Finally, we know how to remove a wing from a Boeing 737. Who said it couldn't be done?
I have yet to count the number of bolts that hold the wing on but, that’s just half the story...
Preparing the wing, removing all mechanical and electrical connections between it and the fuselage, both internally and externally were all achieved with the help from volunteers. With no overhead cranes and exposed to the elements of the weather, we invented our own method of supporting and lowering the wing. It was a little daunting at times as we were unsure how the wing would react, nevertheless we took our time ensuring all was safe and proceeded with caution.
I am impressed (to say the least) with all of our volunteers and input received, the wing came away and behaved very well. It was lowered to the ground in an almost ceremonious fashion with great respect. (These wings have travelled around the world many times and carried passengers for many thousands of kilometres). We did well, not bad for a bunch of amateurs!
Our most stubborn bolts were the two you see opposite. These two took over three days to remove. The nuts are on the inside of the wing tank all the way at the rear where the wing gets to its thinnest; swinging a hammer inside there is very restrictive. After removal of the sealing compound which buries the nut we jacked the bolt with a hydraulic cylinder. Swinging the biggest hammer we had on the outside the bolt was shocked out to the position in the photo. The rest of the way out went with relative ease.
Now we have easier access to the centre wing tank, (I can start to drink Guinness again) this will make removing the next wing a little easier as we have a much freer access point. Must be your turn to get in there!
Take a look at our facebook page to see a short video of the wing removal.
Hands up, all those that have been inside the wing tank of a Boeing 737...
Well, that's three of us...