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Empennage

Asssembling the horizontal stabilizer – Part 3

All we did tonight is put the HS skins in the cradle and cleco the nose ribs in place. We found it worked best to cleco the nose ribs to one side of the skin, put the skin in the cradle, then cleco the other side. Chuck (the previous owner) did an excellent job preparing the nose ribs–no hint of the flat spots on the outside of the skin that are often caused by the rib flanges.

Asssembling the horizontal stabilizer – Part 2

Tonight we finished riveting the inspar ribs to the front spar (aside from the innermost and outermost). Next up: riveting the nose ribs to the skins.

Asssembling the horizontal stabilizer – Part 1

With all the HS pieces deburred, dimpled, and primed, we’re finally getting to the HS assembly steps. Since we purchased this kit partially-complete, this also happened to be my first time riveting since the class I took back in April. In retrospect, I should’ve practiced squeezing on some scrap first or at least started with an easier task. Unfortunately, the stringer web took the brunt of my rustiness in the form of a few scratches and minor dents (since I also tried bucking a couple of the AN470AD4-5 rivets to the stringers). Nothing major, but I’ll need to buff out the scratches and re-prime the piece. You can see the dings here.

The biggest problem is that I had the pneumatic squeezer set up incorrectly—the gap was too small, so the squeezer was reaching the rivet earlier in the stroke, where it didn’t have enough power to squeeze it. Let’s just say now I know the squeezer develops most of its force at the last 1/16″ of the stroke, and it took me a while to figure that out.

The rest of the day went better. The picture below shows progress at the end of the day—about half the riveting of the inspar ribs to the forward spar is complete. We probably got 50% of today’s real work done in the last 10% of time.

Deburring, dimpling, and priming the horizontal stabilizer – Part 3

The kit’s previous owner had already primed the front spar, inspar ribs, stringers, and stringer web. That left the nose ribs, rear spar, and skins. We’re prepping by scuffing with ScotchBrite and cleaning with acetone. For primer, we’re using SEM self-etching primer–I’ve heard good things about it, the previous owner used it, and he gave us a few cans. Works for me. We sprayed it outside, for obvious reasons. Here I am doing one of the HS skins.

Deburring, dimpling, and priming the horizontal stabilizer – Part 2

First time using the countersinking cages. Took a while to get everything set up correctly and decide whether I prefer the air drill or the cordless. I decided on the air drill, though I think that has something to do with the cordless not being very straight. I didn’t experience any “chatter” either way.

Deburring, dimpling, and priming the horizontal stabilizer – Part 1

Not much exciting here. I deburred a bunch of holes, then introduced Kelly to the DRDT-2 dimpler. The DRDT-2 really is as great as everyone says it is.