« Archives in November, 2006

slow progress, but progress.

1.5 hours.
I don’t know if ‘progress’ is the right word. What’s it called when you’re catching up to where you were supposed to be before you had to take two steps backwards to fix something? Today I finished manufacturing the stiffeners for the rt elevator and rudder. Deburred, and dimpled, ready for priming.. Didn’t get to that either. Next week.

More stiffeners, drilled rt elevator stiffeners to skin.

1.5 hours.
Finished drilling stiffeners to Rt Elevator skin. Also fabbed rudder stiffeners from R-915’s. Let’s not kid ourselves. The only reason this is happening is because yours truly is taking another swipe at the tail control surfaces. It was boring the first time, it’s even worse this time around. I’d just as soon not look at another freaking stiffener ever again, but I need to get these parts right or I’m going to have to seriously consider buying a finished emp kit on the web.
The plan now is to get everything drilled and dimpled, then prime the whole wad all at once, since I find priming even more odious than remanufacturing stiffeners.
Injury of the day: Managed to grind off some skin from the left index finger on the Scotchbrite wheel.. Let’s hear it for shop safety.

Rt Elevator

.75 hours.
Clecoed Rt Elevator stiffeners to skins. drilled out exposed holes, need to shift clecoes and drill out the rest. Did I mention that I’m still kicking myself in the arse for having to do this again?

I hate commercial air travel

Flew to San Francisco for the Green Festival this past weekend. Lots of eco stuff, green building, organic farming, alternative energy, etc. We took Southwest from LAX to SFO. It sucked, both ways. They were the cheap seats, so we sat in the very back near the commode, listening to the turbofans. The seats were crammed about as close together as they could have been. On the evaluation card, I think I mentioned that they should just put us in horizontal racks, since that worked so well for slave ships and gulag trains. Airline fun comes from any direction.. It could be the kid behind you, kicking the seatback, or the businessdrone in front of you who has to lean it into your knees every ten minutes with a full body stretch, or the plumpling next to you, arm-fat oozing into your tiny and expensive space after its conquest of the armrest for the duration of the flight. On the other side of you might be a chatterbox who fails to understand that one person’s way to pass the time is another person’s relativistic dilation of hell. And then there’s the screaming kid, who might be in any one of the above zones, but could come from anywhere, the farther away the better. The inverse-square law IS your friend. We got all this and more, this trip. The sound of the turbofans is kind of cool at first, and does a lot to pave over the other annoyances, but it gets on your nerves after a while and the only way out of that is earplugs. I don’t like earplugs, especially in a tube full of strangers where I might, much as I’d rather not, have to interact with one of them at any time.
Every time one of these little annoyances would crop up, from the security checkpoint to the ass-in-the-face waiting to get off the plane, I thought of my little RV in the garage, and my ride with Dan Checkoway last year in N714D. Motivation comes in many forms. Thanks, Southwest, for strengthening my resolve to press on with my plane so that I can take care of my own regional aviation needs.

Rt Elevator

.5 hours.
finished making the Rt Elevator stiffeners, prepped the skin (took blue stuff off where the rivets will go).
Small bites, early mornings before work. That’s when my time is the most free, oddly enough. And it’s easier to get motivated before a day of work than after.

Rt Elevator Stiffeners v2.0

.5 hours
Cut new Rt Elevator stiffeners. Also realized I need 7 more rudder stiffeners. I can’t seem to find the original packing list from Van’s that came with the emp kit, but no matter. I’ll sort it out. Like the new color scheme? I know FA about css and html hacking, so I just poked around with color values til I got what I wanted.
Have to go to San Francisco this weekend w/wife for the Green Festival. No building.

Left Elevator skin

6 hours.
Ddrilled, deburred, dimpled, primed, and riveted left elevator stiffeners to stiffener skin. Also unpacked and inventoried the box of replacement parts from Van’s that showed up yesterday. I forgot to order 2 E-720 stiffener angle strips, I only ordered one. So that’s on the way. So much for a day of stiffener fun. I also managed to do the classic trick where I try to back-rivet something that’s not actually on the back rivet plate. But the ding in the stiffener and skin is negligible. I replaced the rivet with an oops rivet, so you probably won’t ever see it. Despite my best efforts to the contrary, the skin is ready to be drilled to the left elevator skeleton. I’m betting most of tomorrow will be taken up by the left elevator as well, so I’m not holding my breath on getting to rudder 2.0. Although I should probably re-do the right elevator instead, because the elevators are the hardest. the rudder’s not so bad, except for the trailing edge, and I’ve got a plan for that this time.
Sometimes this whole process just puts me in a filthy mood. I feel like I’m stealing time from something else, like I never have enough time, and I’m never going to finish. This makes me irritable. I have plenty of time, I just feel like I should be much further along. This, of course, is my fault.. All those days where I sat on the couch and surfed the web, or poked around with computer music apps, or went to the beach, or sat on the patio and read a book, I could have been building. I need to take my time, relax, and not let my mind wander while I’m doing things that could result in damage. I’m sometimes afraid to set goals, because not meeting them time after time can be discouraging. Dialing in realistic goals is probably a good skill to have.
So tomorrow, I’m going to say the goal is to get the LE drilled, deburred, dimpled, and primed. Assuming I don’t frak up too badly, this isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and even with the occasional mistake, I should be able to get it done. I know I’ll get started early, because the neighbor’s damn dogs will be up and barking their fool heads off at 0600 like clockwork. I miss living in the country.

Left Elevator prep.

2 hours.
rudder and rt elevator parts are inbound. Since I haven’t buggered up the left elevator, I figured I’d work on that. After the stiffeners were done, I started prepping the left elevator skeleton. Got the skeleton bits clecoed together and final-drilled, and this time I checked off everything in the construction manual as I did it. So I haven’t messed up yet, this much I’m sure of. I still need to prep the left elevator skin, prime the stiffeners and rivet them on.
Need to pick up some blue RTV for the TE side of the stiffeners. And some JB weld for the AEX wedge on the rudder. That thing is coming out straight this time. There will also be RTV on the stiffeners, and the bottom attach strip will be cut to the proper length. I will also make sure that the bottom rib doesn’t warp when I dimple it. I want good, safe control surfaces. I know the VS and HS are OK, but this part is really hard. They weren’t kidding when they said the learning curve spikes on the elevators. I’m feeling that spike in all kinds of places.