Members of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 had to learn how to rib stitch a wing by doing it. This was done at the chapter’s hangar at the Leesburg International Airport (KLEE) in Leesburg, Florida, Jan. 3, 2019 — a good way to start out the new year.
Most of the pilots and aircraft owners had never done this before as they had either built aluminum or composite aircraft.
They were using the Stewart System covering method, so there was a lot of reading and YouTube videos to be reviewed. They also looked at a couple of Poly-Fiber videos to learn how to rib stitch.
It is all well and good to watch videos but until you are the one pulling the rib stitching cord through the holes and tying the correct knots, the process doesn’t get fixed in your mind.
Chapter members used a modified seine stitch to sew the fabric down to the ribs at 2-½” intervals.
This group of intrepid experimental aircraft builders just jumped right in and figured “it isn’t rocket science, so let’s give it a try.”
The stitchers had a couple of A&P’s overseeing their work, but they had never done rib stitching either, so they were learning along with everyone else.
It was kind of like “see one, do one, teach one,” an old medical school axiom that now seems to apply to airplane building.
The exercise turned out to be a good learning experience and proof that if there is a will, there is a way to get things done correctly.