inventory of empennage kit. Vans did an excellent job of packing both
boxes. Everything was accounted for!
is the whole emp kit layed out on my workbenches.
fasteners. Several hundred rivets here at least.
are the two reinforcing bars next to the spar skeleton. After a few
hours of elbow grease, they are much more shiney than before :-) The
last couple of days I rounded the edges of the horizontal stab rear
spar reinforcing bars shown here and polished to a satin finish with
sandpaper. Not hard but time consuming stuff.
next step is to cleco the reinforcing bars into the spar channel so
you can match drill the many holes.
i've cleco'd the elevator hinge brakets to the assembly for match
is a close up of the center elevator hinge bracket and bearing.
are two reinforcing bars for the forward spar of the horizontal stabilizer.
You have to taper the ends with a scotchbrite wheel on your trusty
are both of the reinforcing bars together. The plans call for bending
the ends at an angle of 6 degrees, which you do in a vice.
is a shot of the forward and rear spars of the horizontal stabilizer
cleco'd together. Notice the shape of the forward spar (arrow-shaped).
This will basically be the shape of the leading edge of the HS, and
is why I needed to bend the reinforcing bars to the 6 degree angle.
are the HS-404s, which are the inboard most leading edge ribs in the
HS. You have to trim the trailing flange to the measurements on the
plans so they can fit over the reinforcing bars on the forward spar.
Basically I used the snips followed by a file and the trusty scotchbrite
wheel in my die grinder.
is an example of a rib laying flat on my workbench. Notice that there
is a slight bow away from the workbench due to the way vans manufactures
is a close up of the bow in a typical HS rib.
order to have the rib lay flat, you need to 'flute' it, which means
basically crease the flanges to make the part gently bend back into
shape. Here is a rib after fluting. Notice the flute in the center
of the rib.
is a close up of the fluted rib.
I have the left side HS skin cleco'd on to the spars and ribs. Notice
the clamps on the ribs in the foregraound. Those are needed because
those particular ribs are not pre-punched at the factory. You use
the skin (which is pre-punched) as a drill guide to drill the holes
in those ribs.
shot of the left hand HS assembly with the skin cleco'd on. These
clecos are really cool....there are no rivets in this assembly (yet).
The entire thing is held together with clecos.
drilling all skin holes in left side of HS. Cleco'd right side skin
to right side HS frame (above).
right hand side HS-404 and HS 405. Match drilled the 404 to the 601pp
skin after clamping.
I have matched the HS-601pp skin to all of the flanges and ribs. Also,
the front spar reinforcing bars have been match drilled to the 702
front spar (note the clecos).
is a shot of the outboard holes of the reinforcing bars of the front
spar drilled in place with the spar.
a lot of work today, but don't have any pretty pics to show for it.
Basically I dissassembles both left and right HS assemblies, and marked
them with a light punch so i will know which parts go on the left
and which are on the right after priming. During the priming process
you clean the bejesus out of the parts so this step is crucial when
you begin the riveting process. After this, I began deburring the
more deburring of the right hand HS skeleton. Here is an example of
what deburring is. This is an example of what a typical hole looks
like close up after drilling. Notice the raised edges...a rivet wouldn't
be able to sit flush against the flange - so we need to fix this by
a few quick twists of a deburring bit in my cordless screwdriver,
the hole looks like this. No nasty edges.
deburring skeleton (internal) parts of the horizontal stabilizer.
Here is a group photo of the internal pieces. The parts near the top
are the the left half of the HS and those on the bottom are for the
right half. This will probably be one of the last times I'll take
a pic while they're all shiney. I will begin the priming process for
corrosion protection soon and they'll look bright white after that.
most of the day dimpling. The holes are dimpled so that the AN426
rivets can sit flush with the surface of the skin which reduces aerodynamic
drag. Here is a pic of a flange with a few holes that have been dimpled.
My pneumatic squeezer was able to reach almost all of the holes in
is a close up view of a typical hole that has been dimpled.
is a view of a HS skin with holes that have been dimpled. The holes
around the edges can be reached with the pneumatic squeezer, which
by the way makes this job go very fast. The holes in the interior
must be reached with the C-frame dimple tool.
is a view the primer/painting booth that I built in the garage, errrr,
airplane hanger. Basically I used 3/4" PVC and glued the frame
together then hung a 4 mil plastic drop cloth around the outside.
I'm getting some weird looks from the neighbors...they probably think
I've built a gas chamber or something.
is an inside view. I built the cheap table with 2x4's and used perfboard
as the top to help the airflow when I'm spraying. I haven't put a
roof on the structure now...if I do decide to paint the exterior in
here I'll probably add a roof and some fans and filters to keep the
I built that fancy paint booth so I just had to try my hand at priming
something. This is a scrap peice that I have practiced riveting. Don't
worry, my rivets have improved somewhat since I bludgeoned this peice
some time ago. The first step is to clean it with laquer thinner.
Next you scrub it down for quite some time with aluminum etcher and
a scotchbrite pad. This step removes the aluminum oxide coating to
prep the surface for the primer. After etching, it looks like the
photo to the left. Notice the lack of luster after scrubbing.
photo at left is the other side of that same piece, and I have not
done anything to the surface here. This is just for comparison to
show what the surface looks like after etching compared to before.
priming the piece looks something like this. It is white in color
and quite durable! The primer I'm using is water based (believe it
or not) and is made by aircraft finishing systems. The only downside
that I can see so far is that it takes a while to dry (around 15 minutes
to totally dry). Other than that it there is no mixing, you just pour
it right out of the bottle into the spray gun and have at it.
are the first six rivets that I have set in my airplane! This is the
horizontal stabilizer hinge bracket, and the black and silver object
in the center is the hinge bearing itself. Basically this is part
of the assembly that the elevators will attach to that allows them
to freely swing up and down as you push and pull on the yoke.
I have just finished priming the rear spar components of the horizontal
stabilizer. You can see that I am wasting a lot of primer by spraying
it all over the table. I think in the future I'll prepare a larger
batch of pieces to prime at once so I don't waste as much primer.
is the rear spar of the horizontal stabilizer with the spar stiffiners
riveted to the inside of the spar. There is a hammer in the frame
to show the scale of things. It is starting to look like a piece of
things have slowed down a bit on the airplane front. I have finally
gotten a chance to break out the rivet gun and put together most of
the HS skeleton. Here is a wide shot of the forward spar assembly
of the HS "standing" next to the rear spar.
is a close up shot of the center part of the HS skeleton so you can
see how it goes together. It looks so simple (and it really is), but
it takes so long to get to this point!
gotten around to priming the inside of the skins of the horizontal
stabilizer. Now everything is primed and I'm ready for final assembly
(if I can find the time).
Greg Summers from work came over and we were finally able to make
some progress on the HS. We began with the left side and put the skin
over the skeleton and carefully lined up the holes and cleco'd it
into place. It took us a while to get the hang of things. I had to
learn just how hard and long to "hit" the rivet with the
gun, and Greg had to learn how to wedge his hands into the structure
with a bucking bar and try to hold it flush and firmly against the
rivet without actually being able to look at it. Here we have finished
riveting all of the rivets on the left side except for the ones along
the edge which I can get with the squeezer later.
invited my sister Jessica over and gave her a crash course on riveting.
We put the right side of the skin on and made some progress riveting
together one of the forward ribs. Things are really moving along now.
As soon as I can get another pair of hands after the holidays I should
be able to finish the HS!
able to make some more progress on the HS. With the help of my brother
in law John I was able to finish riveting all of the interior rivets
of the horizontal stabilizer. All thats needed now is to squeeze the
rivets along the edge of the skins with the pneumatic rivet squeezer.
I thought I could rivet all of the remaining edge rivets in the HS
with my pneumatic squeezer. For the most part, this is true....but
on the leading edges (the pointy end) of the ribs there are a few
rivets that my yoke on the squeezer would not physically fit into.
I invited my friend over to try to buck those few rivets with the
good 'ole fashoned rivet gun but I didn't have a bucking bar small
enough to fit in there either! I finally decided to stop while I was
ahead and I ordered a thin-nose no-hole yoke for my squeezer. This
has a really small tapered head that should be able to fit in these
tight spaces. So 12 more rivets and this sucker is done!
Horizontal Stabilizer is complete! Today I set the final few
rivets in the leading edge of the HS using a thin-nose no-hole yoke.
Here is a pic of the first completed sub assembly of my airplane.
Feels good to have made some visible progress, even though I am
progressing at a snails pace.
time on the HS = 66 hours.
Keep in mind this doesn't count any of the time spent looking at
the plans, planning what I am going to do, etc.