Aft Fuselage Complete!

My replacement cover plate arrived from Van’s. I deburred it, broke the edges, and dimpled the correct side this time! I’ll prime the inside next time I shoot primer.

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We riveted the top skin in place. We moved the fuselage to the floor and Remy crawled inside and bucked while I shot.

Still looks more comfortable than a Delta coach seat.

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And that completes the aft fuselage!

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All that’s left is fitting and drilling the horizontal stabilizer and elevators and a bit of fiberglass work on the tips. Then the entire empennage kit will be complete!

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 186.0
Total Time (hours): 186.0

 

Riveted the top side skins

Clecoed and bolted the vertical stabilizer to the aft fuselage and match drilled the upper attachment holes.

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Rolled the aft fuselage on its side to rivet the top side skins.

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Finished riveting both top side skins to the aft fuselage.

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Clecoed the top skin in place.

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Tomorrow I’ll rivet the top skin and that will complete the aft fuselage.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 183.0
Total Time (hours): 183.0

 

Vertical Stabilizer Complete!

Scuffed and prepped the new parts. Then sprayed them with primer.

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Riveted the doubler and ribs to the forward spar.

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Clecoed the skin to the forward spar and ribs and started riveting.

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Finished riveting the skin to the forward spar and ribs.

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Clecoed and riveted the rear spar to the skin and ribs.

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VS Complete! Very pleased with how well it turned out. Once I replaced the parts I messed up, everything went smoothly. I’m much happier with my workmanship than the first attempt. A little experience makes a world of difference.

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Rearranged the work benches and started picking parts for the horizontal stabilizer.

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Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 46.0
Total Time (hours): 46.0

 

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

 

More work on rudder substructure and skins

Match drilled the spar to the reinforcement plates, rudder horn, shim, and bottom rib. Radiused the forward corners and fluted the counterbalance rib and top rib.

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Trimmed, drilled, and deburred rudder skins. Match drilled the top rib and counterbalance rib to the spar.

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Match drilled the counterbalance to the counterbalance rib. Dimpled the counterbalance rib and machine countersunk the counterbalance.

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All of my back ordered parts from Van’s Aircraft arrived today.

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Hopefully all of the replacement VS parts I ordered will arrive tomorrow and I can prep them for priming along with all the rudder parts over the weekend.

Today’s Time (hours): 2.5
Empennage Time (hours): 20.5
Total Time (hours): 20.5

One step forward, two steps back

Started off the day dimpling the vertical stabilizer skin with the DRDT-2. I’m pleased with this tool. Dimpling large parts like the skins is a piece of cake and the dimples are consistent. I will say that I am considering getting a c-frame as well. It would have come in handy for riveting the rear spar. Juggling the spar and the pneumatic squeezer was challenging. While the squeezer was workable, I think the c-frame would have been easier.

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Once the skins were complete, the fun began! I was dimpling the substructure when I decided that the VS-707 rib needed an extra hole. So I made one. With the pneumatic squeezer and dimple dies. I hammered out the unwanted dimple and made a doubler to fix the flange. I completed the rest of the dimpling uneventfully.

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I riveted the aft spar assembly together. This went well and I’m happy with the result.

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I riveted the front spar doubler to the front spar and clecoed the ribs to the front spar in preparation for riveting. And that’s when things went south again. I tried to rivet the root rib and the nose rib to the spar from the front of the spar to the back. Turns out that this is extremely difficult due to the angle of the nose rib. Even with an offset rivet set in the gun, I couldn’t get straight on the rivet. I tried to buck it anyway. The rivet folded over. The angle of the nose rib made drilling out the rivet problematic as well. I thought about drilling the shop head but it was too messed up to drill. I ended up mangling the hole beyond repair. Turned all three parts into scrap. I ordered replacements from Van’s and since I was already going through the process and paying for shipping I included a replacement VS-707 as well.

Lesson Learned: If it doesn’t seem right, stop and think about it. When I couldn’t get the rivet set square to the rivet, I should have stopped and considered shooting the rivet from the other side.

Today’s Time (hours): 6.5
Empennage Time (hours): 15.5
Total Time (hours): 15.5