Whole lotta scuffin’

I cut the aft tail skin with the snips. Cutting .040 aluminum with snips is a workout. I thought of using the band saw but it’s an awkward part to cut straight with the saw. I trusted my skills with the snips more than steadiness of my hand at the band saw. Good result but my forearm was pretty sore afterward.

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Cleaned it up with file and sand paper.

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My paint cutter arbor arrived from Aircraft Spruce. So I was able to cut the remaining countersinks in the rudder stops without the cage.

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I was skeptical that I’d be able to hit the right depth free hand but it worked out fine.

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I also heard back from Van’s support on the holes that I thought shouldn’t be dimpled and in fact they shouldn’t have. So I hammered them flat. This was definitely an error in the plans. Now my tie down bracket sits flush.

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And finished up with a marathon scuffing session.

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I’ve got to be honest. Scuffing parts is my least favorite part of the process. It’s dusty messy work.

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That was a lot of parts to scuff but I’m glad I fought through and got them done. This is most of the parts for the tail cone. Once these are primed, I’ll only have the skins and a few small parts left to scuff and prime in order to complete the empennage. Big priming session tomorrow. Then I can start assembling. 🙂

Today’s Time (hours): 3.0
Empennage Time (hours): 144.0
Total Time (hours): 144.0

 

More work on bulkheads

Modified the bottom of the 1408 bulkhead.

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Deburred and dimpled all the 1407 and 1408 bulkhead parts.

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Separated, deburred, and dimpled the bell crank ribs.

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I realized when I went to drill the battery angles that I somehow modified the wrong one. I could swear that I marked these parts carefully before I separated them but it appears I switched the A and B markings. I don’t think this will be a problem though. I just needed to modify the correct one. The modification to the wrong one is not consequential.

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Once I fixed that, I drilled and countersunk all the nut plate holes and match drilled the angles to the bell crank ribs. I deburred and dimpled the 1406 bulkhead as well.

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I think next weekend I’m going to have two solid days of scuffing and priming all these parts.

 

Today’s Time (hours): 4.0
Empennage Time (hours): 141.0
Total Time (hours): 141.0

 

Began Work on the Aft Fuselage

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The aft fuselage build begins with cutting and trimming parts. Separated the rudder cable guides.

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Separated the various j-stiffeners, longerons, and battery angles. Modified several of the parts according to the plans. Dimpled a couple. And straightened the HS attach bars.

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This was the first nice flying day we’ve had in the Atlanta Area in a week or so. So Sophie and I took advantage and did a little sightseeing in the Skyhawk around north Georgia. Absolutely beautiful flying day.

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We also paid John and Bernie a visit in the McCollum control tower after we got back and things had slowed down a bit at the airport.  They really had their hands full today. It was very busy with the nice weather. On the way out we were one of six flights waiting for departure and they had three in the pattern, several arrivals inbound and a transitioning aircraft all at the same time. These guys are awesome at what they do.

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Today’s Time (hours): 2.0
Empennage Time (hours): 128.0
Total Time (hours): 128.0

 

More Work on Elevators

Jared Solomon and Wes Greer stopped by today and helped move the elevators along. I really appreciate having experienced builders helping me out.  Things went really fast and their advice is incredibly valuable. Had lot’s of fun building together, too. Thanks guys!

Today we final drilled the tip ribs to one another and to the counterweight skins. We cut the foam trailing edge and trim tab ribs. We trimmed and deburred the trim tab skins. We trimmed the right elevator aft spar. We bent the closeout tabs on the left elevator skin. We fit and drilled the trim tab hinge. We clecoed everything together and fit/trimmed the elevator trailing edges.

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Jared and Wes went home and I continued building. Not even ten minutes unsupervised and I screwed up! I misunderstood the interface between the trailing edge extrusion and the elevator wing tip. I removed way too much material from the trailing edge. I didn’t realize that the wing tip would be trimmed and butt up against the trailing edge. Had I read forward to the “Empennage Fairings” section, I would have understood how this went together. Oh well… Ordered a new trailing edge from Van’s.

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Today’s Time (hours): 5.0
Empennage Time (hours): 85.0
Total Time (hours): 85.0

 

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