Horizontal Stabilizer – Part 5 

With my angle-drill tool in hand, I finished drilling the last few holes in the HS.  Next, I spent what seemed like a lifetime taking everything apart and getting it deburred.  I debated not even posting a timelapse, but finally decided to post a VERY sped up video.  The fact that I was able to do it in small chunks in the evenings did help a bit so I didn’t loose my mind. I need to install a stereo or get some headphones to help pass the time.

I did have some company for a bit and finally gave my girls their own “toolbox” projects so they got to spend some time with Dad working on their own projects.


Horizontal Stabilizer – Part 4

With some assistance from my cousin (also a Pilot and A&P) we were able to start assembling the Horizontal Stabilizer.  Getting the nose ribs in the skins was a bit of a pain, but that may have been due to my use of the straps vs the plywood cradle suggested in the plans.  As other builders have commented, we needed a LOT of clecos to get the skin attached well.  Basically a lot of “rinse and repeat” from this perspective and it was very nice to have another aviation enthusiast helping on the build.  This is always the cool part where things are starting to look like real parts, vs the work on the spar and ribs.

We figured out how the stringers go together and got them inserted into the ribs without too much fuss.  The remainder of the week was me match drilling one section at a time.  As stated in the plans, just come up with a methodology to get everything correctly matched drilled.

This is also the point where you really need to have an angle drill or angle drill attachment in order to drill the holes on the front spar attachment bracket.  I was personally hoping that my craftsman cordless angle drill would be sufficient, however it was still too big to access these holes.  So an order for the appropriate tool is in and hopefully it will arrive shortly.

At this point I have match drilled all of the holes and once the attachment bracket is drilled, I can begin the process of deburring.


Networking and opportunities to fly

While not “technically” part of my IFR training, I was given an opportunity to fly in a TBM 700 as it was being delivered to it’s new owner.  Basically the conversation with my friend went something like this:

Friend:  “Hey, you want to go for a flight in a TBM tomorrow”?

Me:  “Are you serious?  If you are I can totally be available.”

Friend:  “Yes I’m serious.”

Next I took to youtube to get a bit more familiar with the TBM.  Not that I was expecting to do anything, but more so I could follow along without asking so many questions.  I brought my flight bag with me but was a bit nervous mounting cameras since this wasn’t my plane and ended up just taking some photos from my cell phone.  (I’m trying to be respectful of the new/old owners as well as to my friend by keeping identifying information out of my posts / photos.  I wanted to share how awesome the aviation community is, not get anyone upset.)

Did practice some of my IFR clearance copying skills and helped out on the radios and got a little bit of time “hand flying” the plane.  Biggest takeaways?  Flight Directors are VERY COOL, the plane is fast, and the controls are heavier than I expected.  I would LOVE to own one of these, or be in a partnership where I could have access to it, but for now this is outside of my financial means.  Doesn’t mean I can’t dream.




Horizontal Stabilizer – Part 3

In prep for the weekend, I tried to get a few things completed on the Horizontal Stabilizer.  First I went to match-drill the ribs on the front spar, only to realize that I had mounted the ribs in the last video on the wrong side.  Honestly I just clecoed them on to get an idea of what it would look like.

Flipping over the rib, I mounted all the ribs and completed all my match drilling.  I did notice a few rivets that I needed to address.  Decided to go “off plans” and build a cradle using nylon webbing.  This did make it slightly more difficult to get the nose ribs riveted to start with, but ended up making it easy to tilt the stabilizer a little bit as I assemble things.

Got the skins prepped and in the cradles, then went back to the spar and ribs to get them marked and the ribs fluted.  Once the ribs were off the spar, I could address those rivets that needed to be replaced.

Horizontal Stabilizer – Part 2

This is a bit of a fragmented post due to weather, and family schedules.  While waiting for the tank sealant to cure on the trailing edge of the rudder, I began to fabricate the Horizontal Stabilizer front spar attachment brackets from some stock angle aluminum.  (Page 8-3: Step 3-4).  Next was trimming and deburring the spar caps and stringers (Page 8-4).  This all happened in fits and spurts over a number of days (as witnessed by multiple outfit changes in the timelapse).

Next was the assembly of all the parts of the Front Spar to match drill and deburr.  At this point I was stuck until the weather allowed me to prime all the parts. (Page 8-5)  Moving forward I started to trim the inspar ribs, and get all the ribs deburred.  (Page 8-6, 8-7).  As noted by others, on Page 8-7 there is no longer a need to cut holes in the nose ribs as Vans has added lightening holes in all the nose ribs at the factory.

Finally I had time and the weather was nice enough for me to go back and prime the Front Spar so I can start riveting it together.   I’m hoping to build cradles for the HS this week in prep for this weekend.


Rudder – Part 6

This is a pretty short update.  Since I didn’t do the best job cleaning up the tank sealant on the trailing edge of the rudder I had a bit of work to remove the sealant that seeped out.  I went ahead and finished up the steps on Page 7-10 (even if I was a bit out of order on a few of them).  For the trailing edge double flush rivets, I decided alternate the shop heads of my rivets.  Not sure if that will be a cause of concern in the future, but honestly I think it’s fine.

Before I roll the forward edges of my rudder, I had a minor accident that left some creases on the top of my rudder.  Basically I had the rudder standing up on its end and a nice gust of wind knocked it over.  At the time it happened, I felt like this was the end of the world.  I’m finally calming down and think that it’s mostly cosmetic and something I can fix.  I honestly was thinking I would have to scrap the whole thing, but think I can correct the damage.  Hopefully at worst I will have to remove the top rib and use some wood blocks to try to flatten out the skin a little bit?  I’m absolutely following up with a note to VANS, but in the grand scheme of things this isn’t a big deal.

I’m expecting some help in the shop this weekend, and plan to finish up the Rudder (Chapter 7) and possibly make a good dent on the Horizontal Stabilizer.

Rudder Part 5 -Trailing Edge

In a previous post I was discussing the fact that I can get some of the 3M tape to use on the trailing edge of the Rudder vs using the tank sealer.  After doing a bit more research I was seeing multiple comments from people that were getting better results using the Tank Sealer approach vs the 3M tape.  Since I will have to use the tank sealer for the tank anyway (and already had some sealer on hand) I decided to go with the tank sealer method.

Set aside a 2 hour block to make sure I could get it all done.  I previously purchased a mixer adapter for my drill as well as a surplus sealant gun.  I ordered a 3.5 oz tank sealer in a tub so I could easily mix it up and use the dispenser.  Honestly it wasn’t that big of a deal.  Maybe if I was mixing it manually and didn’t have the dispenser things would have been a bit more difficult.

Using the gun I dispensed a line of sealant on the Trailing Edge, then spread it thin using a wooden stick.  Apply to both edges, then cleco into place just to hold it down. The directions recommend to get a second person to help hold the top skin while you blind rivet the ribs, but I didn’t have one.  Some scrap wood to keep the skin off the Trailing edge and the sealant, and I was good to go.  (My big hands don’t work well in those small spaces, but that’s just me.)

Currently this puts me at a work stoppage for a bit while I let the sealer cure.  Only so much room in the garage and plenty of other things to do around the house.  I may be able to fabricate some of the next parts for the Horizontal Stabilizer but we’ll see.

Horizontal Stabilizer – Part 1

While I am waiting for a good 2 hour block of time to do my Rudder Trailing Edge, I jumped to the next chapter to work on the Horizontal Stabilizer.  First off this is a LONG piece.  I originally was working on just one of the EAA benches, but about halfway through decided to move things around a bit to have a better work area.

Started to go nuts filing the edges of the spar and doubler before I switched to the deburring tools.  Pretty standard stuff of deburr, assemble, match drill, take apart and deburr holes, prime, then assemble.  As I started to rivet the parts together I decided to pull in my youngest helper.  She had a blast “helping” and using the celco pliers on my airplane.  She has already been asking if she can come out and help and I fully intend to keep both girls involved in my build!

Completed page 8-2:1-6 and page 8-3:1


Rudder – Part 4

This week I have limited time to work in the garage, but was able to make some progress.  While I wasn’t able to get video of it, I was able to prime the Spar,trailing edge, and the replacement striker plate this week using my Primer Pistol.  This was small enough job that I didn’t want to use the HPLV gun and it only took about a 1.5 film canisters to cover.

The timelapse picks up with me starting to dimple all the ribs, spar, and skins.  I mentioned in my Training kit that I picked up a set of the Cleaveland Tool SubStructure Dimple dies.  I used these on all my ribs and spars.  I’ll say that I am very happy with the results and how easy it is to rivet everything together as the parts sit flush.  I honestly haven’t tried to do everything with the standard die set so take my feedback with a grain of salt.  Dimpling all the parts was straightforward using the squeezer and DRDT-2.  The directions are already starting to be “less detailed” and don’t remind you what holes you should or shouldn’t dimple.  Lots of doublechecking the plans and sometimes flipping ahead to make sure you understand what you need to do.

I then start to rivet the nutplate onto the Rudder Horn.  I think I spent more time drilling out rivets on the nut-plate than it took me to actually rivet it together.  Hey, it happens.  No harm / no foul.  Just drill it out and install it again.  I’m getting much more comfortable with riveting and drilling out rivets now.

Out of all the work I did this week, my favorite is back riveting.  It’s just so easy, neat and very little chance of making an error that I absolutely loved it.

Completed everything up to 7-8: Step 1 in the plans and hope to get through 7-10 by the end of the week.