Monday, October 6, 2014

I Have Airplane Parts!!!

First step after my last update was to put together the skeleton of the horizontal stabilizer.  Once that was riveted, I temporarily attached the skin and test fit the rudder and vertical stabilizer - they fit together quite  well and all it took was a simple light finger touch to turn the rudder on the bearings.  While they were attached, I tested out the anticipated attach points for the VOR antenna to ensure they did not interfere with the rudder swing.

The Technical Counselor paid a visit last week to observe my work so far.  After inspecting the work and talking through a few hints and tips, he gave me the go ahead to close the skins on the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder.  With this approval, I riveted the second side of the horizontal stabilizer to completely finish it, and also riveted the second side of the rudder skins to get it ready for the next step.

That done, I moved onto the installation of the VOR antenna in the horizontal stabilizer.  The VOR antenna is not part of the standard kit, so I had to manufacture my own material for the installation.  I talked through options with my technical counselor an we decided on an approach that maintained the existing rivet holes and took advantage of  gaps in the rivet flanges of the rib. I started by fixing the location of the VOR base on the rib, and then slowly ground back the rib flanges until each of the antennas were clear of interference.  This was followed by drilling a hole in one of the flanges for the hex key used to lock the antenna in place.  After verifying correct positioning, I then transferred the hole locations onto the skin and slowly and carefully cut out an hole for the antenna to pass through the skin, starting with 2 pilot holes and finishing up with files to obtain the final desired shape.

Next in line will be finishing the horizontal stabilizer and putting together the skeleton of the elevator.

All in all it has been a productive couple weeks and I am happy with the progress.

Horizontal stabilizer skeleton riveted
Test fitting the rudder and horizontal stabilizer

Riveting the rudder - for this rivet, since there was not room to directly use a rivet gun, I used a aluminum
 wedge with a rivet with a bent mandrel to give me the required clearance - worked perfectly!
Finished horizontal stabilizer
Rudder skins riveted on both sides
Vertical Stabilizer skin with hole for antenna element

With antenna element installed - the additional small skin hole between the clecos is for the
hex key to tighten the element in place.
Test fitting both elements of the VOR antenna 

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