Top skin assembly

Broke the edges of the top skin with the edge roller. Peeled the vinyl from the rivet lines and dimpled the top skin on the DRDT-2.

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Dimpled the top rib with the squeezer.

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Dimpled the top skin doubler with the squeezer.

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Dimpled the stiffener and back riveted it to the skin. Back riveted the doubler and riveted the rib with the gun and bucking bar.

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Today’s Time (hours): 1.5
Empennage Time (hours): 174.5
Total Time (hours): 174.5

 

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

 

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

 

Riveted Aft Spars to Skins

Began riveting the bottom top left skin to the aft spar.

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Everything was going great until I got to the part with the trim tab hinge. My bucking bar won’t reach around the hinge eyelets.

Side note: after all of this, I realized that the shear clip was supposed to be on the outside of the closeout tabs in the picture below. So ended up drilling it out and re-attaching it properly. Funny thing is that last week I mentioned to Jared and Wes that I thought it would look better on the inside. Subconscious got the better of me i guess.

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I thought of using the squeezer on these rivets but I only have two flush sets. One is too long and the other is two short. I hit up Jared and he’s got a flush set that’s halfway between the two. He volunteered to swing by tomorrow morning and do some building with me. So I set the left elevator aside until tomorrow.

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I moved on to the right side and riveted the bottom skin to the aft spar. I taped all of the rivets in place to back rivet the ribs. I shot one row but it’s really load and it’s getting late so decided to call it quits for the night.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Empennage Time (hours): 108.0
Total Time (hours): 108.0

 

Riveted everything together

I finished back riveting the stiffeners to the skins. I had one oops where a rivet got cockeyed just before I drove it. It left a ding in the skin but didn’t penetrate. I debated replacing the skin but opted to move on.

I used 3M F9460PC double stick VHB tape to secure the trailing edge extrusion to the skin and clecoed it together. I put some long rivets through every tenth hole or so, put the tape on both sides of the wedge, and used the rivets to properly register the taped wedge to the right skin. Then I clecoed it in place and removed the rivets.

I riveted the stiffeners and shear clips together. I removed the backing from the other side of the tape while I pried the skins slightly apart so the strip didn’t tear. I removed clecos as I worked my way to the top of the trailing edge. I pressed the left skin into the tape and clecoed every hole.

I mounted the counterbalance. I had to file a bit off of the forward corners to clear the shop heads of the rivets holding the counterbalance rib in place. I riveted the skin to the spar, and riveted everything else except the trailing edge. That will be tomorrow’s adventure.

I neglected to shoot progress photos along the way but here’s the result of today’s work…

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This is the tape I used…

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Today’s Time (hours): 6.0
Empennage Time (hours): 36.0
Total Time (hours): 36.0

 

Disassembled, Deburred, Dimpled

Deburred and dimpled the skins and substructure.

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Machine Countersunk the trailing edge wedge.

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Began back riveting the stiffeners into the skins but it’s loud and it got late so I quit until tomorrow.

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Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 30.0
Total Time (hours): 30.0