« Archives in October, 2006

Change of plans.

0.5 hours.
Going to redo the right elevator and the rudder. The right elevator is beyond salvage and the rudder came out like crap, and I haven’t been happy with it since it was done a couple of months ago. I finished the process, just for the experience, but could never actually call it done. The right elevator is an example of being in the incident pit. One thing leads to another and soon, you’re past the point of no return. In this case, the fixes were just making things worse. So i’ve got a new rudder and a new right elevator on the way.
Tonight’s bites of the elephant consisted of fabbing the rest of the stiffeners for the left elevator. I think work is going to let up this week, so I’ll probably be able to get back into it. an hour a day, right?

Pics of Rt Elevator and the doubler fabbing

.5 hours.
Got these off the camera. Shows the fun I’ve been having with the E702/E703/E704
trilogy of terror.

Rudder Skin.

7 hours
And not all at once.. This is a patch entry from December 10 or so. This is kind of an insert edit; I think my server was down around this time, but I have to tell the tale of the rudder skin. I had a lot of fun putting this thing together, because I didn’t want to blow a whole tube of pro-seal (which is what I had available at the time) on that AEX wedge at the trailing edge. I did some noodling around with a big piece of aluminum angle , matchdrilling skins, wedge, and aluminum angle together. Well, this didn’t turn out to be the best idea in the world. Trailing edge came out a little wavy. How wavy? Not so bad, but all the builder sites and forums warned direly of what happens if the trailing edge wavers by more than 1/8″ from top to bottom. I was pretty freaked out until I sent some photos to Van’s Aircraft. They said “It might not be pretty, but it should fly just fine.” I can live with that, and if push comes to shove, I can build a new rudder or buy a completed emp kit off the internet. I realize the latter is akin to cheating, but I’m OK with it for now. Maybe I’ll have a different opinion of it a few months or a year down the road. Maybe I’ll wake up in a cold sweat from a dream of falling in a rudderless airplane. I’ll sit up all night drinking coffee waiting for Van’s to open so I can order a new rudder. Or I’ll just paint it flat black and paint a great big eyeball on the tail. I’ll have the first ‘rat rod’ RV on the field.

Right elevator skeleton – fixing a mistake.

2 hours.
Last time we met, I believe I told you the great tale of woe that was my right elevator mistake. Didn’t build last week, we had to put up a fence, which looks beautiful and blocks the view of the neighbor’s laundry drying on the line, plus I had to work, which sucked. Hopefully the overtime will put an extra gizmo or two on the panel. so today I fabbed two angle brackets out of an extra HS spar I had laying around from a previous adventure and drilled them to the outboard ribs and spars. Fortunately, I was bright enough to cleco one side of the skin to the ribs and spar so the angles could be matchdrilled in the proper alignment. It looks like I’ll be able to get this horrific assemblage put together without using AN screws, and though it might be ugly, it should do the job and hold things together safely. I don’t expect to win any show awards with this airplane, I want to go flying. Much thanks to the community at vansairforce.net for showing me a couple of ways out of this pickle, and apologies for reanimating an ancient thread.
Next week is Halloween and I probably won’t get any building done then either, especially since I’m working Saturday and we’re on 10hr days all week. Things should get back to normal in a couple of weeks, and I made sure I had a good pickup point for the next time I can get into the shop.

Oh, about the pictures.

There will be pictures soon, i promise. Right now, the Li-ion battery in the SD400 has gone tits-up.. I get one or two photos out of it before it fails, so I’m due for a Best Buy run.

Right elevator skeleton

5 hours.
drilled, deburred, dimpled, primed right elevator skeleton.. Deburred and dimpled the parts of the skin I could reach with the squeezer. Got lazy and blew off the rest til the skeleton’s done. Messed up the last two rivets, sticking E-704 to E-702. I have not yet mastered the double-offset rivet set. The rivets are mushed a little sideways.. They’ll do, but they look like ass, so I’m going to drill them out and redo them. I also managed to bash the hell out of the spar when the rivet gun went for a little ride on the second-to-last rivet. Lesson: Don’t do intense craftsmanship tasks when you’re tired. Next chance I get, i’ll drill out those rivets and see if there’s some clever way to winkle a squeezer in there. If there isn’t, I need to find a better bucking bar option, or find a helper. Once I get past that little snag I’ll close up the right elevator and move on to the left one. The end of the empennage is in sight. Only took a year. At this rate I’ll have the plane done right around the time the quantum-foam zero-point-energy drive shows up as a crate motor from Pep Boys.