HS Final Assembly Begins

It was a productive weekend!

Saturday I spend the day getting things done around the house. Knocking out a long honey-do list. In the afternoon, I was able to prep and prime the remaining HS parts. There are so many pieces it took 3 solid hours to prep and prime.

I have the B2VT coming up on June 11th, so I got what will probably be my last long training ride on Sunday. I was able to knock out 80 solo miles. I had planned to work a bit on the plane afterwards, but was pretty wiped. So I decided to nix that idea.

Today I was able to spend a bunch of time starting the final assembly and made good progress.

I was able to rivet together the stringers and stringer web, the basic skeleton to the front spar, the nose ribs to the skins, the front spar to the nose ribs, and started riveting the skins to the front spar. A couple of pictures of today’s progress.

Riveting the In-Spar Ribs to the Stringer Web



Stringers riveted together to the previous picture and Cleko’ed to the front spar


Most of the Skeleton cleko’ed in place
Looking down inside one of the “bays”. Skin is riveted to the spar here.
Nose ribs riveted in place as well as the left side skin to the front spar.

HS ready for priming and final assy.

Since the last update I’ve been able to final drill all horizontal stabilizer holes common to the skins and the ribs/spars. Disassemble the whole thing, and deburr all the holes. Then dimple all the holes and machine countersink the spars and stringers. I really need a 3-4 hour window to prep, let dry, and spray primer; so I’ll wait until the weekend for that.

Some pics of the HS progress.




Not many silver clekos left – this part takes a lot!
Pile of HS parts waiting to be primed

So while I wait for a weekend day to prep and prime these parts, I decided to start on Section 9, the Elevators.

E-1008 parts separated and partially deburred. 

Not Much Time Lately

Spring and Summer start filling up the schedule and life starts getting in the way a little bit.

I’m doing a crazy bicycle ride on June 11th that is 134 miles long and 8000′ of climbing. I’ve been spending as much time as I can training for that, which has taken up several hours each weekend. Also last weekend we had lots of people over the house to celebrate Greek Easter. So between that, and my drain plug in my compressor failing, yet again… I didn’t get much done the last couple of weekends. Additionally, we’ll be away 2 weekends in May.

My compressor is only about 2 years old, and the original drain plug bolt snapped in half right at the hole that’s drilled through it.

Last weekend after draining the tank and starting it back up again, air was leaking out of the drain still. After investigating and unintentionally unscrewing the bolt all the way out of the drain plug (that’s not supposed to happen) and having the bolt shoot out of the drain in a big burst of air… I found that there is no o-ring present anymore which is letting air leak by. So I went out and bought a brass elbow, extension rod, and a ball valve shutoff to make draining the tank easier to get to, and a more reliable mechanism.

I debated putting an automatic drain i, but I’m also having thoughts of upgrading to a 60 gallon 2-stage compressor too. So that will wait.


2nd busted drain plug 😦

 I’ve spent what time I’ve had working on getting the nose ribs and inspar ribs all match drilled to the front spar and fabricating cradles to hold the assembly for final drilling and riveting.  I decided to try straps for the cradles instead of making them rigid after seeing what Jason Ellis did. The cradle doesn’t influence the shape at all, it’s simply a method to hold things up while working on the HS. The straps also allow a little bit of movement, if needed.

Wooden Cradles

A picture of the Horizontal Stabilizer skeleton, with all the nose ribs and in-spar ribs attached.


Skins sitting in the cradles


Starting to Cleko the nose ribs to the skins.

More HS

Mostly just posting some pictures from some Horizontal Stabilizer progress. I’ve finished initial riveting of the front spar, doubler plate, and attach brackets.


Aligning the attach brackets with something straight (steel bar)


Attach Brackets Match drilled

Primed. Doubler and Attach Brackets Riveted onto Front Spar


Backside View of the above Photo

I’m now working on the tedious task of deburring the in-spar ribs and nose ribs. I really hate deburring ribs. There are so many nooks and crannies to deburr. I suppose though that if I had to make that part from scratch, that it would take a lot longer than the deburring I’m doing.

Also, while riveting the front spar, I managed to trip over my air line and pull my squeezer off of the bench onto the floor. The result was the trigger pin jammed in the on position…

  I emailed Isham, my tool vendor, and he got back to me almost immediately. It ended up being a simple fix. I removed the air swivel input, spring, and pushed the trigger pin out. Ran a reamer though the hole to get rid of any oblonging, and oiled the trigger pin back up and re-assembled. Seemed to fix the issue, and was able to use the squeezer to finish up the spar.

First Part Reorder

Was bound to happen sooner or later. Friday night I started fabricating the Spar attachment brackets from a piece of Aluminum Angle.

HS spar attachment bracket

The first one (left one shown here) came out fine. It seemed to take about an hour to do one of these to be accurate. Today I started out making the right one, which is basically the same, but flipped in orientation. The first mistake was cutting the “mitered” edge which starts from a width of 1 21/32″ in the front to 1 1/2″ in the rear before I had cut the bottom leg down to 1″. I ended up with a final width only 2/32″ wider in the front compared to the rear….  Second mistake happened while cutting the other leg down to 2 3/8″. I didn’t get a straight cut, and ended up with a crooked edge. At that point, I decided to scrap that part and seeing I didn’t have enough angle left to make another attempt, I’ll need to order a new one. A 12″ long piece is $9, so not too terrible.

The stock aluminum angle to make these parts from:

  Here is the good one on the left and messed up one on the right 

I was then able to get the forward spar and spar caps cut, deburred and drilled. I also deburred the spar doubler before calling it a day. 

Also the VHB tape I got on return from Amazon did the same thing as last time. So I’ve returned those rolls and ordered some from Vans. Hoping that will work so I can finish up the rudder that is on hold at the moment. 

HS Update

So while I wait for my replacement roll of 3M VHB tape from Amazon, which actually came today, and at first look, seems to behave better than the first roll I got…. I riveted together the rear spar, stiffener, and hinge brackets of the Horizontal Stabilizer. I was also able to assemble and rivet together the inboard hinge bracket and bearing assembly. Some pictures of the progress…



More Rudder Progress; Horizontal Stabilizer Start

Over the last week, I’ve managed to get the skins on the rudder, match drilled, everything taken apart and deburred. Today I was able to take all of the parts to the bath tub to prep them for priming. About 2.5 hours later, I was priming all the parts. I wasn’t that happy with the priming on the VS, it didn’t adhere real well in some spots. I made a point to scuff up the surfaces better this time, as I don’t think I did enough of that last time, and didn’t give a good surface for the primer to stick to. I also bought a case of better Scotchbrite pads from Amazon for the job, plus I only have a couple of maroon pads that came with my tool kit, so I’ll need more anyways. After the prep today all of my parts were dull looking, skuffed up pretty well, no shiny surfaces remained. We’ll see how this session of priming went and decide whether I need to buy some etching solution as an additional step prior to rinsing and priming the parts.

A couple of pics of the rudder as I was preparing to match drill all the holes common to the skin and the skeleton.

Like before, while waiting for the rudder parts to dry enough to flip and spray the other side, and dry again, I decided to start on section 8; The Horizontal Stabilizer.

I got the rear spar, stiffener, and Hinge Brackets deburred, match drilled, taken apart and holes deburred. I was rather surprised that at such an early stage (page 1, in fact) that the instructions tell you to prime the parts you just worked on, as we’re going to start riveting them already.. Okay… So I prepped the parts in the tub again, a bit of a challenge with the spar being so long (see the picture below), and let them dry as I took a break for dinner. I actually needed to butt the two work tables up against each other for the first time, as this is a pretty long part. The tables are 5 feet long each, so this part is a little over 10′ long.

A quick “selfie” in my garb after finishing the primer coat on the Horizontal Stabilizer Rear Spar.

Tomorrow I should be able to start riveting the Rudder together once the parts cure overnight.