Vertical Stabilizer is Done!   June 16th, 2006

While riveting the skin, I screwed up the very last rivet in the middle rib. I had to wait several days while I ordered an ‘oops rivet’ from Van’s Aircraft. Once it got here things went pretty fast. I fixed the bad rivet and went on to rivet the outer ribs and rear spar. I finally finished today and took the blue plastic off.

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Saturday was spent priming the rudder parts. While those dry, I’ve started to rivet the vertical stabilizer.

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Today Fabiola helped me dimple the holes in the Vstab skin I couldn’t reach with the squeezer. We used the C-frame, and it is really a two-person job. One holds the skin in place and the other whacks the C-frame with a hammer. Fabiola is the official whacker 🙂

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After finishing and hanging the Hstab on the wall, I went back to the Vertical Stabilizer. I spent about an hour taking it apart (I had last match drilled the skin to the skeleton) and deburring some of it.

Since the lower section of the rear spar needs flush rivets, I dimpled the spar and countersunk the reinforcement bar.

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Assembling the VS Skeleton   April 6th, 2006

Today I clecoed together the Vertical Stabilizer skeleton and match drill all the rib-to-spar holes.

Below is a picture of the skeleton.

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Not much to report…I spent about an hour today deburring the Vertical Stabilizer ribs and front spar. I am still waiting for my replacement bracket from Vans.

Hopefully I can assemble the VS skeleton tomorrow and get it all drilled out.

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Drilling lightening Holes   April 1st, 2006

Rather than sit and wait for my new angle bracket to arrive, I decided to start drilling the lightening holes in the rear spar reinforcement bar. I went to a couple of hardware stores looking for a fly-cutter, but had no luck. Fortunately, my co-worker and fellow RV-7A builder Bruce Wagner offered to let me use his cutter. This is a mean little bugger (the fly-cutter that is). I can see how it can do some damage to both bodily parts and the workpiece if anything comes loose. I made sure everything was clamped way down, and used plenty of cutting oil.

The end result is a nice reinforcement bar with 7 holes along the center section. The ‘white spots’ around the circles is where I used some emery cloth to smooth out the edges and remove scratches. These actually look nice and shiny (when they’re not reflecting flash light!)

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Am I blind or what…   April 1st, 2006

Remember this picture from my previous post?

Well, these white angle brackets (VS-410) need to be moved down by one hole!!!

Of course, I figured this out after I had drilled the two extra holes in the top bracket. The bracket now has two holes where there aren’t supposed to be holes, and the rear spar and reinforcement bars have an extra hole in the center.

So, I’ve decided to throw away the bracket and order a new one…only $5 plus shipping (i.e., around $15!!)

The ‘extra’ hole in the spar falls right on the edge of an optional 2″ lightening hole. So, I’m going to make the hole 2-1/8 instead. To make sure I don’t get too close to the next lightening hole, I’m making the next slightly smaller. The end result is that the distance between the two holes remains the same. See the next entry for pictures…

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Today I started drilling the vertical stabilizer rear spar. Same process as before; cleco the reinforcement plate and the spar together, and match drill. In addition, there are three brackets that will attach to the rudder. These are also match drilled in place.

The bracket closest to the bottom is missing some of its holes. The idea is that these are match-drilled using the spar and reinforcement bar as guides. I noticed that the bracket wasn’t sitting flush against the reinforcement bar when clecoed in with the pre-drilled holes. So, I used my handy C-clamp to make sure the bracket sat flush when match drilling. Results were pretty good…

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I got sick of waiting for a free Saturday with good weather to prime the horizontal stabilizer pieces. I decided to go ahead and start working on the vertical stabilizer, and then go back to the HS when the weather/schedule cooperate.

So, here’s a couple of pictures of deburring the rear spar and reinforcement piece. I used the scotch-brite wheel and a little bit of emery cloth..

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