A Whole 'lotta Ribs!



Yup – that’s a lot of ribs for one wing, isn’t it? Finally, after a long delay building a new shop, we got back to work on our Xenos Motorglider project. Sitting behind me as I took this picture was our RV-3, noteworthy because it has just about the same wingspan tip-to-tip as this single wing for the Xenos. Like I said – a lot of ribs!

This is probably about 5% done. In actuality, assembling it with clecos to this point was more of an inventory exercise than anything else. Once you get about six or seven ribs inboard from the tip, the rib part numbers keep changing, and there are many differences due to spar web thickness, control bell-crank reinforcing, and notches for the spoilers (this is, after all, a glider). Once you get within about five ribs of the root, you have closer spacing and more reinforcing for the wing walk and the needed strength to handle the root rib loads.

Now if you look real close, you’ll see that the spars aren’t yet shimmed to be straight, and there are hundreds of -3 clecos that need are in holes that need to be up-sized to -4. So like I said – about five percent done. And don’t forget, once the holes are all up-sized, we get to disassemble this huge jigsaw puzzle to boot, then put it all together agin, and then start riveting.

Oh – and AirVenture is coming up, so that will take more than a little time away from the project. But its good to be working with parts again, and not just maintaining the other airplanes in our little fleet. Still better than a day in the office!

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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