Building, testing and operating an experimental aircraft

The Vertical Stab Goes Down

17 Apr 2010

Yesterday we completed most of the rivet squeezing on the horizontal stab, and that assembly is awaiting a quality control (QC) inspection from our Tech Counselor before we call it completed. More details at a later date.

Clecoing Clecoing

Today we began work on the vertical stabilizer, which – being very similar to the horizontal stab – went much more quickly than we’d anticipated.

VS Drilling VS Drilling

Dad had already done most of the prep work on the VS parts, including edge deburring the ribs and finishing the rear spar doubler on the Scotch-brite wheels. Dad reported that the 1” diameter 3M Cut & Polish Wheel from Cleaveland Tool (mounted in the Dremel) made deburring the big lightening holes a breeze.

VS Deburring VS Deburring

So, we blasted right into match-drilling the understructure and the skin, including the rudder attach brackets on the back of the spar. The VS skin is much easier to get on and off the ribs for some reason, maybe due to the fact that there’s no center nose rib.

VS Dimpling VS Dimpling

After drilling, we flowed right into deburring and dimpling, and – even though we planned ahead of time not to dimple the fairing attach holes on the lower edge of the stab – we got a little ahead of ourselves and dimpled a few holes that didn’t need it.

We also dimpled and countersunk the holes at the bottom of the rear spar – the ones that butt up against the fuselage attach point and thus must be flush riveted. Once again, the microstop countersink mounted in the drill press made short work of this task.

Scotchbriting Scotchbriting

Next, we moved right into the surface prep and priming process, exactly as we did on the horizontal stab. This time however, we had the benefit of good weather and temps in the upper 60s. We decided to stop with only two coats of the SEM primer this time; it saves weight and primer, and leaves just about the same finish as the three coats we did the first time.

Drying Primer Drying Primer

So in a single day’s work (thanks to the great preparation by Dad) we managed to knock out a sizable chunk of the vertical stab. We should be able to finish up the riveting in just a few more hours.

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