2024 04 30 Sbd Righthand Wing Leading Edge Restoration 01
The ribs and stringers for the righthand leading edge forward of the nose spar. Primer-painted, they are ready for fitting. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Riveting the Leading Edge:

Pioneer Aero's engineers have made great progress with rebuilding the SBD's inboard wing leading edges over the past few months. All of the components for the righthand side forward of the nose spar are now complete and painted it primer. As a result, it was now time to reassemble them in the jig and rivet everything together. The following images (and video) show various stages of the process which Hadon Smith and Craig Cunha managed to complete. Hadon has also been hard at work remanufacturing the various inter-spar ribs linking the wing center section's nose spar to Spar #1.

2024 04 30 Sbd Righthand Wing Leading Edge Restoration 02
The righthand leading edge skin, primer-painted and ready riveting to its internal components. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)

Interspar Rib Remanufacture:

As already noted, Hadon Smith has refabricated the ribs which connect between the Dauntless wing center section's nose spar and Spar #1. Most of these ribs feature large cut outs to accommodate the main landing gear legs when they are stowed. Unfortunately, impact damage from the SBD's WWII ditching incident crushed the original ribs beyond repair. Even so, these parts still yielded valuable information for the restoration team's duplication efforts. Sets of these ribs for the right and lefthand inboard wing sections now await heat-treating to bring them up to the appropriate strength. They will then undergo final-fitting, trimming, and primer-painting, after which they will be ready for riveting into the leading edge structure.

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An image from the SBD's Illustrated Parts Manual showing the inter-spar ribs for the inboard wing leading edge. These are the rearmost ribs in this illustration.
2024 04 29 Sbd Nose Spar To Spar No1 Ribs 01
The full complement of newly-manufactured ribs which span the nose spar and Spar #1 on both sides of the SBD's wing center section, with the righthand set being on the right side of the image. They await heat-treating, final-trimming and painting in primer before they are ready to install. (image via Pioneer Aero Ltd.)