The Telltale Heart is no longer beating.

4 hours.

Today I started the fix on something I should have done a long time ago. When I first started building this thing in late 2005, I knew FA about how airplane parts go together. I also had pretty weak skills in precision metal cutting. I didn’t know how big the saw kerf was, I didn’t know how much metal would come off from the grinding wheel, and several other things that are pretty much muscle memory now. When I was building the horizontal stabilizer in 2006, I still didn’t quite have the knack of it,

This is what I’m talking about:

This is the forward reinforcing angle that spans the forward spar of the horizontal stabilizer. This part is structural. I probably shaved off too much metal from the bottom when making the angled tab, so that’s what killed me on the edge distance. Then I further beat the crap out of the two inboard ribs during the process of sticking it all together. I sent photos to Van’s of the whole sad-looking assembly and they told me it was ugly but not a problem structurally. Maybe it is OK, but it’s been bugging me for nearly four years. So today I ripped out the ribs and the HS-710 angle. New parts are on their way from the mothership.

It’s going to be rock solid this time, and I know that because I now know HOW those parts are all supposed to fit together, so I’ll have a drilling and riveting strategy that insures everything has the proper edge distance. I also have a tungsten bucking bar that I didn’t have before, and I have a decent array of skills built up over the last 4+ years so I think I can rivet the new pieces together without giving them that hand-hammered bronze-age look.

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