Repairing the Caravelle right-hand wingtip

Sunnuntai 14.1.2024 - Tuesday Club member


Suomeksi

Acquired from Sweden by Aviation Museum Society Finland, the Caravelle (OH-LEA) restored at Turku airport as Finnair’s “Bluebird” had had its right-hand wingtip leading edge badly damaged during its stay in Sweden. It was damaged for a distance of ca. 40 cm, and at the process the wingtip navigation light was also destroyed. Luckily the left-hand wingtip is intact, so that it can be used as a model when rebuilding the right-hand smashed wingtip. So the destroyed wingtip must be remade.

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The remaking the right-hand wingtip was started by dismantling the damaged area. The rivets on the crumpled aluminium sheets were drilled away, so that the wingtip covering could be bent open, and the covering sheets detached from the wingtip support frame. We tried to straighten the detached aluminium sheets to their original shape, but they turned out to be so brittle, that they broke when straightened to their shape. So we concluded that the right-hand wingtip leading edge had to be covered with new sheets of aluminium.

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We dismantled the detachable support frames of the damaged area. Part of the structure didn’t need to be detached, so it could be used as such in reconstructing the wingtip leading edge. The detached and usable frames were straightened to their original shape. They were fastened with pop rivets to their places, utilizing the intact left-hand wingtip when positioning the support frames.

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After this the back wall and bottom plate of the right-hand wing navigation light bay was constructed with the left-hand wing navigation light bay as a model. The back wall and bottom plate were cut off from 1 mm thick aluminium plate. When the navigation light bay back wall and bottom plate were tentatively in place, the wingtip leading edge was nearing its original shape.

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An opening was made in the bottom plate of the navigation light for the wiring of the navigation light. Also a cup-like socket was lathed for the later fixing of the light in mind. After that the whole navigation light bay was locked from its edges to the remaining original frames of the wingtip with strips cut from 1 mm thick aluminium plate. The fastening was done with pop rivets.

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The next phase was to make a support frame between the edge of the intact area in the wingtip and the back wall of the navigation light, where the original frame had been destroyed. The edge of the intact area is formed by the wingtip’s original curve. However, the curve is somewhat damaged in its upper edge, but repairable and will be hidden by the wingtip new covering.

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The support frame was made of 2 cm wide strips cut off from 1mm thick aluminium plate. To be able to rivet the ends of the support frame strips to the edge of the curve, the original damaged aluminium covering which had been on the frame, was cut off with a Dremel blade. Five strips were fastened between the edge of the curve and the back wall of the navigation light. The fastening was made with pop rivets. To make the structure sturdy enough to bend and fasten the aluminium cover sheets on the frame, two additional crosswise support strips were riveted to the structure. Now we’ll be ready to start covering the right-hand wingtip leading edge with 1 mm thick aluminium sheets.

Photos by Lassi Karivalo.

Translation by Matti Liuskallio.

Avainsanat: aviation history, restoration, Caravelle, OH-LEA, Sinilintu, Bluebird, Tuesday Club


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