One Down – One to Go!


All has not been quiet in ye ‘olde aeroplane factory since we got back from AirVenture. With another kit coming in late September, and the shop fully up and running, it was time to get moving on the wings for the Xenos, and the result is now a finished left lifting surface, with the right framework ready to go on the workbench to get its skin in the next couple of weeks! No, we have no intention of finishing up the motor glider before the little jet arrives, but it would be nice to have the majority of the metal work done so that it’s “just” a matter of systems work and over-all integration. You know -the last 90% or so…

Xenos wing

Skinning these monster long wings is a challenge of endurance more than anything else. With every single silver cleco deployed and the inboard lower surface left to install, I had to put out a neighborhood call and round up a few more hundred to get to the point where everything was initially fitted up. On the next wing, I now know that once the outboard skins are fitted, we can updrill for #30 rivets and put the brass clecos to work earlier, taking up some of the slack for the silvers.

Also of note, we have functional controls in the wing – the aileron pushrods and bellcrank are working, and when you pull on the spoiler cable, it waves “hi” as it pops up and down out of the wing. You’ll also see in these pictures one of the joys of the aviation fraternity – I didn’t build those wing stands, they were a gift from a former Xenos builder. When we’re done with them, we’ll pass them on to whomever else needs them. Why two separate stands instead of the traditional single rack for the wing? Well, with a 25′ long wing, that’d be one heck of a long rack.

Xenos wing

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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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