Team Nieuport 24 is back up and running at AIM-Chesapeake

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.

Introducing the aviation career school team members that have pushed the WWI Nieuport 24 aircraft project forward into 2013.

 

Darren Francis at the aviation career school and the team’s lead instructor, Scott Dudley, discuss the fabrication of the aileron hinge brackets.

Teko Dossekpli at the aviation career school works on steaming the capstrips before gluing to the ribs.

 

Zach Cepcic at the aviation career school works on sanding the false ribs for the upper wing construction.

 

Frankie Marcinek at the aviation career school works on fabricating the aileron capstrips.

 

Travis Gogan at the aviation career school works on fabricating the cowling.

 

Eric Burkhart at the aviation career school works on attaching the upper cowling onto the airframe.

Darren Francis at the aviation career school works on the fabrication of the hinge brackets for the upper wing construction.

Team Nieuport from AIM – Chesapeake standing in front of a kit Nieuport at the WWI Biplanes & Triplanes Airshow at the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo, VA.

Danny Iraheta checks out the alignment of the aileron ribs for the upper wing construction at the aviation career school.

Darren Francis and Maria Liberto work on stripping the glue off the ribs at the aviation career school. We learned that without soaking the wood first, the capstrips were too springy to conform to the ribs curve.

Denise Teusher and Jason Zwart work on tightening the ribs to glue down the capstrips at the aviation career school.

 Follow all of the progress of Team Nieuport from AIM – Chesapeake

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