Wings Before Fuselage or the Other Way Around?

I am only at home with my kits at the weekend so like to idle away some time thinking about engines, paint, instruments, all things that seem light years away. But today I got to thinking about what kit to build after I am done with the tail: the wings or the fuselage?

The wings are a more expensive purchase, especially with the fuel tanks and I think I want the nav etc lights option. I see that can be done as a retrofit but if I know I want it, seems to make sense to do it during construction? 

I'm building in my garage and I wonder if there is enough space between my table and the ceiling to build the fuselage though I see some people do these kits on sawhorses rather than benches perhaps making it lower?

Having the fuselage done would be a major excitement, start to see a plane taking shape, but storing it is going to be a hassle whereas the wings can go on a wall or in a bedroom if needs be. Having the wings done would surely be a milestone but it's one more curved surface with all the others. Then again.... having the fuselage done and not be ready to attach everything to it could be a bummer.

Well, just some idle rambling stuck here at work wishing I was home deburring my flaperons. But I'd be interested to know what other people chose, and why.

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Comment by Randy Owen on January 20, 2011 at 6:34pm

Hi Paul,

Like Bob I did the tail pieces first, then the wings, then the fuselage, simply because it's easier to store the smaller pieces. Once the fuselage is built, it takes up a lot of room. Either way works; you either build the fuselage to match the wing spars, or space the wing spars to match the fuselage (on a 701, anyway), depending on which you built first. I'm not sure if it works the same way on other models, though. I built a "wing sling" and stored the wings on it, then when the back half of the fuselage was done, I stored it on top of the wing sling while I built the front half (see attached photo)


Comment by Robert Crawford on January 20, 2011 at 6:11pm

Well Paul, I'm scratch building a 701 and I started with the rudder, then the stabilizer and then the elevator. I have both wing skeletons done and I have the top skin clecoed on one wing. I did buy the fuel system kit from Zenith so I won't have to wait on that. I have a pretty good size shop but of course it's full of other things besides airplane stuff. My main purpose in building the wings before the fuselage is simple, space. Even though I have 12 celings in my shop, I have two celing fans and a garage door that would be in the way and the fuselage would block some of the over head light. I could store a fuselage under the lean too beside my shop but it's full too. I may be doing it backwards but since I'm scratch building I figure I can make everything fit.


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