Sunday, September 7, 2014

First Couple Weeks

It has now been a couple weeks since I received the empennage (tail) kit.  I have managed to find some time to work almost every day  - sometimes it is only half-an-hour, but the plan is to work on it every day to some extent to keep the progress going.

I've had to split time between working on the build and finalizing the layout of my workspace. I still have a few things to set up in the garage, but going forward the majority of time will be spent on the build instead of the shop.

To help familiarize myself with the empennage construction, I test fit all the individual pieces (elevator, vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer, and rudder), using clecos instead of rivets to hold everything together.  Going through the test fitting helped me sort through how the pieces will eventually all fit together, and will help me plan the sequence of riveting when that is started.  All the components fit together very well, which is a great start.  There are also a couple pieces that need to be match-drilled to ensure a proper final fit, so I also took care of that during the test fit.

After the test fit, I broke down all the components and started the process of deburring and cleaning all the structural components and the skins.  As of today, all the empennage pieces are deburred and cleaned, and the framework for the rudder, horizontal stabilizer, and the horizontal stabilizer has been primed and is ready for riveting.  I did have a minor set-back when I ruined a couple pieces as I was shifting things around in the garage - fortunately it was before I had done much work on them so I won't lose any time, but it will take a while for the replacement parts to make their way to me.  Also had one piece that had a crack in it that the factory will be replacing for me.

So, all-in-all,  it was a productive first couple weeks and I am thoroughly enjoying the process!

Here are a couple of photos from the last couple weeks:

Doing inventory - these are all rudder components
Test fitting the elevator trim tab
Test fit of elevator  with skins
Test fitting the horizontal stabilizer
Match-drilling the horizontal stabilizer
Test-fitting the vertical stabilizer
Horizontal stabilizer cleaned,tagged and ready for degreasing
Horizontal stabilizer degreased and ready for priming
Horizontal stabilizer primed and ready for riveting
Rudder (left) and vertical stabilizer (right) components
primed and ready for riveting

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