon fiber tube with the appropriate solid rod to slide inside for the front....
    but due to the size, I needed aluminum tube for the rear sleeve because I needed a smaller outside diameter to fit between the skins. The inner rod stays the same.






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    After cutting the outer sleeve to approximate size, you need to plug the end to prevent epoxy from entering the end. I simply use a piece of balsa and zap.


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    Attached Files
    Len Buffinton
    Team Horizon Hobby

  • #2
    Nice work Len. I get nervous even being around my wing tips when I have them in my shop but especially when hauling them in trailers etc. Do you plan on then just taping the tips on or are you going to try to use a set screw to lock them in place?

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, That the cutting off part. Looking forward to the putting back on part.
      Steve K

      Kremer Aerotowing Team

      Comment


      • Steve P
        Steve P commented
        Editing a comment
        Yeah. I've heard of "pimp my ride" but never "circumcize my sailplane?"

    • #4
      Wow, this topic has stirred the pot. I heard from three guys who are now determined to do the same. I know, its a pain in the butt with these winglets sticking out.


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      After test fitting to be sure the tube sleeves will slide into the associated parts, make a couple spacers out of balsa to be certain the two tubes remain parallel to each other or you will not be able to get the tip on later. Here I used a piece of tape and the edge of the bench as a guide line. Shim up the end so the tubes exit flat out of the wingtip.

      ( note the tubes have the INNER rod inserted just to help give a visual aid for alignment)

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      West systems epoxy with 403 micro FIBERS is the choice for this. They create a web that locks the parts in place

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      Even though you are squishing the tubes in the epoxy, its ALWAYS a good idea to coat the part. It guarantees a bond. Don't get too close to the end.

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      Final install. Tubes in place and straight with enough hanging out to insert into the winglet. MAKE CERTAIN YOU HAVE NO GLUE ON THE INNER ROD

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      Attached Files
      Len Buffinton
      Team Horizon Hobby

      Comment


      • #5
        Click image for larger version

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        I should have mentioned earlier, make a template of the angle before you cut the tips off. It will help make certain the tip is aligned when glueing on in the outer sleeves.
        I used the TE of the wing and the TE of the winglet

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        after the glue had cured in the steps above, start trimming the sleeve back so just you can slide the winglet over them. Try to get as much into the winglet as possible for strength.
        These will get cut to about 3/4 inches or so
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        Test fit and make sure there is no gap or at least minimal. In this picture I'm getting ready to glue the winglet back onto the sleeves and setting a small space between the wingtip and the winglet.

        Thie coach will allow me to get the Zone saw between them to cut the sleeves in half once the epoxy has cured.


        Glue in the outer tubes, make sure to either tape the end of the tube before sticking it on or plug it somehow. you don't want epoxy in the sleeves. CAREFULLY slide the winglet on and leave a space between the two for the saw blade to fit. Clean out any glue the is between the parts.
        Attached Files
        Len Buffinton
        Team Horizon Hobby

        Comment


        • #6
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          Once the glue has cured, carefully cut the sleeves. Its worth mentioning you don't need to fill the winglet with epoxy when gluing it on, its better to put enough to hold the part temporarily, then we can go back later and fill in. This helps reduce spooging out and creating a mess.


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          Here a look at the winglet once cut off. The tubes are in the exact placement and now I will epoxy a little more around them with epoxy and 410 lightweight filler.


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          Now cut the inner rods to size and simply glue them into the winglet. I recommend gluing them in. Its a tighter fit and you won't leave them home. (unless you leave the winglets there too)

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          Remember when we aligned the inner sleeves earlier.... IF these we not parallel to each other they would not slide on.


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          Tape it on and lets go flying.......



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          NEXT we will talk about repairing the cracks in the winglets.

          Len

          Attached Files
          Len Buffinton
          Team Horizon Hobby

          Comment


          • #7
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            A few of them waiting for epoxy to cure. It doesn't take long to actually do the process, maybe a couple hours per tip of working time. Its waiting for the epoxy to cure. I tried 5 min early on to see if it would work, FAIL.... Its to soft and gummy. Just use a good epoxy and be patient.

            Len Buffinton
            Team Horizon Hobby

            Comment


            • #8
              Very Nice Len!
              Steve K

              Kremer Aerotowing Team

              Comment

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