Finishing Horizontal Stab

November 9-16: After clecoing in the 905 nose ribs, I riveted them into place. Then the completed front spar/interspar assembly was put into place and clecoed in. Skipping every other hole, I still managed to run out of silver 3/32″ clecoes. I ended up working from one side to the other, moving clecoes to the other side as I completed a section.

Once things were clecoed into place, I began riveting the skins to the flanges of the rear spar, then riveting the skins to the interspar ribs up to the stringers. Then the skin was riveted to the stringers on each side, then the remaining ribs were riveted to the skins. I used the tungsten bucking bar and flush set on the rivets that I couldn’t reach with the squeezer.

I had to drill out a couple of rivets whose shop heads were overdriven and flattened out. And looking back, I should have started riveting the skin on the bottom side of the HS, as the first part of the rivets set resulted in some skin “lumpiness” that I’m not too pleased with. The second side turned out better once I had more practice.

I did finally get in contact with my assigned MD-RA inspector, who informed me that every rivet must be visible in response to my question of how far could I assemble. So again, I will leave the rear spar clecoed into place, and the two inboard HS-905 nose ribs will be left out to allow a clear view of rivets in the front of the horizontal stab. So for now, I’ve put the partially completed assembly on the shelf, but will finish the front spar to nose rib blind rivets once I pick up my swivel nose rivet puller I ordered from Aircraft Tool. There is simply no room for a regular rivet puller when trying to pull those dozen rivets.

Dimpling HS skins

November 5-6: I taped off the hole locations that remain open, and then dimpled the HS skins. Edge holes were done with the pneumatic squeezer, and the remainder with the c-frame and a hammer.

I clamped the HS cradles to the workbench and inserted the dimpled skins. The cradles were fabricated with plywood from the crate that the kit shipped in and some 2x2s from Lowes.

Then I clecoed the HS-905 nose ribs into place (two on each side), riveting will wait until tomorrow.

Riveting vertical stabilizer

November 4: riveted the VS skin to the skeleton. I wrapped the tungsten bucking bar in hockey tape to try to keep the scuffing to a minimum. Got it all completed in one session. All but the front two rivets on the VS-706 tip rib. There’s no room to get a squeezer or bucking bar in there, so it looks like I’ll have to fabricate something to be able to get those last two done.

And the rear spar is clecoed into place for now. Because Canada requires a pre-closing inspection, no parts of the structure can be enclosed beforehand. So I’ll have to leave the VS (among other parts) incomplete until I get enough done to have the inspector come out. This would probably include the VS, HS, possibly elevators and rudder, wing bottom skins and the bottom of the fuselage under the floor panels.

More Horizontal Stab and the Pneumatic Squeezer arrived.

So in the last post I mentioned that I needed to order a longeron or flange-nose yoke for my Main Squeeze squeezer from Cleaveland Tool. I got on their website Monday to order and realized that my arms and shoulders were still hurting from using the manual squeezer. So I took the plunge and bought their pneumatic squeezer kit. I emailed Mike and asked if they could substitute the flange-nose yoke for the 3″ yoke that comes standard with the kit, as I already had the yoke with my Main Squeeze. Mike emailed me back right away and said it was no problem. I completed the order with Annette, and everything arrived Wednesday. I’m 4 for 4 on great service by Mike, Annette and the rest of the crew at Cleaveland!

After getting things set up last night (Friday) I had a cinch job of finishing up the rest of the rivets in the front horizontal stabilizer spar thanks to the new squeezer. I’m looking forward to more rivets to squeeze.

I also countersunk the 400+ holes in both spars and the stringers and prepped both skins today with Prekote and maroon Scotchbrite. Prekote says to prime aluminum within 24 hours of prep, so I’ll warm up the garage first thing in the morning and prime the skins inside and out. And then use the leftover AKZO and a Q-Tip to touch up all the countersinks I made on the spars and stringers.

And my Amazon-provided torque wrench also arrived on Thursday, so I finished bolting the elevator center hinge bearing bracket onto the rear spar, then torque sealed it.