Saturday, January 18, 2014

Section 6 -- the Vertical Stabilizer

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 16.5

The empennage kit starts with the building of the vertical stabilizer.  The above snapshot of the manual shows the structure of the vertical stabilizer.  It looks like a rather simple design at first blush, but when I pulled out the pieces for assembly, I quickly realized just how strong this tail was designed to be.  Each of the pieces--including the skin--is extra strength material.

Here are the components in their "raw" form.

Once a small doubler is added to the front spar everything is temporarily cleco-ed together for match drilling and final drilling.

After the match drilling and final drilling are completed, everything is disassembled for countersinking, dimpling, de-burring, and priming (not necessarily in that order).  The it's on to riveting the large doubler to the rear spar.

Once the pieces were ready, it was time to cleco it all back together again for the final time.  The riveting of the skin went relatively quickly.  In fact, the entire vertical stabilizer went together without a large time commitment.  (While the time since last posting is logged as 16.5 hours, a good five hours of that was due to inventory time.)  It was a nice change from the last sections of the wings.

Here's a shot of the rear side of the finished vertical stabilizer.  For you keen eye folks, yes, I caught the missing rivet on the left side rear spar after I snapped this photo.

Next up, the rudder!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sections 21 & 22 -- Aileron Actuation and Wingtips

Build Hours Added Since Last Post: 37.0

Well, shame on me!  Shame on me because I have not updated this blog in nearly a month and shame on me for only taking four pictures of what is otherwise a big milestone!  During my time since December 16, I have been busy on the last two sections of the wings--Section 21 (aileron actuation) and Section 22 (the wingtips).  Save the acquiring and mounting of the position lights and the landing lights, the wings are done and ready to be set aside while the build continues.

Now, I would be remiss if I said that the delays in the build over the last month were entirely my fault.  I found out during the aileron actuation section that Vans had neglected to include one of the two actuation jigs.  While having to buy the $4 part didn't bother me too much, the waiting for the piece was the most difficult--aside, of course, from me tearing through my shop looking for it.  But with the part in hand, I was able to finish the section with relative ease.

Well, the above picture represents the only picture I snapped during the process.  Hmph!

It was then on to the wingtips.  Below, you'll see a shot of a position light cover trimmed and installed.  This was my first experience working with fiberglass.  Cutting and trimming the fiberglass wingtips created loads of itchy dust.  For anyone performing this too, I highly suggest you wear some old clothes (long sleeves), safety goggles, and a respirator (not a dust mask).  The shop was filled with fiberglass dust when I was done trimming the wingtips.

Next, it's onto temporarily mounting the wingtips and match-drilling the mounting holes.  The silver clecos represent where a screw will ultimately go.


My next posts will be the first foray into the empennage!