Vertical Stabilizer Fiberglass Tip

July 24, 2012

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So the other day, one of the people in my household (I’ll let you guess if it was me or not) decided that we better clean out the guest closet before my cousin comes to visit for a little.

“What was in the closet?” you ask…

Well, a whole bunch of airplane parts, including some empennage tips.

So, we shuffled some things around, and cleaned up a little. BUT, I started thinking about where to store these things. It gets pretty hot in the garage, so I told myself that I really only wanted them out there if they were actually installed on the empennage.

Okay, that’s as good of an excuse to do some airplane work as any, so I got to it.

First step, get the VS down from the wall.

Check.

Next step: located VS-909.

Check.

There really isn’t any science to getting this thing drilled. It pretty much fits snugly in one orientation.

As a side note, the front edge of the VS isn’t perfectly aligned with the edge of the front of the tip, but I am a fiberglass master (by “master” I really mean “worked for a sailboat shop when I was a teenager, so I’m not afraid of a little shaping.”) I’d rather install the tip along the ridge meant for the top of the VS and adjust the front of the tip than the other way around.

After a few #40 holes:

It’s attached.

Then, I started digging back through my hardware bins (and this blog) to remember how I was going to attach these.

It all came flooding back. Yes, I’m going to attach them with #6 screws. (Insert long never-ending discussion about whether to make them removable.) I like the idea of eventually putting a camera in the VS tip, so here I go…)

I marked up a few .025″ strips of aluminum sheet, and cut them out.

This is from the “trim bundle.”

Then, clamped them in place.

Cleco clamps in action.

Some holes drilled, along with a #6 nutplate to help drill the attach holes.

I drilled the middle hole, clecoed in the nutplate, drilled one of the leg holes, stuck a rivet in there to hold its orientation, then drilled the other leg’s hole.

(Removed the cleco for the sake of the picture.)

After that was complete, I realized that I really wanted to sand off the gelcoat before priming etc, and that I better wait to rivet in the nutplates until that’s done as well.

For now, I turned my attention back to the VS, where I needed to enlarge the attach holes to make room for the #6 dimple die.

A quick search on the iphone…

Thanks Reiley.

I went searching through my hardware bins…

It feels good to have these open again.

…found a #28 drill, then drilled, deburred, and dimpled the four holes on each side of the VS top.

Without starting some sanding and countersinking, I think I’m stuck for a little.

Just some sanding and countersinking before I can screw these in temporarily and hang it back up on the wall.

Good night, and within a week of the previous entry. Sweet!

1.0 hour.

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Started the Right Flap

December 29, 2011

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So I’m writing this a few days in the future, so bear with me if I can’t recall everything in detail.

Today, Joe came over to assist in some airplane building, and I figured it would be a good time to start in on the right flap.

First, though, I spent a little time with the aileron bellcrank and pushrod. I adjusted the rod ends to equal length on the screw ends, then turned each a turn at a time until I got the aileron perfectly aligned with my “alignment stick.” (BTW, “alignment stick” reminds me of a disciplinary tool used by catholic school nuns…shudder.)

Here's the large view.

And a closeup. Can't get much better than that.

Oh, and with the rearrangement of the exercise room and guest room upstairs, I’ve been…”strongly encouraged” to get the airplane parts out of the living spaces.

Notice she waited until after I put a ring on it to tell me to get my airplane crap out into the garage. Just kidding, she’s wonderful, and I’ve been meaning to get things hung up in the garage for awhile.

Here’s the horizontal stabilizer hung (very securely) with some red hooks through the pegboard and into some 2x4s.

That's the largest piece that was upstairs.

Joe showed up, so we started gathering the left flap parts. Here are the skins, the spar, and some of the ribs.

We pulled the blue vinyl off everything instead of worrying about doing lines with the soldering iron. I think I've given up on that for good.

We followed the directions carefully (except for the part where they want you to edge finish first. I like to do it before final prep) and started clecoing parts together and matchdrilling.

Here's an action shot of Joe working the cleco pliers. (I'll need a second pair if he's going to come over and help a lot.)

When we started working on the interior ribs, all hell broke loose. I had been carefully explaining that we’re building the right flap, so everything is reversed from the plans. All of the flanges on the left flap pointed left, so we assumed the all the flanges on the right side faced right. Well, the holes weren’t lining up correctly. We sat for a few minutes and finally figured out that maybe I built the left flap with the right flap’s interior ribs, and that I could probably swap them here, too. I made a mental note to confirm this with Van’s support after the holidays when Joe noticed this note RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLAP DRAWING.

Whew. That explains it. Glad I didn’t mess this up, too. We flipped the flanges over (so they faced the left) and all the holes magically lined up again. Build on!

A big note, right under my nose.

After matchdrilling the ribs and skins to the spar, we moved on to the hinge.

Picture below is the same procedure I used on the left flap, carefully constraining the flap to make sure there was perfect alignment.

I used the four clamps in between each hole to maintain perfect alignment. After a few holes, we'd remove the clamps and verify we had good hinge movement.

As we progressed down the flap, we got a little braver, and stopped using the sideclamps. I had C clamps about every 10 holes, and drilled a hole next to the previously drilled and clecoed hole. We maintained perfect alignment the whole time, and it saved a ton of time not having to remove 4 clamps, check movement, add 4 clamps, drill 4 holes, cleco 4 holes, and then remove the 4 clamps.

In no time, we had the right hinge drilled.

We're moving right along.

Finally, we stuck the top skin on and Joe got busy matchdrilling.

Nice shiny top skin.

While he was busy doing that, I started fabrication on the flap angles (I forgot the part numbers, sorry).

I didn't make the final cut on the angle yet, I'll do that later.

After a little marking and bending…

Marked and bent. (Aiming for 6.3° is silly. It's much easier to bend it a little, then check fit against the flap.)

The first try, I overbent it a little.

See the wedge-shaped gap there?

After a few more tweaks, it was perfect, so we started matchdrilling the angles to the ribs/spar.

I don't remember the significance of this picture. Must be the matchdrilling...

Then, we positioned and drilled the holes for the K1000-4 nutplate.

Nicely done, Joe.

Then, we disassembled everything and THOUGHT about started preparation for priming.

Want to start the tedious prep work?

No way, it’s lunchtime, and Joe had to go meet his better half.

3.0 hours with Joe today. Since we really didn’t work simultaneously on anything, I’m going to count it as straight time. I’ll count his time as double when we aren’t watching each other work. See you guys next year!

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Tank Attach Nutplates, Left Upper Spar Flange

October 23, 2010

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After getting a ton of housework done, I managed a quick half hour in the garage to finish up the nutplates on the left spar.

I took some pictures, but they are just like the ones from the previous post, so I’ll be short with the descriptions.

 

Countersinking.

 

I found it a little quicker (and less tiring on the drilling arm) to do 4 at a time. I’d countersink four sets of holes for the nutplate attach rivets, then cleco one side of a K1100-08 nutplate in, squeeze the rivet, and then take out the cleco and rivet the other side in. Then move on to the next four.

I’m sure it didn’t actually save me any time, but for some reason it seemed quicker.

 

Just squeezed the first four rivets on this flange.

 

 

Nice looking shop heads, if I do say so myself.

 

 

Another angle, I guess?

 

 

Remove the cleco.

 

 

Put in the other rivet (man, I was really camera happy today...)

 

Everything was going great until the VERY LAST RIVET.

[sigh]

 

For some reason I lifted up the squeezer as I set the rivet.

 

 

Another angle (except it's the same angle). Sorry.

 

After successfully drilling the rivet out. I was left with a crooked nutplate. Hmm.

 

Problem solving time!

 

I didn’t have a clamp small enough to hold the nutplate in place while I reset the rivet, so I grabbed one of the #8 screws (forgot the part number, sorry), and screwed it in gently.

 

Wuhoo! I think this is going to work!

 

asdf

 

(Screwed in gently) because I hadn't countersunk yet. This worked great.

 

 

See, I told you it worked great.

 

Last, but not least, I squeezed the AN426AD3-6 rivets for the K1000-4 nutplates near the spar root.

 

Flush side...

 

 

Nutplate side.

 

64 Rivets, ONE drilled out  in 0.5 hours.

Oh, and then I went for a run with the pups. (And by run, I mean rollerblade.)

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Tank Attach Nutplates, Left Lower Spar Flange

October 21, 2010

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With the girlfriend gone for the night, I managed to clean up all of the electrical stuff I had out messing around with my wig-wag experiment, and pulled the left spar out of the box. Here it is, in all of it’s golden glory.

Golden Glory!

First step is to countersink the tank (and access plate) nutplate attach holes. First, you have to run a #40 drill through the holes or else the countersink pilot won’t even fit in the hole. Here’s one of my first countersinks on the left spar.

I went back and cleaned this one up after testing with a AN426AD3-11 rivet (-11 because it's easier to get back out while testing countersinks...it's so long you can just push it back out from the back.)

These countersinks are a little better. (The one on the right is a tad deep, but should be okay because these are just nutplate attach holes.)

I left the door to the house open so the pups could come out to visit.

Hey guys (Jack and Ginger).

Hey Andrew, how about one of those artsy shots down the spar after countersinking the nutplate attach holes?

Sure, here you go.

Then, I pulled the K1100-08 nutplates out for the tank attach holes and the K1000-06 nutplates out for the access plate holes, then clecoed one side in, and put the required rivet (AN426AD3-4) in the holes.

Where’s my squeezer?

It's right there on the table, dummy.

Then I squeezed some rivets and removed the clecos.

Squeezed (repeated 41 more times.)

Other side done. (Repeated 41 more times.)

Under the hood, things look good. I still like this new Cleveland main squeeze much better than my economy squeezer.

Pretty shop heads.

Down the row.

I then laid the spar down and saw this guy.

Yikes.

Whoa. Scary.

After a little internet research, I think I’ve figured out he (actually she due to her size) is a red-back.  I’m going to keep looking though. I don’t want it to be a red-back.

1.0 hour. 84 rivets.

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Rolled Right Elevator Leading Edge

July 31, 2010

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How exciting! I get to roll the right elevator leading edge today!

Okay, if you couldn’t sense the sarcasm there, I’ll lay it out for you. I hate rolling leading edges.

This first section actually turned out nice after the roll. It was pretty easy to squeeze these together and rivet.

See? EasY!

Then, I took a picture of how I tape, which I have since ammended.

Now, I put tape along the entire edge, overlapping once piece with another.

Of course, since things started going badly, I forgot to take more pictures, but rest assured, I have some unintentional puckering between rivets on one of my rolled sections. The crappy thing is that once you roll and remove the pipe and tape, it is really hard to go back and re-roll.

Anyway, I moved on to installing the rod-end bearings.

Here is my rod-end bearing tool.

You can see how the rod-end just fits right in there. (The purpose of the tool is to help turn the rod-end in the nutplate without putting any pressure on the actual round bearing in the center.)

Tightening.

They want you to install the elevator rod-ends to 13/16″.

That's 13/16".

Right on the money.

After getting those in, I set the elevators aside and moved back to the trim tab. Here, I’m using wood backing (so the pilot of the countersink cutter has a good guide) and countersinking the holes on the top of the spar only (you can’t dimple the top, because the hinge sits just underneath the spar flange).

I'mi using a scrap piece of wood flooring here.

Then, it was time to dimple the skin. I only got the tab to a place where I can cleco it back together. I still have to fabricate some trim tab riblets.

Dimpled tab skin.

Then, I dragged the horizontal stabilizer out of the storage room and installed the elevators. Once I realized I had to drill out the hinge brackets to #12, the bolts went right in.

It looks like an airplane. And it's huge.

I’ll take more pictures of it for you sometime, but for now, I’m just going to leave this assembly on the workbench for a few days and admire it.

3 hours today.  22 more rivets.

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Riveted E-703 and E-704 to E-702

July 18, 2010

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Even though I haven’t been feeling all that well in the last few days, I did sneak out in the garage for 30 minutes. I was mostly motivated by the arrival of my replacement E-713. Here she is, in all her beauty. (Let’s not mess this one up, too, Andrew.)

Ah, a non-mangled part for a change.

After admiring E-713 for awhile, I moved on to riveting E-704 and E-703 together. Here are 8 lovely shop heads.

Looks good on this side.

And then I riveted my extra credit one leg nutplate in the tooling hole for further control surface balancing. Because I’ll want to balance the control surfaces pretty well while they are polished, if I ever decide to paint, I’ll have to add weight back in. This will be the best way to do this.

Thinking even further ahead, if I put a screw in here, I'll make it short enough that it falls out before binding. Or, I'll safety wire it. I'll have to think more about that.

And the other side. This was fun to rivet because I had to do both rivets at once.

That was it for today. 14 rivets, one of them had to be drilled out and replaced. Now, I’m just waiting for my latest Avery order so I can finish up the replaced counterbalance skin.

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Backriveted Left Elevator Stiffeners

June 1, 2010

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I wasn’t feeling well today (sore throat, could harldy swallow), but after a nice long sleep-in and a nap in the afternoon, I went out to the garage partly because I wanted to sweat out some of the demons. I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but I managed a few.

I broke out the c-frame and dimpled the skins.

First up, skin dimpling.

I did much better on the trailing edge dimples than last time (see this post).

This is the worst one, but it still looks great, and is hardly noticeable unless you are really looking for it.

After dimpling, I wiped down all of the scuffed areas with MEK to rid them of fingerprints (oils) aluminum dust, moisture, etc., and then primed.

Primed interior. Notice how I leave a lot of the blue vinyl on the skins? This helps keep weight down (although undoubtedly adds to build time while I painstakingly trace around the stiffeners with a marker and use those lines to devinyl.

Moving back to the skeleton, I mounted a one-leg 1/4″ nutplate in the forward tooling hole of the counterbalance and tip ribs. This will hold any future weight I need to balance the elevator with paint.

I used an undersized countersunk screw in the tooling hole to help locate the nutplate, then drilled one hole and clecoed from the back.

Both holes drilled, and the main hole enlarged to something a little larger than 1/4"...I can't remember...maybe 5/32"?

Next, I moved back to the spar. I have read where a few people have added a hole in the lightening hole area of the elevator control horn/spar area. The right hole is for manual trim or for the (what I’ll call “retracted”) jack screw and wiring runs for the electric trim motor. I, like others, don’t like the idea of the wires and jack screw sharing the same hole, so I drilled another hole, in which I will add a 3/8″ snap bushing.

Pilot hole eye-balled.

Crap, I didn't even get a picture of the final size hole. (I drilled it to 3/8".)

After completed the extra hole, I noticed the skin was dry. Nothing to stop me from backriveting, now.

Rivets place in, and taped to, the first stiffener row.

Same thing with the trim reinforcement area.

After backriveting the trim reinforcement. Man, this makes me happy.

The next couple rows, done.

The bottom half went smoothly. The top half now has rivets taped in place.

Where are those stiffeners?

This isn't a very exciting picture, but they are all riveted.

Here's the inside.

I love this picture. This is the trim reinforcement plate area.

So nice. (That scratch at the top is very superficial. It'll buff right out, I promise.)

Biggest lesson today was about the aft-most rivet in the stiffeners. When bending the skin out of the way to reach that rivet, everything twists out of alignment. If you start with that rivet, it is easier to make sure everything is flush than if you rivet the forward ones first. Start from the back and move forward. You will get better results.

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