Finished vertical stabilizer prep

April 25, 2016 – I finished up the parts for the vertical stabilizer.

I took everything apart from the drilling session, and prepped and primed the parts.

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I assembled the splice plate to the forward spar.

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I put everything back in place and tried the rudder. I had decided to use the internal rudder stop, so I drilled the lower hinge bracket and tried the stop out. Some people put the stop on top of the bracket, some put it in between the two pieces:

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I think I’m going to stick with putting it on top.

Here’s the rudder attached to the vertical:

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Awesome. It swings effortlessly.

I took the empennage back apart and put everything back into storage. My next step is to drill the wings to the fuselage. To make it easier to move, I put the tailwheel in place for the first time.

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Time: 4:15

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Drilled vertical stabilizer

April 18, 2016 – I think I lost a few hairs doing this one. Really needed to make sure I didn’t mis-drill, and I measured, re-measured, and so on.

The first part of this was to trim the front spar of the stabilizer. The plans called for 5/8″, but I kept it at 1/2″ for now.

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I marked edge distance on the splice plate and clamped it into place.

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I clamped the stabilizer into place.

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I made the angle that ties the stabilizer to the top deck of the fuselage. I ended up making another one, because it turned out just a bit too short. I wanted some more edge distance for the outboard bolts.

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I drilled the bolt holes, which have to go through the longerons, and edge distance there is critical. The center three holes are for rivets that attach to the deck.

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There are several measurements that have to be made:

  • the distance from the tips of the horizontal stabilizer to the tip of the vertical. This ensures that the vertical is truly vertical. My measurement came out to 62 5/16″
  • the vertical is displaced 1/4″ to the left of the aircraft centerline. This compensates for engine torque. The splice plate at the forward spar is “joggled” to the left to allow for this.
  • the rudder hinge brackets had to be in line. This is adjusted at the forward spar splice plate. This took me the longest time to figure out. I though the center bracket was somehow incorrect, because it was just forward of the top and bottom brackets. I was able to straighten the stabilzer vertically by pushing the forward spar down lower on the splice plate.

I drilled two bolt holes on the angle at the aft spar and the deck.

Once I had everything measured and located properly, I back-drilled the holes for the splice plate. Had to use an angle drill, and I couldn’t get to all the holes with the stabilizer in place.

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I took the stabilizer off and drilled the rest of the holes on the table.

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Remember when I said that the plans showed to trim the stabilizer spar 5/8″ and I just trimmed 1/2″? Here’s the situation I had:

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The spar interfered with the bend in the splice plate. So I marked good edge distance from the rivet holes and trimmed another 1/8″ off the spar. Now it fits like a glove.

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The last thing I had to do was drill the bolts attaching the aft spar of the stabilizer to the fuselage. These bolts also go through the tailwheel mount.

To give myself better access, I lifted the tail up onto a box.

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I used the tooling hole in the fuselage frame just above the tailwheel mount. I used a #30 with a drill bushing, then back-drilled from inside, and took the hole up to final size.

I also measured the hole locations in just the frame, with the stabilizer off. Triple-checked everything because I’d be drilling blind through to the tailwheel mount and I needed good edge distance. I drilled the holes to #30, reinstalled the stabilizer, and back-drilled from the inside.

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I think it came out pretty good…:

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That did it. Here’s a few shots of the drilled front assembly:

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Time: 8:30

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Vertical Stabilizer work

VS aft sparJan 20, 2010 – After the paint cured for the vertical stabilizer parts, I riveted the aft spar doubler and rudder hinge brackets to the aft spar. I also clecoed the stabilizer skeleton together.

VS skeletonAfter a nap on my Friday (which is currently Tuesday, by the way), I riveted the skeleton together. I found out that rivets don’t go in as neatly when you’re tired, and I had to drill out a few. But I got it done, and I knew I wasn’t going to touch the skin until I’d had some sleep.

The next day, I clecoed the skin to one side of the stab, and riveted it in place. Then I riveted the other side. The instructions say just to cleco the skin in place and rivet, but I found it easier to rivet one side at a time. That gave me a little more room so I could see what I was doing.

VS skin clecoed in place One side riveted. See how much room I had...?

I then wanted to seal the aft spar in place, like I did with the horizontal stab. I want to seal areas that are directly exposed to the elements. All I did was spread sealant across the row of fastener holes on each side of the stab. Then I could slide the spar into the sealant, and hopefully not have a whole lot of mess, because I’d be pushing the sealant into the stab. If I spread the sealant on the spar, the sealant would smear when I slid it into place.

Sealant on the VS

Now it’s clecoed, and I’ll give it a day or two to set up before I squeeze those last rivets.

Time: 4:20

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Started Vertical Stabilizer

Lightening holes for the aft spar doublerJan 13, 2010 –Over the last couple of days I have been working on the parts for the vertical stab. Since everything was drilled and dimpled already when I purchased this part of the kit, this has been pretty straightforward. I did cut the optional lightening holes in the doubler for the aft spar, but I had an “event” while cutting one of the 2 holes at the bottom, and I was gunshy, so I decided not to cut the last one. I went on to prep the parts and the skin, and was able to prime them all today.

Time: 3:30

Cleaned and scuffed inside of VS skin VS parts ready for paint Painted VS parts

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