Rudder – 1

I started working on the rudder right after finishing the HS. It has been pretty straight forward until now. The first step was to trim and prepare the stiffeners. It is pretty awesome to see how the pre-punched holes only align in a specific way. It makes it really easy to get it right even for me:). Back riveting is the easiest way of getting good results no doubt about it!.

Once I had both skins ready I started to work on the structure. It took me a little bit of time to totally understand how the bottom part of the rudder goes together. Once I got it, preparation is basically the same that I’ve been doing on previous parts.

I’m done to the point where I have to start riveting the trailing edge. I bonded it with T-88 epoxy as mentioned on the instructions. I’ve been waiting for it to cure a couple of days, while I also order some rivets and an extra bucking bar to reach some pretty tight places near the trailing edge.

Last Friday I met another builder, Paul, who came from Cleburne, TX to check on my project. We had a pretty cool conversation sharing ideas and experiences. I hope to be down there visiting him pretty soon. If you want to check his work, he has a pretty cool builders blog here!.

Horizontal Stabilizer – 4

As I wrote in an earlier post, I wasn’t happy with how the horizontal stabilizer was coming along. I decided to re-order some parts and start again. I ended ordering one skin, front spars, doubler, front ribs and three main ribs. Shipping ended being the expensive part, but to be honest it was a good idea.

It took me a couple of weeks to get back to where I was when I decided to stop, but once I got all the parts prepared and primed it was actually pretty straight forward.

Learning to use the rivet gun is what takes the longest. I feel confident now that I can get decent results with it. There are a couple of things that I feel can be better, but the overall assembly came up good.

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Horizontal Stabilizer -3

After assembling and match drilling everything the steps called for dimpling the ribs and skins. I decided to use the main squezer to dimple the ribs in the same way we did back in December when we attendend the Synergy Air class. It was actually pretty straight foward and the results were as expected.

Once I started to dimple the skins, I was getting less than ideal results. After reading the DRDT-2 manual a couple more times, and running some searches on VAF, I came to the conclusion that I had the wrong setup. My holes were under dimpled, adding a little bit of pre-load fixed the issue. After re-dimpling the holes the results were pretty good and consistent.

Machine countersinking the spars and doublers was pretty easy. Just a matter of seting the stops to the right depth, and slowly making my way through every hole. I’ll probably need to add an extra battery for my drill or get anoter one.

 

 

Factory Tour and Fundamentals Class

Last weekend my wife and I visited Van’s Aircraft and got a factory tour. I did not take pictures as I was enjoying the visit too much :). The tour basically reinforced my decision of building an RV. Everything we saw was perfectly arranged in shelves with immaculate clean floors and equipment, something really nice to see when you are about too put a lot of money into it.

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Van’s Aircraft Factory – Aurora, OR

We got to check and sit on the RV-9A, and also on the 7A as she wanted to compare the differences between tilt-up and slider canopies. I read a lot of comments about how the RV-14 is a lot roomier that the 9/7s, but at least for us that is not important as we are fairly normal regarding our size.

Weather did not cooperate with the idea of a demo flight which had to be abandoned, but I still got to buy the preview plans and I have been going through them. I have to admit that they are pretty well done. They may be a little bit confusing at the beginning, but after a couple of times I was able to get the idea of how to read them.

We used the rest of the day to drive around the area before heading south to Eugene to attend the fundamentals class at Synergy Air. The landscape is beautiful there, and the drive up to Mount Hood was totally worth it.

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Mount Hood, OR

The next day we arrived at the Airport right before 8am, and the class started promptly as scheduled. I have to admit that I had quite high expectations because I wanted to learn as much as possible. I haven’t bought my tools yet, but the information I got from the class allowed me to understand what each tool do, and how to use them making me feel more comfortable about the money I’m going to spend.

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Some of the tools we used during the class

We went through the practice kit that Van’s offer. We drilled, deburred, dimpled, countersinked, riveted, removed rivets, made mistakes, fixed them, etc. We learned so much that at the end of the day the decision was made, let’s do it!.

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Building the practice kit

I have to say thanks to our instructor Allen Nelson, and to Vaden Francisco, Synergy’s owner who came to bring us lunch, and check how we all were doing.

In conclusion, this was a really nice experience that I would recommend to anybody who may be interested in building an RV. It gives you the opportunity to see many things and get the confidence necessary to start a project this big.