Hours: 2.1
Elevators: 3.1

I went through the first few pages of the plans and found the parts that require trimming and trimmed them. Also began the deburring process on these parts and others required for the elevators.

Horizontal Stabilizer - Completed

Hours: 6.6
HS Total: 74.5

Horizontal Stabilizer is complete!!!

More rivets. It's hard to appreciate just how many rivets are required to hold an airplane together before you start building one. No major issues today at all. Maybe two rivets that had to be drilled out. But that's it. Also had lots of help from Zachary and Audra. We had a really good system going for a while. I stood on a stool in order to reach a spot where I was setting blind rivets. I would pull out a cleco and hand the pliers with the cleco in them to Audra who would then put the cleco away and hand me the pliers when I needed them again. And after I would set a blind rivet, I would hand Zach the hand-puller and he would load it up with another rivet as Audra would hand me the empty cleco pliers. We did this all across the rear spar as I was getting it in place. ... Then we went out to play soccer for a while.

Meantime, Laura was doing her best to fix the mess I had made on the Vertical Stabilizer when I tried to touch up some spots that I had scratched. I thought it would be a good idea to use this white metal primer/sealer I got at Home Depot. I'm sure it was fine, but it looked like a monkey had done the job ... so Laura was doing what she could to fix the problem. She stripped off a good amount of the yellow primer and then used what remained of our yellow to smooth it all out on the VS. But then we ran out of yellow and I thought it would be fine to just use the green. Now the metal is protected as it was before but because of the green and yellow patches, it looks even worse than it did before. I'm now debating about doing it over again, stripping all the primer off and spraying it with the green stuff - or just leaving it alone. Part of area in question will never be visible on the finished airplane and the part that will can be painted later. The important thing is that the metal is protected with the Zinc Chromate primer - whatever color it is. .... But still. I do want it to look good, so we may try to sand it and clean it and maybe put another coat over the whole thing of all green. Probably won't take that long to do, actually.

Audra getting ready to help me build our airplane.  Notice all the missing teeth.

A look down the completed rear spar.  That colorful man in the upper left of the picture was made for me by Audra.  I haven't gotten his name yet, but he's been keeping me company the last couple of evenings when I work on the airplane late at night.  Audra made him for me.

HS completed.

HS completed.

HS completed.

I couldn't resist standing the VS where it will someday be permanently mounted.
And this is where the HS will live until we're ready for him again.

 Elevator parts.  That's next.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 3.0
HS Total: 67.9

Lots more riveting, but nothing exciting yet to see. The entire front spar is riveted in place and the 4 inboard ribs are riveted up to the stringers.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 2.1
HS Total: 64.9

More riveting - and still not done riveting the front spar flange to the skin.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 3.4
HS Total: 62.8

Positioned front spar assembly into skins and got the riveting started. Lots more riveting to go...

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 5.2
HS Total: 59.4

Got the front spar and the inspar ribs and stringer assembly riveted together. Also got the nose ribs riveted to the skins.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 3.5
HS Total: 54.2
Primed all the parts for the Horizontal stabilizer. Laura helped. She did most of the priming, including touching up the parts done for the HS previously. She's also planning to touch up the mess I made of the VS priming job. That'll be nice. We also switched to using the Green Zinc Chromate. We both agreed that it actually goes on nicer and looks much better than yellow. I had read somewhere to avoid the green, but I honestly don't know why.


Hours 1.0
Elevators Total: 1.0

It's way too windy outside to prime the HS parts so Laura and I gathered the parts for the elevators and took all the blue plastic off.

elevator parts (and other stuff)

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 1.7
HS Total: 50.7

Dimpled the left skin.  It went much quicker with Scott's help - and no flubs tonight.  In fact, I just couldn't stand that one bad looking rivet in those brackets and I fixed that too.

The skins all dimpled and ready for priming.

Bottom right rivet has been driving me crazy.  It's fine, but it just looks bad, so...

Upper right rivet is the replacement.
And the bottom left is the shop head of the replaced rivet - slightly elongated but height and diameter are right on the money.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 3.0
HS Total: 49.0

Tonight I got the ribs dimpled and the right skin.  The only excitement was when I was dimpling one of the last 5 holes and the skin slipped as I was coming down on the hammer of the C-Frame tool.  The dimple ended up off center and damaged the edge of the hole.  My first thought was, "Oh great.  how many hours?  And now I have to order a new skin."  But then I thought about how I might repair it.  I finished dimpling the holes and scratched my head for a few minutes.

I undid the dimple with the flat sets in the squeezer.  Then I clecoed the stringer in place (this is where the hole was located) and match-drilled that hole for a 1/8 flush rivet.  I pulled the stringer back off, dimpled the hole for a 1/8 flush rivet and countersunk the corresponding hole in the stringer.  It looked fine from the front - perfect in fact.  But from the back, I got a little concerned when I looked really close and noticed what looked like two little cracks.  It was clear that these cracks didn't go through the skin since they were not visible from the front.  But they were there.  I fired up the compressor and plugged in the dremmel tool I have loaded with a little 1" scotch-brite wheel.  I hoped that a few gentle touches on those cracks would prove them to be very shallow.  With great relief I report that they were.  After a few light touches with the wheel, they disappeared entirely.  I marked the spot so I remember to put in a #4 rivet when the time comes.

Stringer with the enlarged, countersunk hole

The damaged hole enlarged and dimpled for a 1/8 flush rivet.

Closeup of backside of hole after being enlarged and dimpled (and with the marker cleaned off).  The two cracks are visible.

If you zoom in, you can still see where one of the crack was because of how the light reflects on the area where the metal has been polished, but it's now smooth across that spot.  Looking at it in person, you'd know something was done there, but you wouldn't know what.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 2.3
HS Total: 46.0

Got help from Scott again tonight.  He deburred the skins and I countersunk the spars and spar caps.  Dimpling is next followed by priming and assembly of the horizontal stabilizer.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 3.3
HS Total: 43.7

Lots and lots of deburring.  All the ribs and spars are done.  I also replaced the two rivets in the brackets that looked odd.  I'm now really finished with the brackets.  All the rivets look good (except for one) and it's as strong as it can possibly be.  I will now stop obsessing over the rivets in those brackets.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 6.5
HS total: 40.4

I couldn't leave those brackets alone.  I knew I could get them looking better than they were - and in the process, I made the assembly stronger since I had to put #5 (larger) rivets in several of the holes.  Scott and I got the whole horizontal stabilizer match-drilled today.  Then Audra and I disassembled the whole thing (for a six-year-old, she'd not bad with the cleco pliers.)  Finally, I deburred all the holes in the spars.

Scott doing some drilling.

Audra posing for a picture after helping take the horizontal stabilizer assembly apart.

Shop side of brackets after fixing all those bad-looking rivets.

Shop side of other bracket.  Center one and bottom center look a little odd.  I'm guessing it's funny light reflection, but will double-check tomorrow.  I think nothing looks great closeup.

Compared to before, this almost looks like a professional job.  Almost.

Top right was mentioned yesterday.  It's a #5 rivet and I opted to leave it in place rather than drill it out.  If I mess up the hole drilling it out, I have no #6 rivets.  The crease in the rivet head is the result of the rivet gun bouncing (a problem which I fixed by lowering the pressure).  This particular one isn't pretty, but has no rise on the creased part (in other words, nothing can slide under) and the majority of the rivet head is in good shape as can be seen.  In addition, the shop head is well formed on this rivet.  Given that it's larger than called for in the plans and therefore stronger and that the manual says a crease in a rivet head is fine anyway, I feel this is safe and doesn't look that bad given that the majority of the rivets on the bracket have been replaced and themselves look good.
Everything taken apart again.  But where are all the ribs?

There are all the ribs, patiently waiting to be deburred and primed.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 5.6
HS total: 33.9

I had to repair some of those rivets from yesterday.  A couple of them were driving me crazy because of how bad they looked.  So, now they look better.  Aside from that, we got the skins and the spars and ribs all clecoed together.  We completely ran out of 3/32 clecos.  I'll have to buy more before starting the wing kit.  Now we're ready to final drill all the skins which will be the next step.  Had lots of help today from Scott, Zach and Daniel.

Here's an updated picture of that bracket.  I replaced two more rivets - the lower right and the one right above that.  Not surprisingly, I had to drill out to #5 and still chopped slightly into the manufactured head on the lower right.  I think my problem was having the pressure set too high.  I figured that out eventually.  Oh well.  According to the manual, these rivets are all safe even though some of them don't look great.  It's difficult but I just have to accept that some things are just not going to look like a professional did them.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 4.0
HS total: 28.3

Got all the parts associated with the front spar all riveted together.  Had some issues (as usual) bucking rivets I couldn't get at with my squeezer.  Then did some more match drilling of the ribs to the front spar.

These are the shop heads of the rivets I had to buck which connect the left bracket to the spar.  Notice the larger rivets on the lower right.  Yes.  Of the 18 rivets I bucked, 6 had to be drilled out, two of which (these two) had to go up a size.  It's pretty scuffed up in the picture, but the rivets are mostly in really good shape.

The shop heads of the other bracket.  Three of the rivets here are replacements, but none had to go up in size. 

These are the manufactured heads of one of the brackets.  They all look a little ugly from the rivet gun jumping, but according to the manual, though they may look bad, they aren't compromised in their strength.  The two larger ones are visible on the lower left.  If it weren't for the fact that I've got two larger (stronger) rivets in the bottom row, I might have replaced the lower right rivet just because the disfigurement from the jumping rivet gun is a bit excessive.  ... I may still replace it, but probably not, as I'd rather not needlessly run the risk of messing up the hole.

The front side of other bracket.

The ribs clecoed to the spar.

Another shot of the ribs clecoed to the front spar.

Horizontal Stabilizer

Hours: 1.3
HS total: 24.3

Primed all parts associated with the front spar of the horizontal stabilizer.
Those nice brackets match drilled to the spar - ready to be primed.

The parts after being primed.  You can see those brackets way back on the far end of the table.

I love the way the parts look right after I prime them.  All clean and smooth and shiny.  Tomorrow at this time, after they're riveted together, I intend for them to still be all clean and smooth and shiny!