Finished Elevators and Worked on Aft Three Bulkhead Assemblies

Yay! Rivets came in the mail and I was able to finally complete the elevators.

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Cleaned up the edges and deburred the longerons and J stiffeners.

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Matched drilled the aft bulkheads to the VS aft spar.

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Countersunk the tie down support.

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Dimpled the bulkheads. I think I found a problem with the plans. They called for dimpling the #30 holes in the web of the bulkhead. Note the two dimples along the edge of the tiedown bracket. they are keeping it from sitting flush against the bulkhead. I’ll likely need to undimple these holes somehow.

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Match drilled the next bulkhead to the HS attach bars and dimpled the flanges.

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Likewise with the next bulkhead…

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Ready for deburring, scuffing, and priming.

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Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Empennage Time (hours): 137.0
Total Time (hours): 137.0

 

Pitch Trim Servo Installed

I got back from my work trip to Toronto this evening and my new Molex connectors and pins had arrived. So I was able to crimp on the last pin and push the pins into the connector. Then I installed it into the elevator and connected the pushrod to the trim tab horn with a clevis and cotter key.

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You can also see where I safety wired the trim tab hinge pin in place. As soon as I get the rivets I ordered from Aircraft Spruce, I’ll be able to complete the elevators.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 0.5
Empennage Time (hours): 128.5
Total Time (hours): 128.5

 

Four out of Five Ain’t Bad

My new molex crimper arrived from amazon along with the new automatic wire stripper. Yay! New tools.

These Molex MicroFit  pins are teeny tiny. I managed to crimp four out of the five pins on to the wires from the trim servo correctly. Unfortunately there was only one extra pin provided and I already burned through that one on my first attempt. So I ordered a bunch of  extra molex pins and housings.

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Today’s Time (hours): 0.5
Empennage Time (hours): 126.0
Total Time (hours): 126.0

 

So F’ing Close!

I thought for sure I would finish the elevators today. But no! Came up short by five AD-41-ABS pop rivets.

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Started the day by riveting the trailing edges. I lightly set all the rivets with the pneumatic squeezer first. Then propped everything up so that the trailing edge rested flush to the back rivet place and very carefully used a mushroom set on the bottom to finish the double flush rivets. With he “backward” trailing edge of the elevators, I almost needed to use just the edge of the rivet set. It was tricky but I’m happy with the result.

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Remy helped me roll and rivet the leading edges.

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I cut and installed the lead counterweights. Is it me or does installing lead in an airplane just seem wrong? 🙂

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And here they are. My almost completed elevators!

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TODO:

  1. Finish riveting the leading edge (ordering rivets today)
  2. Terminate the wires from the (waiting for crimper to arrive)
  3. safety wire trim tab hinge pin (waiting for safety wire to arrive)
Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Empennage Time (hours): 125.5
Total Time (hours): 125.5

 

Did the Nasty

Decided to just get this out of the way tonight…

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I went through three changes of gloves and still managed to get it on my hands.

Prepped the scuffed surfaces with isopropyl.

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Sealed the trialing edge ribs in place. Peeled the tape and stuck the top skins to the trailing edges. Weighted down the aft section to ensure good bond of the skins to the ribs. The sealer cures in six hours according to the data sheet. So should be riveting the trailing edge and finishing up tomorrow.

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Bent the trim tab hinge pin per the plans.

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Today’s Time (hours): 1.0
Empennage Time (hours): 119.5
Total Time (hours): 119.5

 

Riveted Spars and Ribs in Left Elevator

I started off the day by taping the trailing edge to the bottom right elevator skin with the 3M VHB. tape.

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I also completed the trim servo assembly. I need to order a crimper to terminate the wires from the trim servo with the supplied micro molex connector. I also need to get a label maker to label all the terminations.

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Then my new squeezer set from Aircraft Spruce showed up. It’s nice having them relatively local. If I order by 4:00 they’ll ship same day and shipping via UPS ground gets it here next day from Peachtree City.

With the new squeezer sets I was able to complete the riveting of the hinge portion of the skin to the aft spar.

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I essentially completed all of the steps that I did to the right elevator yesterday to the left elevator today. So now both elevators are ready to have the aft ribs glued and the trailing edges riveted.

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Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Empennage Time (hours): 118.5
Total Time (hours): 118.5

 

Riveted Spars and Ribs in Right Elevator

Unfortunately Jared was unable to make it over to work with me today. I’ll be docking his pay. 🙂

Work on the the left elevator is still halted until I have a means to rivet the hinge portion of the aft spar. To wit I have ordered a complete range of squeezer flush sets from Aircraft Spruce. They should be here tomorrow.

Significant progress to report on the right elevator however…

Riveted the rear spar and rib assembly to the bottom right skin.

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Actually some progress was made on the left elevator. I was able to rivet the ribs to the bottom skin as well as the trim doubler assembly.

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I riveted the skin to the rear right spar using the special bucking bar to reach the shop heads.

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Side view of the special bucking bar in action.

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I fabricated the tool called out in the plans but didn’t actually need it on the right elevator. Maybe it’s necessary on the left?

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I blind-riveted the top and bottom halves of the ribs together. I was able to reach the aft rivets with no problem.

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Here they are all riveted.

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I riveted the forward spar to the ribs.

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…And then riveted the skins to the spar with the squeezer.

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I riveted the skins to the and root ribs as well.

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Next I’ll glue the aft ribs in place with Pro Seal, install the trailing edge, shoot the last few rivets in the root and tip ribs and she’ll be done!

I had one oops today and a gripe with the plans. They remind you that the counterweight skins go under the elevator skins after you’ve already riveted the aft spar and the ribs. This made it impossible to correct. I tried to carefully pull the skin out and bend the counterweight skin up as little as possible but it left a bit of a permanent bend. Nothing tragic. Just annoying. It would have been more helpful if the plans provided this warning when they had me cleco in the forward spar assembly.

Today’s Time (hours): 4.5
Empennage Time (hours): 112.5
Total Time (hours): 112.5