Marty de la Motte's Blog (35)

Second wing done!

Added by Marty de la Motte on September 14, 2015 at 8:37pm — 1 Comment

Nose skin clecoed

Got to that lovely stage where you tension up the ratchet straps and suddenly a collection of aluminium starts looking like a wing.…


Added by Marty de la Motte on April 27, 2015 at 7:44am — No Comments

Left wing - bottom skin riveted

Had a little marathon effort last night and got the entire bottom skin riveted.  Remembered to first pop the rivets that sit underneath other objects (eg jury strut brackets), which made it all go smoothly.  Drilled a hole in the tank channel for fuel hose (easier with it out of the structure) and positioned the Savannah fuel tank support before riveting.

Tomorrow I'll ask my wife to assist with flipping the wing.  Then it'll be time for playing around with the tank…


Added by Marty de la Motte on April 21, 2015 at 10:25pm — 4 Comments

Update on left wing progress

Well this is embarrassing, I just realised I haven't posted an update for almost a year!

Left wing is upside down on the bench.  Had a good day on it today, drilled all the pilot holes out to 1/8", clecoed in the front strut fitting, made the strut angle bracket and attached the fitting doubler, and made a start on the flaperon brackets.

Almost bought a Continental C-85 until someone pointed out a forum post on this site advising against it.  Will wait until a good 912 comes…


Added by Marty de la Motte on April 7, 2015 at 6:25am — 2 Comments

One wing... finished!

Milestone reached today - finished the right wing. (Well, as finished as you can get without a fuselage).  Skins riveted, trailing edge is solid riveted, flaperon bracket supports riveted, fuel tank installed.

Made a wing stand out of timber and carpet (the idea came from someone on the site) and my workbench is now clear for the other wing...…


Added by Marty de la Motte on April 20, 2014 at 6:05am — 2 Comments

Tank leak test

Thread sealed the return fitting and tightened up.  Removed the tank from the wing, added a small section of fuel line to the return and clamped it off.  Clamped the end of the main line too.  Added 20 litres of unleaded to test (placed the tank in the carport next to the car, figured after the test I can just drain it into the car!)

Seems to be no leaks around the fitting at the moment, will give it a full 24 hours or more just to make sure.

Received the…


Added by Marty de la Motte on April 2, 2014 at 12:37am — 2 Comments

Conduit in wing

Based on some excellent suggestions from others, I bought some lightweight 7mm corrugated conduit (used to tidy up wires in car engine bays) with clamps to suit.

My wife assisted in running a lightweight string through the conduit, I then installed it using some home made 0.025" brackets and taped the ends of the string to the root rib and tip spar.  Now, if I decide to install tip lights, just a matter of taping the wires to the string and pulling them…


Added by Marty de la Motte on March 23, 2014 at 9:32pm — 1 Comment

Wing tank in

Slotted in the Savannah tank last night.  Fits like a dream!  I made up a couple of brackets fitted to the ribs to support the rear of the tank, clecoed on the front brackets that bolt to the tank, and ran fuel line through grommets in the tank channel and rib #1.

The tank feels well supported and pretty much immovable, and the top surface looks like it will be very close to the top skin.  I'll run a straight edge over the ribs and pack out the top of the tank with cork strips or…


Added by Marty de la Motte on March 14, 2014 at 5:17am — 8 Comments

Right tip done

Completed the right tip.  I've decided not to install lights, as far as I know they're not required for RAAus rego and I don't plan to fly at dusk.  In any case, I can always make an access point in the tip later if required.

Really don't know why they didn't make the entire tip out of plastic, it would have been much easier to install than a separate nose tip!…


Added by Marty de la Motte on February 28, 2014 at 12:20am — 6 Comments

Wing progress

Last week I disassembled the wing, deburred everything and primed the joint surfaces. 

I decided to rivet the rear structure - rear spars to rear ribs, rear strut bracket etc - but not to rivet the ribs to the main spar at this stage, in case any shims were needed to pack out the nose ribs.

Riveted the lower trailing edges and lower rear skin to the framework, turned the wing over (carefully!) and clecoed the nose ribs back on.

This week I clecoed the nose skin…


Added by Marty de la Motte on February 20, 2014 at 5:18am — 6 Comments

Thanks Santa!

A while ago I bought a set of wheels and brakes off a crashed Savannah.  The seller was in Adelaide, so I asked a bloke who lives nearby and who bought the engine from the same plane to pick them up for me.  The seller told me he'd throw in any other Savannah bits in the hangar.

Well, he delivered them today, and not just the wheels - but the main gear, the nosewheel fork, the rudder pedals with toe brakes and master cylinders, the flaperon mixer, Y-stick... and…


Added by Marty de la Motte on January 6, 2014 at 4:19am — 2 Comments

Back into it!

I was ashamed to see I hadn't done a build update since February 2012 - 18 months!!

Had actually done some building work in that time (not much, admittedly) - but have done the rear spars, clecoed the top skin on the right wing and flipped the wing over.

Today I got back into it after a few months of no activity, drilled the bottom skin and positioned it, and got a few clecoes in.  Glad to break the seal again and hopefully will be doing more building in the…


Added by Marty de la Motte on October 6, 2013 at 6:57am — 4 Comments

Finally... spars completed!

PLEASE tell me the spars are the hardest (physical) component of this plane to create.  After 286 solid AN5-6 rivets my left shoulder, neck and lower back are aching.  I know there's a few more to go... some longer ones on the spar root fittings, a few in the cockpit, not to mention those pesky little 3-3 suckers on the trailing edge... but I'm over it.  After this plane I never want to see a solid rivet again, let alone set one.  I'd have a ceremonial "chucking the bucking bar" in the dam,…


Added by Marty de la Motte on February 29, 2012 at 5:17am — 2 Comments

Wing parts fabrication

Cut out the 8 flaperon brackets and 8 slat supports from 0.090".  I don't have a bandsaw, but it's amazing what you can do with a table mounted circular saw, a belt sander and some patience...

Tried the new 5.5" solid rivet driver on the remaining spar rivets on the starboard spar.  Found it tends to kick around more than the short heads, so even more care has to be taken.

Added by Marty de la Motte on November 22, 2011 at 4:53pm — No Comments

Wing spars

Commenced solid riveting on wing spars.  Almost completed one spar - found it difficult to set the rivets along the top of the spar doubler because of the bend at the top, so have ordered a 5.5" head which should be long enough to prevent the spring on the air gun from hitting the bent section when setting.

Happy with most of the rivets - had a couple that I had to drill out and re-set because of damage to the head caused by the gun slipping, but 99% worked fine.

Also cut the…


Added by Marty de la Motte on November 13, 2011 at 5:06pm — 4 Comments

Working on spars

Got the root doublers, strut attachment doublers and tip spars bent up the other day.  Due to the happy combination of a Saturday morning to myself and the kids both sleeping for 3 hours in the afternoon, I pilot-drilled the doublers & L stiffeners to the spars and cut the extrusion to shape for the front strut attachments.

After some solid riveting practice, I'm now ready to attempt riveting the spars together... nervously... (jeez I'd hate to bugger it up on the last rivet!!)

Added by Marty de la Motte on October 29, 2011 at 6:00am — 1 Comment

Started wings

With the tail feathers completed it's time to crack on with the next item (in order of increasing difficulty) - the wings.

Started by cutting out the rear rib blanks.  I tried the router method described in the Homebuilt Help dvd - unfortunately only got half way around when the bit stopped cutting and jammed.  Not a total loss though, the plywood templates are still useful - now I drill and screw the template through the aluminium onto the workbench, and cut around it with an Olfa…


Added by Marty de la Motte on September 3, 2011 at 6:43am — No Comments

Elevators... finished!

Well, as much as anything is finished before final assembly.  

I drilled the 5/64" holes in the outer hinge pins, assembled the centre hinge point (bloody hard to cut a 2.5mm length of 1/4" tube for the bushing!) - got it all together and swinging freely.  

Only thing really left to do is source some sheetmetal screws and put an inspection hatch over the hole in the bottom skin where the trim servo is.

I sat the whole assembly upside-down and wiped the lower surfaces…


Added by Marty de la Motte on August 23, 2011 at 8:46am — No Comments

More elevators...

Last night I trimmed skins to size, deburred, cut out slot in trim tab spar for control rod and filed all the edges.

I'd seen other people use a Dremel tool to do the control slot - I don't have one (used to, think I lent it to someone!!) - but found that a step drill, used carefully and with wood clamped behind the aluminium, worked fine.  Even on the 0.016 skin.

I also made a doubler (just 0.016) for where the trim servo is riveted to the top skin.  

Still need some…


Added by Marty de la Motte on August 9, 2011 at 5:58am — No Comments

Elevators - continued...

Over the last few days I've continued working on the elevators.  Drilled all holes and removed skins from skeleton.

After some measuring and muttering, I carefully cut out the trailing edge of the port rear skin where the trim tab goes.  Reattached the skin and mounted the tab and hinge, drilling through the skin, hinge and tab spar.  Turned the elevator over and drilled the bottom skin to tab spar as well.

Trim tab looks good in the slot and moves freely.  The side gaps…


Added by Marty de la Motte on August 8, 2011 at 1:49am — No Comments

New from Zenith:

Zenith Planes For Sale 

Classified listing for buying or selling your Zenith building or flying related stuff...

Custom Instrument Panels
for your Zenith

Custom instrument panels are now available directly from Zenith Aircraft Company exclusively for Zenith builders and owners. Pre-cut panel, power distribution panel, Approach Fast Stack harnesses, Dynon and Garmin avionics, and more.

Custom Upholstery Kits for your Zenith Aircraft:

Zenith Vinyl Upholstery Kits

Zenith Apparel from EAA:

Zenair Floats

Flying On Your Own Wings:
A Complete Guide to Understanding Light Airplane Design, by Chris Heintz

Builder & Pilot Supplies:

How to videos from

Developed specifically for Zenith builders (by a builder) these videos on DVD are a great help in building your own kit plane by providing practical hands-on construction information. Visit for the latest DVD titles.

Aircraft Insurance:


West Coast USA:

Pro Builder Assistance:


Transition training:

Golden Eagle Aviation

Pianosa Flying Farm

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty for all your building and pilot supplies!

© 2020   Created by Zenith.Aero.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service