Finished Horizontal Stabilizer

Today I spent a 7 hour session, bringing my total to 30 hours, to finish riveting the h-stab.

I began by riveting the front spar to the skin. Having a riveting buddy would have been great, but it was a good experience to do this by myself. Working in the tight spaces was tricky, but the tungsten bucking bar really made it easy to get consistent shop heads on the rivets.

Here’s the pop rivets holding the right side middle main rib to the spar and nose rib. This paved the way for riveting the right side skin to the spar and ribs.

Here you can see the shop heads on the spar. I didn’t guage each and every one of them, but I eyeballed and judged that it was all within range of one that was measured.

 Here are the universal rivets holding the front spar to the tip rib, another tricky spot to hold the bucking bar.

In the end, the stab’s flush rivets all came out perfect. I only had to drill out 2, luckily both were pretty easy and came out without enlarging the hole.

 Here’s the inboard ribs riveted to the skins. Each one flush on the skin, and to the right depth on the shop head side.

 And the final product, all ready to start flying! Seeing the first completed piece just makes me want to keep building! On to the V-stab!


Finished Horizontal Stabilizer

Continued riveting the stab

Yesterday I continued to rivet the skeleton together and began riveting the skins to the spars and ribs. Here you an see the middle nose and main ribs clecoed to the skin. The nose rib gets flush riveted to the skin. 

This was super difficult to get the skin to lay flat against the nose rib, but a little gorilla tape helped to get every rivet flush.  

Once both the top and bottom of the skins were riveted to the nose rib, I put the front spar assembly into the skin and clecoed and rivet the tip rib to the front spar  

I used clecoes in every hole to try to keep everything aligned as perfectly as possible. Then I inserted the middle main rib again and blind riveted it to the middle nose rib. 

Today I will finish riveting the middle main rib, and front spar to the skins. It’s fun to see progress, it’s good motivation to keep going.  


Continued riveting the stab

Primed and began riveting stab & Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning I cleaned, and primed all the internal structure. I’m using a self etching primer that’s super easy to use. I also primed the rivet holes of the interior of the skins.  

The paper used to ship the parts is perfect for painting on. I then used a heat gun to dry the primer a little quicker. 

I then began to rivet the rear spar to the reinforcing bars.  

This is the first rivet set in the spar, and thus began the riveting! I will spend many days in this position for riveting  

Here’s a close up of the shop head of the rivet, once the gap on the squeezer was set for this rivet length, it was perfect rivet after perfect rivet.  

 Tomorrow I’ll begin riveting the skins. 

Primed and began riveting stab & Happy Thanksgiving!

Deburred and Dimpled H-Stab

Today I spent 4 hours deburring, edge finishing, surface prepping and dimpling the horizontal stabilizer skeleton and skins.  

I did all of the dimpling on the ribs and spar using the pneumatic squeezer and the -3 dimple set. I then used the DRDT-2 to dimple the skins. I used cushions on either side of the dimpler to keep the skins flat. It’s great being able to squeeze the dimples quietly rather than hammering them, I was doing this while everyone else in the house was asleep. Can’t recommend this enough! 

Tomorrow is going to be priming and beginning of the riveting process! 

Deburred and Dimpled H-Stab

Match drilled Horizontal Stab

Today I finished the assembly on the H-Stab, right side and left sides have been match drilled and are ready for dimpling. 

This was after wrestling the second skin onto the skeleton. 


I then lined up and clamped the center ribs for drilling. These were then removed, deburred and then clecoed in place so that the remaining holes in the spar can be drilled. 

My mom got this shot of me and my helper Cairo. Although she can’t match drill, hold a bucking bar, or really do anything, she always puts a smile on my face. 

This selfie is purely for scale. 

This looks similar to the first one, but the skins and skeleton have all been match drilled. Next step is dimpling and priming. 

Match drilled Horizontal Stab

Horizontal stab

Today was a big day, I spent about 8 hours on the stab.  

I finished smoothing out the front spar reinforcing bars and match drilling everything to the spars, along with the spar doublers. 

I then clecoed the Stab skeleton together, match drilled the rib holes to the spars and deburred the holes.  

I then managed to get the skin all clecoed on to the frame, that was super hard to get it flush with the ribs, the aluminum is under-bent when it’s shipped. 

I then clamped and marked the hole positions for the remaining spar holes and the inner ribs that have to be drilled to match the skin. 

Overall it was a productive day, I’m still getting the hang of the part naming convention and the drawing call-outs. It’s only the second day, but I can see the progress which is a good sign! 

Horizontal stab

Empennage kit day 1

My empennage kit arrived yesterday, and this morning I woke up bright an early to begin the unboxing experience.

This a just a small fraction of the parts that are in the kit, but I went through the packing list and marked each item with a check as I found it and inventoried it.

Here’s all the parts on the shelves sorted by the control surfaces, and the plans laid out on the workbench. I spent a good hour reading the first section for the emp and going over the drawings to become more familiar with them.

I then began the rear spar assembly, after rounding the rear spar reinforcing bars and finishing the edges I clecoed the two spar halves to the bars and then match drilled the holes to #30.

Once the holes were drilled out, I match drilled the rear spar hinge brackets to the spar also to #30. The powder coating really makes the holes small for the clecos.

 Then I match drilled the center bearing mounts to the center bearing and match drilled it to the rear spar. This will all be removed, primed and then riveted together.

All in all, I think it was a good and productive first day of my RV-7 project!


Empennage kit day 1