Fiberglass Tips and Keeping It Fun


There were many different tasks going on in the hangar today. We are prepping for inspection so the “all important to-do list” is key to making sure every task gets completed. Sometimes the to-do lists can seem long and overwhelming so a little competition can sometimes help mountains become more like a ginormous hills. So – Dan and I decided to play a simple little game of – “bet I get more checked off that list than you…” It worked, we bantered lightly throughout the day, and it made things go a little faster. Hey – whatever works, right?

One of the tasks I tackled today, along with our son Brett, was the wing and tail fiberglass tip stiffeners.

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Dan made the ribs for me and I started by drawing a 5/32 line for edge distance.

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Then clamped down the rib to the tip and marked a line 1/2 inch in from each end of the rib.

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Then I drilled a 3/32 hole on each end and used a rivet fan to space out the rest of the holes.

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Then updrilled to 1/8 inch, countersunk the fiberglass, deburred and riveted.

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Then I attached them to their respective final destinations.

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They certainly aren’t complex – but they get the job done and look pretty decent as well.

While I worked on the fiberglass Dan was busy tiding up the engine components for the first run on the airframe. “It’s ALIVE!” The test run went off without any issue, and we were very pleased!

A special thank you goes out to Paul Salter for all of your help. You have been a great resource of knowledge and we cannot thank you enough for your expertise and friendship.

Another big thank you to Chris Smith for all of your help with the wiring. Thank you for always being there to lend a hand – you are awesome!

Thank you to William Wynne for all of your support with the engine, we really appreciate you and Grace.

We had one of our beta builders, Bob Woolley, helping out tonight as well. Bob – thank you for helping me with final touches wrapping up the tank installation. Bob is an expert with fiberglass, so he has offered to do the finishing work on the bottom cowling. Thank you, Bob!!

One of our goals is not just to build an airplane, but to keep things fun. We are also building stronger relationships with the people around us, and this is what experimental aviation is really about.

Thank you to all of our friends and family for your support and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Team Panther – welcome to what is known as the home stretch!!!!
(although, in reality, this is really just the beginning…..but more on that later…)

– Rachel


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  • Harold Bickford

    I guess we can call you Rachel the Riveter now! Seriously the article is descriptive, shows obvious attention to detail, good work results and highlights what you and Dan are accomplishing.

    • flypanther

      Thanks Harold! Yes – I have been officially dubbed Rachel the Riveter by a few of the Panther team members. I can relate to Rosie, but her biceps are much bigger than mine. Thank for the compliments on details. I hope the detail helps our followers feel like they are along for the ride with us on this amazing project!

      – Rachel