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Old 02-08-2014, 11:45 PM   #1
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Default Cameron's Christen Eagle II Build Thread

And so the journey begins...... Hopefully, I'll stay motivated to keep this thread updated. We'll see.

This will be a mostly stock Eagle. I will make a few improvements here and there, but its a pretty solid airframe from what I can tell. I flew one back in the fall and I liked it alot. Nice and comfortable, and performed very well. Should be a good compromise between a cross country and acro airplane. I also flew an RV and I liked it alot, but it was missing a wing. Plus, I just liked the way the Eagle flew alot better than the RV. Then this kit showed up on the forum and here we are.

This kit is from 1979. I think it has changed hands a few times. Surprisingly, most of the components are still in their original packaging from Christen Industries. Surprisingly, when I went to inventory all the parts, they were all there. I had to hunt through boxes to find everything, but its all there.


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So today, I got the left wing on saw horses and started looking at it a little closer. Many of the ribs are loose on the spars so I want to be able to slide them over to clean and reglue them. Because of this and that I wanted to install wider filler strips to attach the wood leading edge to, I removed all of the filler strips between the ribs.

I also found a rough spot on the top of the rear spar. I don't know if this is a big deal or not, but it did concern me. Anybody care to comment?

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I also want to reinforce the wing walk so I removed the bottom panel.

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The tip rib is a little beat up and loose, so I'm just going to replace it all together. I hate to have repaired ribs in a new airplane. Plus, the tip bow wasn't attached real well. I stopped here on the Left wing. I'm still debating on what to do about the rear drag/anti drag blocks. Part of me wants to take the easy way out and fill the compression ribs with epoxy. But, another part of me wants to replace the two piece blocks with one piece units. I haven't figured out a clean way of doing that yet though.

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One good thing about tearing all this stuff apart has been that it has given me alot of confidence in the Weldwood glue joints that are already there. Except for the rib to spar joints, none of the glue joints simply separated. I had to chisel away the wood that I was removing, then sand and scrape the wood remnants and glue.

Tomorrow, the right wing will get a similar treatment, except for the tip rib and the wing walk. But, the right wing has some other issues that the left does not. 30 years of moving and storage has taken its toll. The previous owner tried to repair one rib. Its kind of sloppy and it isn't scarfed like it says to in AC4313. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about this yet, but something has to be done. I'd like to replace the whole rib, but I haven't figured out how to do that since it has a partial rib and plywood attached to the trailing edge. I may have to replace all of it. There's another rib that is missing the whole trailing edge. I think I can build a new rib right on the wing with a rib jig that has been notched for the spars. Should be interesting.

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Old 02-09-2014, 12:10 AM   #2
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That spar "damage" doesn't look like anything to lose sleep over. I would give it a good sanding and see what if any thing might be beneath it, Then when you replace your nailing strips you can fill it in with some T-88. That broken/repaired rib shouldn't be a big deal to fix. I would just snip off the bad section and splice in a new section with full gussets. The same could be done to the trailing edge section on the other rib. Splice it in ahead of the rear spar and build it back to the edge.


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Old 02-09-2014, 05:12 AM   #3
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Awesome Cameron! Good luck on the build, I'll be following along for sure!
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:04 PM   #4
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I wish I had used the birch gussets on my ribs, they sure do look better and are a bit less finicky to work with, they chip less and easier to work the edges without having them splinter etc. those wings look real nice. Keep us posted.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:22 PM   #5
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Best of luck...look forward to following the build.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:11 PM   #6
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How tight are the drag wires after 30 years? Just curious..
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:12 PM   #7
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Looking good Cameron. Good luck. Looking forward to following this one.


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Old 02-09-2014, 09:24 PM   #8
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Jeremy,
They are still pretty tight. I don't think they are all tensioned to spec, but they're definitely not loose.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:09 AM   #9
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So, I haven't figure out a nice clean way to fix this particular rib yet. I'm open to suggestions.

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My most recent thoughts are to splice in a new rib just forward of the rear spar. My plan was build a new rib without the bottom cap strip. I would also leave the gussets out in the vicinity where I'm going to splice. I'm not quite sure how well the rib will stay together without the bottom cap strip, but I'm willing to give it a try. This would leave the spar cutouts open so I could slide the new rib over the spars. Then, I can glue the bottom cap strip in place and start working on the splice with the old rib. After I get the scarf joints worked out, then I can install the missing gussets. Hopefully, you won't be able to see the repair without looking real close.
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Old 02-10-2014, 12:20 AM   #10
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Build a split jig in place on the wing using a undamaged rib as a guide,

1/2 jig resting on top of the spars, 1/2 jig resting on the bottom of the spars.

Using the 1/2 jigs, prebuild a rib without gluing a bottom capstrip.

Assemble the prebuilt rib, capstrip on the wing using the 1/2 jigs.

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Old 02-10-2014, 12:33 AM   #11
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I would build the majority of the rib off-wing, leaving the nose rib and aft portion to complete in place. I'd want to do as little as possible in place.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:09 AM   #12
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That makes good sense Bill. I hadn't considered leaving the nose former off. Seems kind of obvious now.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:29 PM   #13
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status..........
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Old 03-07-2014, 05:01 PM   #14
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Been building some ribs very slowly. Should hopefully start installing them this weekend.

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Old 03-09-2014, 01:11 AM   #15
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Looking good Cameron.

In that last pic, what is the setup you're using for your wing rib jig? Are those round things magnets?
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Old 03-09-2014, 01:36 AM   #16
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Cameron, do you have any thoughts on an engine yet? If you had a nice chunk of $$$$$ sitting in a shoe box....... Fwf from the xtreme decathlon would be killer!
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Old 03-09-2014, 02:20 AM   #17
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Cameron,
i could never get any work done with your Acro just sitting there begging to be flown.
i hope you are a lot younger than i am!
Top spar damage is no problem...epoxy over it when you coat the wing.
Bill's solution to the ribs is correct just make scarf splices in 1/4sq under gussets.
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Old 03-09-2014, 02:39 AM   #18
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Sam, those round things are just aluminum discs. You nail them to a board in strategic locations to make the rib jig.

Right now, I'm thinking if a Superior XP 400 kit engine for firewall forward. But, I've got a line on an AEIO360 that I may get if the price is right. Prop will likely be the normal Hartzell constant speed prop.

It is nice to have a flying airplane while building, but I do think I'd be more motivated on the build if the ASII wasn't there. But, I like building so it will get done eventually. The eagle kit is excellent as well which really helps.


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Old 03-09-2014, 06:11 AM   #19
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I was building an S1 Pitts while I owned an S2. It was a distraction. I have a set of those aluminum discs given to me by a friend who built a couple of eagles. That was one of Frank Christensen's good deals. Good looking work.
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Old 03-09-2014, 06:51 AM   #20
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Looking good cameron thanks for making a build thread!
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:16 AM   #21
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Looks good Cameron. I'll be watching for your progress. It is nice to have one to fly while working on another but does slow things down. Take your time and enjoy the process.

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Old 03-10-2014, 12:17 AM   #22
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Default Cameron's Christen Eagle II Build Thread

Dad came down and we got some things done today.

All the ribs are ready to be installed.

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Got all the rib splice joints ready.

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And then started on the wing walk reinforcements.

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Old 03-15-2014, 06:57 PM   #23
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Got some more work done over the last few days.

Dad came down and helped again. Experienced woodworkers are nice to have around for stuff like this.

Got the RH wing trammeled in and all the wires tensioned. It squared up quite nicely. Wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be. I'm anxious to see how it fits up to the fuselage.

Got all of the damaged ribs on the RH wing replaced or repaired. Glued all of the non compression ribs in place.

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Also got the wing walk bracing fitted and glued.

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Next, I've got to get the LH wing trammeled in, the ribs glued in place, and the lower wing walk cover glued on. That will get both wings up to the same point.
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Old 03-15-2014, 10:47 PM   #24
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Looks great Cameron. The Pitts AD on nose rib failure adds a larger gusset both side of break without a scarf and then adds another cap strip (sisters) 1/4"sq inboard and outboard of the gussets.
Not as pretty as your work but takes less time and no one will ever see it after it is covered.
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Old 03-15-2014, 11:16 PM   #25
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Dennis,
I haven't heard of any nose rib cracking problems on the Eagle. But, I wasn't aware of the Pitts AD/SB either. Is this just a procedure for repairing nose ribs with cracks at the front spar?

The scarf joint I've got pictured above is at the rear spar. My wings have never flown, but they did suffer some hangar rash.


I kind of wondered if there should be some corner blocks to help the rib to spar glue joint, but the manuals don't show any so I wasn't planning on adding them.


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