This week has been a very intense week, but I’ll start with the news that I passed my PPL checkride on Wednesday! It was a grueling 8 hour day including hour long flights to and from the examiners airport, and 2 hours for the checkride itself, 3 hours for the oral exam! But at the end of the day, I flew home a private pilot!
On the building front, I’ve completed riveting the left elevator structure to the skin, I also began work on the trim tab, I am going deviating from the plans in regards to folding the tabs, and I’ll be fabricating riblets for the elevator and trim tab. It should make for an easier time overall. I hope to close out the left elevator this weekend, if I’m not out flying friends and family around that is!
Tonight I spent about an hour on the vertical stab and rudder fiberglass tips.
Here’s the rudder tip riveted to the rudder, it will be filled and sanded to smooth out all the joints.
VS tip riveted on, the opening will be filled and the joint also filled and glassed to make the transition unnoticeable.
Last night I finished the last four rivets on the inboard rib at the trailing edge, finished rolling the leading edges and blind riveted everything together.
Here you can see the pre-bent leading edges vs the completed leading edges. The trick here to get enough of a bend that the rivets aren’t strained holding the two halves together.
Here you can see another view of the leading edge before/after.
This view shows the rivets and the two mating surfaces of the leading edge.
I also put the berrings in and measured them to 13/16ths per the plans. Now on to the left elevator and trim tab
Tonight I stopped by Home Depot to buy a saw that I could use to finish cutting the lead counterweight. It was by far the most difficult task to date. 2 hours of cutting and filing.
Once that was done, I refitted it to the elevator. I then put silicon caulk at the trailing edge of the stiffeners, and then clecoed the skin onto the skeleton.
I then riveted the skin on and fitted the fiberglass tip just for fun.
One down and one to go!
Tonight I began riveting the right elevator.
Started off by riveting the nutplates and reinforcement plates to the spar. Then I riveted the inboard rib.
Then I riveted the elevator horn k. Here you can see the rivets for the rib to spar attachment and the factory heads of the elevator horn rivets.
Here’s the shop heads of the elevator horn rivets.
I then riveted the end rib and counterweight rib to the spar. Here you can see the shop heads.
I then prepped the the skin with the counterweight skin and counterweight. Next up is to begin riveting the skeleton to the skin.
Tonight I spent some time surface prepping and priming all the elevator skeleton parts. Not too long but quality time priming everything.
Here’s both the left and right skeleton parts prepped and primed. I also spent a significant amount of time trying to cut down the right elevator counterbalance lead weight. I still have some work to go before it’s ready. Next step is to rivet the right elevator
Today I spent a couple hours prepping all the holes for riveting the elevators. I started out with countersinking the required parts for flush rivets, the spars and the left elevator rear spar. I also countersunk the two counterweights.
Here’s the rear spar countersunk.
After I finished countersinking I dimpled the rest of the holes of the skeleton and skins in prep for priming. Spent about 2 hours total tonight.
Tonight I had my local tech counselor Jason Beaver come checkout my build progress. He built his own RV-7 and knows a lot about what good quality looks like. He pointed out a few things that I need to take care of, but in the end everything is looking good and I am clear to continue working. I should be closing up the elevators soon and then I’ll have just over a month for some fiberglass work to keep me occupied before the fuse and wings arrive.
Today I swung by Home Depot and picked up a 2×8 to build a bending brake.
Here I’m bending the trailing edge on the right skin. The left skin didn’t require as much force but it took basically my whole weight pressing down on it.
Here are both skins bent and clecoed to the skeleton. I also drilled all the holes to final size in prep for disassembly.
All in all I put in a good 2 hours tonight.
Yesterday I put in a few hours on the skeleton.
Here are all the parts laid out before edge finishing and deburring. The end ribs and counterbalance ribs on the left have already been fluted.
In this photo, all the parts have been edge finished and deburred.
Here is the skeleton laid out in the left elevator skin, I’ve already drilled and prepped both elevator counterbalance weights and have set them aside. Next step is to bend the trailing edges of the skins so I can match drill the skins to the under structure.
Here’s a close up of the counterbalance rib and elevator tip rib attached to the spar.