Hours: 2.6
Tailcone: 25.5

After another week off from building due to business travel and other happenings, we got back to it today.  Audra and Zach were both very helpful in getting the left side stiffeners in place.  Then later I got the forward bulkhead clecoed in and drilled.  Also got a bracket for the rudder assembly in place in the very back.


04/18/2011 – 04/19/2011
Hours: 6.1
Tailcone: 22.9

For the first time, I have fabricated a part from aluminum angle and gotten it right on the first try – the F-1056 rudder stop bracket.  I've discovered that I need to make initial cuts long and then use the belt sander to get the cut down to the line.  Where there are angles, I apply some basic trigonometry to compute the exact angle of the cut, then mark the metal at some reference point, then dial in the angle on the guide of the belt/sander or mitre saw and make the angled cut.  After this, I run the bench-grinder to smooth the edges.

In addition to this minor accomplishment, we now have in the garage something that is actually beginning to resemble an airplane.  Of course, it's only clecoed together at this point, but it's exciting to see.  The right and left skin of the tailcone is in place and the J-channel stiffeners on the bottom skin and the right skin are completely match-drilled.  We've ordered another 300 3/32 clecos to make the job of match-drilling the stiffeners on the left side a bit easier and we'll continue with that job when they arrive.  In the mean-time, I'll jump around and do whatever doesn't depend on that step being complete.


04/12/2011 - 04/17/2011
Hours: 11.1
Tailcone: 16.8

About a weeks worth of work done on the tailcone.  And after cutting and deburring and shaping and trimming lots of metal, it finally feels like we're making some progress on it.
This is an attachment bracket which eventually will help hold the Horizontal stabilizer to the tailcone.  I made two of these.  The first was passable, but I thought I could do a better job and so bought another length of angle aluminum from Home Depot and tried again.  The second one was much nicer so I put a star next to it so I don't get the two of them confused.

Audra building a little wooden jig.  She loves to come out and build with me.

We can't wait to see a picture of the airplane in the center of a shot like this about 2000 feet above the trees.

All the J-Channel stiffeners needed a 45 degree cut on the ends.  I did it with the belt sander.

A closeup of the J-Channel getting its 45 degree cut.
Each of the 12 J-Channel stiffeners needed a line drawn down the center.  It actually took me a little while to come up with this contraption to easily draw a very accurate line.  It's a little T-Square clamped to the bench.  The ruler has a small hole drilled at just the right diameter to allow a thin marker to squeeze into the hole and stay very tight.  See next picture.
Then I slide the J-channel along the T-Square and the marker draws a very consistent, straight line at exactly the right distance from the edge.  It worked great on all 12 J-Channels stiffeners.
Two long lengths of aluminum angle needed to be cut to size and a notch cut into them at the right spot.
The plans.

After the aluminum angle pieces were cut, a 2 degree bend had to be put into them starting at a specific spot.  The plans described how to do it.  One thing required was to use an aluminum-padded vice.  So I got some scrap aluminum and padded my vice.

The process involves putting the angle into the vice as shown with the spot of the bend on the edge.  Then you pre-load the end (by pulling the left end in this picture) in the direction of the bend.  Then you hit it with the mallot.  Do this until you get the desired angle.
Here are the two angle pieces bent.  One 2 degrees in one direction and the other 2 degrees in the other direction.  Each of these were checked for the right angle by placing them against the skin where they will eventually be mounted.  However .....

I decided to do some measurements and apply some high school trigonometry just for fun to verify the angles were correct.  That result is 4.67 degrees total.  About 2.3 degrees each.  Not too bad.

Naturally, I didn't have the right size saw horses.  They need to be at least 38 inches tall.  That's a pretty tall saw horse.  So we bought some wood and those hinges and build what we needed.

Here we have the bottom skin upside down with the skeletal pieces hanging below.  Those clecos along the top are holding on some of those J-Channel stiffeners cut and shaped in previous steps.  Those nice straight lines came in very handy as I match-drilled.  There were no problems at all.
And here's the mother-in-law over for a visit.  We're hoping in a few years to be able to easily deliver her and the father-in-law by air for visits to their friends in Florida.


Hours: 2.7
Tailcone: 5.7

Cut some metal. Drilled some holes. Deburred some edges. Cleco'ed stuff together.


Hours: 3.0
Tailcone: 3.0

After a week in Arizona, I've finally begun working on the tailcone. That's the rear part of the fuselage between the cabin (where the people sit) and the empennage. The empennage is the horizontal and vertical stabilizers along with the control surfaces (rudder and elevators) which have been completed.
Not a whole lot done so far on the tailcone. All the parts have been gathered together. The tie-down bar has been cut to size and tapped (this will be the thing from which the airplane can be tied down in the back). Some other bits of metal have been cut to size and deburred and drilled.

Elevators - Complete

Hours: 5.3
Elevators: 81.6

Elevators are complete!!

Today I had a lot of help from three of the kids and everything went pretty smoothly. The hinges were cut to size for attaching the trim tabs to the elevators. We tried to use the mitre saw for this task, but in the end just used a hack-saw followed by the scotch-brite wheel smooth it out. The hinges were match-drilled and riveted. Then the trim tabs were positioned and the hinge pin inserted. Then the end of the hinge pin was bent in order to better secure it to the elevator so that it can't back its way out (still have to put on the safety wire when I get some, but that's a 2 minute job.)

All in all, I'm really happy with how the elevators turned out. There are a couple of pictures showing the elevators balanced on the bench. This gives me a good feeling. In the end, they'll have to be balanced correctly before flying, but the fact that they don't slam down on one side or the other has an intuitively good sound to. The trim tabs don't look the greatest, but I believe they're structurally sound and will be fine in the end. That said, when I have the EAA Tech. counselor over to inspect my empennage construction, I'm going to ask him to look that over carefully just to be sure.

The parts for the tailcone (aside from the skins) have been moved to the garage and the elevators into the "airplane room." My hope is to order the wing kit at the end of this month. We shall see.