Feb 11, 2010 – Over the course of two days, I’ve gotten a lot done. To begin with, I fit and installed the rudder counterbalance weight. This is just a block of lead that I needed to trim to fit past the rivets in the balance skin.
In the first picture below, you can see where I’m notching the weight where it interferes with rivets and structure. The second picture shows the weight installed.
I then clecoed the skins to the structure. The first picture is a nice shot of the skeleton and the skin with the stiffeners. I then had an issue about whether the balance skin should go inside or outside the main rudder skin. Per the drawing, it goes inside the skin, but that would have the rudder skin edge facing the windstream. I opted to place the balance skin on the outside. I beveled the edge and will run a bead of sealant there as an aerodynamic seal.
My next problem was installing rivets in the side of the rudder horn brace.These were very difficult to get to. So to handle the rudder, I set it up on blocks to protect the leading edge of the skins, then supported it with safety wire to keep it standing. I was able to get on the upper 3 rivets with the squeezer, but I caved and put in pop rivets on the very bottom ones on each side.
Then it was time to install the wedge in the trailing edge of the rudder. This wedge is very thin, and ties the skins together. The challenge with this part of the project is keeping the trailing edge straight.
I bought a 6′ section of 1/8″ L-angle at Lowe’s. I attached it to the edge of the table so the top of the angle is flush with the top of the table. Using the wedge as a drill guide, I drilled the holes through the L-angle.
I mixed up some sealant, slathered it on the wedge and the inside edges of the rudder skins, and clecoed the mess together, attaching it to the L-angle.
After the sealant sets up, the trailing edge gets riveted. These are double-flush rivets, set in a certain order so that the trailing edge stays straight.
On another note, Van’s called yesterday to let me know that my servo for the electric trim is back-ordered, so I’ll have to wait until the first of the month before I can work on the left elevator. It’s just as well. I need to try to slow down since I’m not ready to order the wings yet, and I’m running out of work to do on the tail. Pretty soon I’ll start on the elevators, and that will be it.
Time : 4:20