Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 2.4
VS total: 26.8

Not much today by way of tangible progress.  Fixed the questionable rivet mentioned yesterday and got the top rudder hinge riveted in place.  Spent an hour with Todd Stovall and got some hands-on lessons in replacing bad rivets.  Thanks again, Todd.

Questionable rivet before

Questionable rivet after.  Just needs some primer touch-up.
View like the one from yesterday.  Fixed, bigger rivet is visible.

Doubler for the top rudder hinge.  After putting in the wrong size rivets over the hinges, I had to drill out eight of them and replace.  I followed some advice I read on VAF about drilling out and had no problems.  No hole enlargement at all!  I drilled ever so gingerly with a #40 bit into the center of the rivet (these are 470AN4 rivets), but only just past the head and into the shank.  Then I got the #30 and very slowly drilled into the hole made with the #40 bit.  The action of the slowly moving bit broke the head right off.  Then a gentle tap with a punch finished the job.

Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 5.9
VS total: 24.4

Primed all the parts of the VS then began riveting it all together.

A small enclosure for the parts to warm up in for priming.  Outside temperature was in the low 30's.  Inside this enclosure, a balmy 75.

Parts primed and drying in the warm shelter.  Looks like a couple of pieces are touching in there.  That shouldn't be.  Next time, I'll do a better job keeping them apart.

Zinc Chromate.  Nasty stuff, but supposedly really good for corrosion protection.  And this stuff is self-etching.  I just cleaned the parts and sprayed.  We'll see how it all turns out.  I'll admit some look better than others.  It took a few parts before I got a nice smooth coat down.  But these are all interior parts so pretty isn't my concern.
That's me.  Safety first.
Finally!  The first rivets.  This is part of a rudder hinge and the parts riveted to it are the rudder stops.
Oh no!  It didn't take long.  This is the first rivet I had to drill out.  Before the night was through, there would be two more.

Two of the three rivets I drilled out, I was able to get another in without too much issue.  But this one I had to drill out twice.  What you see is the third rivet I put in and I'm a little concerned about it.  I don't want to drill it out a third time if I don't have to.  But it just doesn't look great to me.  The top side (manufactured head) dips in just a touch on one side and causes me to worry that it might be a spot where a crack can form in the metal.  But If I have to drill it out, I'll almost certainly have to put in a bolt rather than another rivet because the hole will be too big.
A look at the top side.  The shiny part isn't a crack, it's just bare metal where the primer was worn away from all the drilling and re-riveting.  But that is the spot where the rivet head goes into the metal more than it should.
Here's another look at it.  The first rivet on the bottom this side of the spar doubler.  See how it sinks in just a smidge compared to the others around it?

Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 4.3
VS total: 18.5

Finished all the deburring and countersinking and dimpling for the VS.  All that's left is priming and riveting.
Everything laid out waiting to be primed.

Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 5.3
VS total: 14.2

Cleco'ed VS skin to skeleton.  Match drilled and then removed skin and took apart skeleton.  Deburred everything.  Marked some holes to remain un-dimpled. Dimpled ribs (except marked holes).  Began dimpling skin - about half-way there.  Accidentally dimpled a few holes in a rib that shouldn't have been and was relieved to learn they could be un-dimpled (searched VAF before and found I could squeeze with flat sets to un-dimple, but only once).  Had lots of help from Scott today.  He did much of the deburring of the skin and also served as a second pair of hands when cleco'ing the skin to the skeleton.  Our daughter Audra came out to help for a while, too.

Audra pointing out what the airplane is supposed to look like.

VS skin cleco'ed to the skeleton.  Some pain was avoided
thanks to those who warned about grinding down a small part of the front ribs.

Finally, we have something that resembles a part of an airplane.

Neat look into the Vertical Stabilizer.

Dimpling the VS skin.  Notice the blue strips that have been removed.

All taken apart again.

Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 1.0
VS total: 8.9

Not much tonight.  Cleco and match drill VS skeleton.  Got some help from our son Scott pulling blue plastic off.  Stopped short of positioning the skin because I remembered there was a "gotcha" regarding some of the ribs pressing into the skin and I wanted to look it up.  Glad I did.  See:

Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 0.8
VS total: 7.9

Deburred the rear spar doubler more properly with a die-grinder and little scotch-brite wheel.
Also gathered parts for next steps and removed blue plastic.

Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 2.6
VS total: 7.1

Deburr rear spar doubler and top rudder hinge doubler.  Cleco hinges onto rear spar, final drill parts attached to rear spar and countersink.  Page one complete.

12/20/2010 - Todd Stovall graciously gave me a tutorial at his house
on the art of aircraft construction.  Thanks Todd!

12/21/2010 - Closeup of real spar doubler.  You can see some of my nice countersinks.  And you can see the marks where I deburred the interior cutouts.  It looks jagged, but it's actually quite smooth to the touch.  The reflections from the overhead lights make it look worse than it really is.  But still, it is uneven.  That's what happens when you try to use a wheel that's too big for the hole and only parts of it get done while other parts are untouched by the wheel.  In the end I used a deburring hand tool.  I think when it comes apart before priming I'm going to go over this again, but this time with a small scotch-brite wheel attached to a dremel.  I know it's fine, but it just looks terrible.
12/21/2010 - a shot of the rudder hinges cleco'ed to the rear spar.

12/21/2010 - You can see the one and only hole that isn't quite right.  The spar tipped while I was drilling and I made this small gouge.  I'll look at it more closely when it's time to rivet and possibly drill it larger and put in the next size up.

12/21/2010 - Page 1 complete!!

12/21/2010 - Just a pretty pattern of clecos holding the top rudder hinge doubler together
with the rear spar and the top hinges.

Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 1.2
VS total: 4.5

Match drill, deburr, cleco spar caps to rear spar flange.

Vertical Stabilizer

Hours: 3.3
VS total: 3.3
Trim rear spar caps, match drill to rear spar web, deburr, and cleco.

To note: first injury when deburr tool slipped in order to remove any burrs from my finger.
But not to worry.  No spars, spar caps, or skins were even scratched.

Inventory of Empennage and Tailcone Kit

Hours: 2.0
Total: 2.0

Time to inventory the first kit

Joe unwraps each subkit

Laura checks off each item
on the packing list



We put the skins in an indoor storage room for now,
away from the kids and other foot traffic
Two hours later, an empty crate

Delivery of Empennage and Tailcone Kit

Delivery truck arrives 12/15/2010

Unloading crate

In the garage/workshop
The first look inside

Looking over the plans