Sanded and attached horizontal stabilizer tips

Sanded and fit the HS tip to fit. Before I paint the airplane, these will need to be filled and finish sanded.

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Final drilled #30, dimpled the skins, and machine countersunk the tip.

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I picked up a pneumatic rivet puller at Harbor Freight yesterday. I used it to set the rivets and attach the tips.  So much nicer the the manual puller!

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This completes the work on the horizontal stabilizer and elevators. So I’ve moved them to a safe place until I’m ready to final attach them at the end of the build.

Today’s Time (hours): 1.5
Empennage Time (hours): 205.0
Total Time (hours): 205.0

 

Attached left elevator tip

I final drilled #30 the elevator skin to the tip. Then I removed the tip and countersunk the holes.

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I dimpled the holes in the elevator.

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I had to remove the counterweight to dimple the forward two holes. Then reinstalled and re-torqued the nuts.

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Installed the tip with CS4 pop rivets. I’m thinking I might replace my pop rivet tool. I’m getting a burr on the top of all of the rivets and I’ve had several break off in the tool. I’m careful to keep the tool perpendicular to the work but this keeps happening. A while back, a mandrel got jammed in the tool. I disassembled it to remove the mandrel and reassembled it. But I think the jaws are not grabbing properly now.

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In other news, you can see that after trimming and sanding the left HS tip, it fits nicely. The right tip is another story. I think I neglected to final fit it after I sanded the foam or perhaps I seated the foam too deeply. In any event, it spread the tip about an eighth too far and now the tip wont fit between the top and bottom skins at the spar. I’ll noodle on how I might salvage the part for a while and If I can’t I’ll order a new one. My best thought at this point is to take a 1/8″ wedge out of the middle of the foam/fiberglass with a saw and then put  another layer of glass over it.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 1.0
Empennage Time (hours): 201.0
Total Time (hours): 201.0

 

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

 

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

 

Horizontal Stabilizer Complete

Riveted the skin to the forward spar and all the ribs. Did all of these rivets with the gun and small tungsten bucking bar. It was a long day. Only had to drill out a couple of duds, though.

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Then clecoed the rear spar to the ribs and skins and riveted in place. The inboard and outboard ribs are riveted with AN470-4 rivets while all the others are blind-riveted with LP4’s. I used the squeezer to rivet the skins to the rear spar flanges.

Et Viola…

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Merry Christmas!

Today’s Time (hours): 7.0
Empennage Time (hours): 76.0
Total Time (hours): 76.0