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Devinyled Two More Wing Skins

October 6, 2010

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Well, I manage to put in another “inside” night tonight on the airplane.

I’m not sure why I took this picture. I think I was waiting for the soldering iron to heat up.

Some of the airplane parts in the corner. I need to get back to drilling out the rudder skins one of these days.

Anyway, I finished up the right lower outboard wing skin, and then moved on to one of the upper outboard wing skins (they are identical, so it isn’t a left or right).

Here's the right lower outboard wing skin before devinyling.

And after.

I totally forgot to take any pictures of the upper outboard wing skin I got done.

One hour tonight (30 minutes per skin). One more short session, and all my skins should be devinlyed.

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Started Drilling Out Rudder

August 14, 2010

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Well, after much hand-wrenching and a few sleepless nights, I’ve decided to dive into taking the rudder apart to assess the damage.

I’m guessing there are a few hundred rivets I need to drill out, which is going to ruin my drilling out average, but that’s okay. I want the rudder to be perfect. The pictures aren’t really that exciting, but here they are anyway.

About the first 25 after they've been drilled out.

I started drilling out the leading edge blind rivets. They ended up not being that bad, but not something I ever really want to do in the future.

Started drilling out leading edge rivets.

I ended up using a #40 drill bit for the blind rivets, even though they are really #30 sized holes. #40 allowed me to pry the heads off really easily. (You can see the heads of the blind rivets on the table.)

67 rivets drilled out, and I'm now dripping sweat on the rudder. Time to go inside.

But just for kicks, I took a picture of the rudder skin after pulling off one of the blue vinyl sections.

It's going to look really good when I take the vinyl off of the whole airplane. (You can see the outline, though, which means I'll still need to do a little polishing before first flight.)

It was about 30 minutes in the garage for just this part. I’m trying to figure out if I want to keep going on this or start in on the wing kit. For sure, I’ll need to finish the elevator trim tab before moving on to the wing. Maybe I’ll put the rudder away for awhile and move on.

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Made a Decision on the Rudder

August 12, 2010

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Disclaimer: My favorite tag for today’s post is “Boo Boo boom boom airplane go fly.” Read on.

Well, after much soul searching, and some really helpful advice from VAF (thread here), I’m going to drill out the skins, inspect for any internal damage and rebuild the larger rudder.

Favorite quotes from the thread:

  1. I did the SAME EXACT THING as you did
  2. I dropped a completed fuel tank while moving it from one storage location to another.
  3. My two year old daughter says “Boo Boo boom boom airplane go fly” while looking at your rudder. I am so proud!
  4. I forgot the fiberglass tips were on and unsecured. He picked up one end and –crash!
  5. I banged up my rudder too.
  6. Don’t feel bad – I had to build a whole second set of ailerons when I built them both backwards, at the same time (DOH!)
  7. Your new rudder will be better than the old one.

Although I got my hands on a set of RV-8  rudder preview plans, and a lot of the parts are common, I just don’t want to mess with doing a large flight test spin program just for aesthetics. It just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

While I could probably say I’m not going to intentionally spin the airplane, I probably will want to at some point, and I’m really worried about having a botched aerobatic maneuver (too slow during a hammerhead turn), and falling off into a spin from which I’ll have a hard time recovering. In that case,  I’ll want the bigger rudder.

Also, I would feel guilty ever selling the airplane, especially if (god-forbid) anything ever happened to a later owner.

So, rebuilding the larger rudder it is. And besides, my trailing edge is going to be perfect this time.

But, in the meantime, I want to set the new standard in “finished empennage pictures.” Maybe this new standard will keep someone else from damaging their airplane for the sake of a stupid picture.

Done with the empennage!

Now where is that wing kit?

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Primed E-709 Root Rib Right

May 3, 2010

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Well, after a few days of no work, then a few more of yardwork, and a few more of more no work, I made it into the garage tonight for an hour of work. Now that summer is approaching, the garage is getting a little humid. I’m going to start thinking about buying a portable air conditioner.

Tonight’s main task was to get any piece of the right elevator ready for assembly. E-709 (Root rib right) seemed to be a good candidate.

On the right, my trusty scotchbrite pad. In the middle, E-709 (Root Rib right). On the left. Well. You may call that beer. I call it "delicious."

Anyway, after deburring and scuffing, I broke out the #40 tank dies (understructure, so I want the dimples slightly deeper) and did all but the aft two holes on top and bottom.

Dimpling.

For my hard to reach places, I use a steel bar with a countersunk hole in it, put the hole of interest on top, and put in a sacrificial rivet to use as a male dimple die. Then, I grab a flush set, and push the rivet into the hole in the steel.

Getting ready to ghetto-dimple.

Here’s a closeup of my steel bar for you to admire. The hole on the right is what I use for these tasks.

The hole on the left is useless, since I drilled it too far away from the edge of the bar. Dumb me.

Anyway, here’s a shot of one side of the E-709 after using this technique.

The bottom dimple is from the tank dies, the top two are with the rivet trick. Not perfect, but not bad for the hard-to-reach area. Based on my experiences on the rudder, the skin will sit just fine in these dimples.

Off to the paint-shop. And by paint-shop, I mean “a piece of cardboard on my trash and recycling bins.”

Up with the garage door for ventilation and on with the respirator before shooting the first coat.

While that dried, I snapped an action shot of me devinyling the inside of the skins. I also deburred all of the exterior sides of the recently drilled holes, but didn’t get to the insides, I’ll do that as soon as I get back into the shop.

Oh man, those stiffeners and rivets look nice.

Here are both interior sides done. (And by “done” I mean “done devinyling with just the parts I’m going to deburr, scuff, dimple, and prime.”) The rest of the vinyl will come off just before riveting, and will reveal nice untouched (and unprimed) alclad.

Pretty pretty.

Crap, I forgot to take a picture of me shooting primer on the other side of E-709, which is the entire basis for the title of today’s post. If you feel shortchanged, feel free to complain.

One hour.

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EAA 1426 Fly-in Drive-in

April 10, 2010

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So I’m writing this almost a week later, but I’ll try to capture my experience last Saturday.

I woke up Friday afternoon set on having some contact with airplanes, so with a quick search of the EAA calendar, I had a fly-in-drive-in to attend. One of my buddies who owns a C182 was busy and said he wouldn’t make it, so it looked like I would be driving.

Here's 7am in NC looking around my garage corner. Not too bad, although the fence needs painting. Maybe next year.

A half an hour (and Chik-Fil-A biscuit) later, heading north on 77 toward Pilot Mountain.

Look closely at the vehicle in front of me. Crap, a State Trooper. no speeding today.

Another shot of pilot mountain.

Once in mountains, there are a couple nice vistas looking back toward the south and southeast.

77 looking south on the way up the mountains.

Once I pulled into  the airport (Twin County, HLX), I met a couple people standing on the ramp and up pulls a beige 182 with a 3-bladed prop. Wait a minute, my buddy Jon has a beige C182 with a 3-bladed prop.

That plane looks familiar.

I wonder who is going to get out.

It's Jon!

(Had to get a picture of him standing straight up.)

Anyway, while I’m a member at EAA 1114, their meeting isn’t until next weekend, and the EAA 1426 chapter fly-in promised pancakes. After some talking with Jon, we stumbled across this piece of machinery.

I’m going to try to capture the jokes about it. I take credit for none of them.

UFO (Unidentified Frying Object.)

So the joke goes that there was a retired Air Force officer who, as part of chapter 1426’s winter activity list, designed and constructed this beast to contend with some of the other pancake cookers out there.

Someone made a pretty funny joke about it being a disc-shaped metal object seen near the airport, and that it was a UFO (Unidentified Frying Object.) I actually spilled a little coffee out my nose at this.

Somebody then pointed out that it must be an advanced design project from the Air Force.

The the Air Force guy piped up and said…

"Nope, it's leaking oil. Must be from the Navy."

Much giggling ensued. No offense to the Navy, or any armed services branch.

Anyway, I got a couple action shots. The cooking surface is a 3/8″ aluminum disc (not aviation grade, the health department won’t approve that as a cooking surface because of some anti-corrosion additives or something). I was interested in that, but couldn’t find any more details. Anyway, th disc spins about 1 RPM, which, with 4 burners (note the manifold in the lower part of the next picture) at 90° from eachother, yields <counting>…18…19…20 pancakes every 3 minutes.

Two times around on the first side, then flip and one more time around.

Action shot! (That's a nice spatula, too.)

Look at how perfectly they are cooked.

Anyway,  I had to get a picture in front of it. Here I am, for only the second time in the blog. Sorry I didn’t comb my hair.

Who, other than me, would say, "Hey Jon, take a picture of me with the pancake cooker!"

Then, they showed me a partially completed RV-7 kit. They inherited it from someone, and are thinking about selling it. (I think they are more interested in completing it within the chapter, but they were interested me in at least taking a look.) If anyone reading this wants the contact info for them, let me know, I can put you in touch.

RV-7 horizontal and elevators.

An aquajet (ride for kids).

The wings.

More wing pictures.

Even more.

The vertical, rudder, flaps and ailerons.

These look like the older style wingtips to me.

Oops, forgot to rotate the picture.

Then we walked back to the main hangar, and I grabbed some pictures of the various projects there.

One of two helicopter projects in work.

This is "one of the first non-straight-tal 172s." Even though I used to work for Cessna (I was on the jet side of things), I can't remember what date that would have been early 60s?

I don't remember what I was trying to take a picture of here. Maybe the hangar doors and a 172...and half a ladder. Here are some hangar doors and a 172...and half a ladder!

Ooh, a King Air.

Looking back outside. The pancake cooker is in front of the helicopter being prepped for paint.

Here's the inside of that 172. No priming. No corrosion. Hmm.

A closeup of one of the helicopters.

Inside for breakfast, I got a picture of the sausage and egg chef and the EAA banner they hang up for meetings.

I'm hungry.

One of the very nice ladies there helping with breakfast came to Oshkosh in 2008 and got a picture in front of the Honda Aircraft Company’s HondaJet (HA-420). That’s our proof of concept aircraft.

A picture of a picture of the Model 420 HondaJet.

Then, Jon had to head out, so we grabbed a couple pictures in front of his plane.

We're bad at the whole lighting thing. Maybe we should try the back of the aircraft.

Much better. Jon told me it was okay for you guys to see his tail number. If you say so, Jon.

Then, I snapped some pictures of Jon’s departure.

Vroom.

Vroom.

Vroom.

Vroom.

Vroom.

Quiet vroom.

Then…I left, too. (How anti-climactic.)

On the way home.

That’s all. Now back to work on the airplane!

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Rudder 99 Percent Complete

April 5, 2010

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All I had left to do after rolling and riveting the leading edge was finish up a few rivets in hard-to-reach places and then finish screwing in the rod-end bearings.

The hard-to-reach rivets in this picture are the top two. For the other side, my squeezer actually fit in here when the opposite side rivets weren’t installed. The shop heads prevented me from cleanly setting these, though, so I had to use a thin steel plate as a bucking bar. Worked well.

Two hard to reach rivets bucked.

Here they are from the right lower side of the rudder skins. (I haven’t been using blue tape on the rudder as much and this is a mistake. I know it would have been a lot of blue tape, but it makes the skins look so much nicer. I will be using tape again after riveting to protect the skins.) I don’t think the rudder is going to end up polished, but I just hate the way those scratches look.

Nice and flush.

For the tip rivets (there were four that were hard to reach), I used a thin steel plate as a bucking bar for three of them, but then only had about 3/32″ clearance between the unset rivet and the shop head from the set rivet on the other side. I improvised by using a backriveting plate, the right rudder skin, then the already set shop head, then a screwdriver, then the unset rivet, then the left skin and finally a flush set. This worked out really well.

My setup for riveting the last (aft) rivets on the rudder top.

Here’s another shot with a flashlight assisting the digital macro setting on the camera. The point of the picture is the screwdriver, but it looks like I am going to have to replace that upper rivet on the right.

This worked well, but YIKES, look at that rivet on the right...also, the lower shop head doesn't look big enough. I'll get out the rivet set gage and test it.

Then, I turned the rod end bearings into the rudder by hand (I haven’t made the rod-end bearing tool yet), and with about 30 seconds of trouble, I figured out a great way to slip the AN3 bolts into the hinges of the vertical stabilizer with the rudder attached.

Sweet. This is an awesome step in the project. My first assembly. And it moves!

The bearings aren’t adjusted yet, and there are no fiberglass tips, but I’m so excited. More pictures!

A vertical picture. So nice...

I’m not sure if you can see it, but I have the internal rudder stop in there, too. (Although I don’t think it goes on the bottom hinge. I need to read up on it.)

And the requisite picture with Jack and Ginger.

Jack is a little skittish about being in the garage (where I usually shoo them back inside.) Ginger clearly didn’t like being out here either, so she was slowly scooting her butt up toward me trying to inch away from the airplane discreetly. Cute, Ginger. Cute.

Jittery dogs. They would rather be in on the couch watching TV.

Okay, dogs, you can go back inside.

Finally, I laid the assembly back down on the workbench for night night time. I'll take these apart and store them again in a few days.

And at the end of the night, I looked down and had spent an hour on the project. Look at that, I’m at exactly 100 hours! Two big accomplishments in one night. (Also, ten rivets. Don’t want to belittle them by being more excited about the hours.)

To do:

  • Clean up a few rivets
  • clean and re-prime some bucking bar scuffing of the ribs
  • Mount the fiberglass tips
  • Figure out how the internal rudder stop works.
  • Clean up some trailing edge dings.
  • Do a couple more once-overs to clean up any edge issues throughout the empannage.
  • Move on to the elevators.

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Rolled Rudder Leading Edge

April 1, 2010

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All I came out to the shop today for was to roll the leading edge and set the 25 measly little blind rivets. This should be simple, right?

WRONG.

This was by far my worst building night so far in the project (although any night building is better than a night not building). So frustrating. There was a point where I thought I had mangled the skins so badly that I was going to have to build a new rudder.  Read on.

First thing, I’ve read to go ahead and drill all of the holes to #30 and deburr now, because if you wait until after rolling, you may enlarge the holes and/or have a very hard time deburring the holes you’ve matchdrilled.

An example of the original holes on the left, and the #30 drilled hole on the right.

More holes after drilling.

I had to play with the angle a little here to capture the edge rolling. You can see the bright section of the skin just right of the hole. The reflection is catching the overhead light above me and to the right. I used hand-seamers here with great success.

Then, I decided to try a method I found somewhere (although I can’t find it again today) to bend the skins. Here, I’ve got my steel rod ready to be taped to the left skin’s lower leading.You basically clamp around the steel pole to the table so that as you roll, the whole rudder slides toward you, but the steel rod stays close to the table and you don’t end up with a crease.

This would have worked, but my clamps were too big, and I only got to roll a half inch or so before they caught on the skin and prevented further rolling.

My setup. Later, I added longer pieces of tape along the whole length of the spar to minimize different tensions on the very edge of the leading edge.

Then, I put my camera down for almost an hour. I was so frustrated. Apparently, the 3/4″ pipe works great for the areas where the spar flanges is closer together, but not down here.

OMG OMG OMG OMG. I thought at this point that I was going to be building a new rudder. The bends aren’t really that good, and there is no way I’m going to be able to salvage this. You can see the skin rolled nicely near the tip, and then not as much near the spar. It should be the other way around.

After extensive (read: time consuming, careful, dirty-sailor-mouth-filled) working with my hand and duct tape, I finally got it clecoed together.

With the duct tape, I had a piece from the right to left side in between each hole. I would squeeze the skins together, and then use the other hand to go down the line and tighten all of the duct tape straps. back and forth about 10 times, and it finally started to look okay. Phew.

Okay, it’s not so bad now.

Here’s the first rivet (AD-41-ABS) going in. Once you set the rivet, you can see that it squeezed the area around it a little. I’m  okay with that. notice, though, that the edge rolling made the seam look really good. I am happy with that part.

After more blind riveting, I temporarily stuck the lower rod-end bearing in the lower hole. It’s starting to look like a rudder.

Lower rod-end bearing.

Then I finished up the other two sections of the rudder (with equal frustration) and got the rod end bearing in the middle hole.

Middle rod-end bearing.

Finally, I got the whole leading edge rolled and riveted.

Upper rod-end bearing temporarily installed.

It actually doesn’t look that bad.

Not too bad. There is some slight creasing just forward of the spar rivets in a couple places, but it’s nothing I can’t live with. 

Be warned about this part. It sucks, and I don’t want to have to do it again. (Can’t wait for the elevators!)

1.5 hours. 25 of the most difficult rivets I’ve set on the project. I’m looking forward to finishing off the last few missing rivets on the rudder and moving on to the elevators. Not before I bring down the VS and mock them up together. I’m thinking of even upgrading the site to accept videos and putting videos of the mock-up on here. We’ll see.

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