Dolly and I started construction of the RV-7 empenage on November 4th after voting. 72 days later (70 shop days) the tail feathers are assembled except for the fiberglas tips that will be attached later.
This post is the story of building the elevators.
The right and left elevators are identical except for a pitch trim tab that sits in an inboard cutout in the left elevator. Construction starts with the spars and is similar to the rudder,
Each part of the empenage seems to add a new complexity to the build. The Rudder is no exception. It does not have internal ribs like the Horizontal Stabilizer; rather it has light weight stiffeners that the builder fabricates from pre-punched angle channel stock. Tho lighter in weight than the Vertical Stabilizer the Rudder has many many more rivets.
Not the best photo, but it shows a pre-punched rudder stiffener being cut on our band saw.
I have an old (3 megapixel) Olympus camera that is now dedicated to recording the build. I keep it in the tool chest for photos such as these.
In building the Vertical Stabilizer, the first task is to smooth all edges and slightly round the corners of all the parts.
The lightening holes in the reinforcing plate are punched at the factory and have rough edges, as on the center hole shown in the photo on the right. The other two shiny holes have been finished with a Scotchbrite wheel on a drill and then a hand held Scotchbrite red pad. Continue reading “Let’s build a Vertical Stabilizer”
This week the horizontal stabilizer parts were abraded with ScotchBrite, cleaned with acetone and labeled in Sharpie blue.
I built a spray table from 1/2 inch PVC. Wire cloth was stretched between two sides. The sides with the legs rotate so the whole thing folds flat for storage. The table was placed on a plastic tarp on our lanai (that’s a screened back porch for you northerners).
Internal surfaces were painted with SEM self etching rattle-can primer. I chose one part primer for these interior parts for simplicity of process. Our 66 year old Globe Swift has no interior primer in the fuselage and the metal still shines. We’ll move up to two part epoxy primer for the cabin interior and other wear and tear areas. Continue reading “A Milestone”
The FAA says amateur building is to be an educational process. It sure is. We are learning not only new mechanical skills but also new ways of thinking and communicating.
We are eleven days into the metalworking and have yet to set the first rivet. The parts in Vans kit are formed and most holes punched, but they all require smoothing of edges, resizing of holes, deburring of drilled holes, etc.
Van’s construction instructions start off being very detailed. We soon found that details are needed which are not in the instructions and only exist in the plan drawings.
We started drilling skins to the ribs following the instructions and not noting that the drawing wanted a smaller drill size than in the previous instruction. A phone call to Vans gave relief. It’s OK to use larger rivets (1/8 vs 3/32″) on the inboard rib providing edge clearance rules are not violated. Fortunately our edge distances are OK.
As a result of my drilling snafoo we built a new rule. Dolly and I will each independently read plans and instructions for any construction step. and come to a common understanding of what is to be done. Continue reading “Eleven Days In”
The empennage kit was ordered on October 16th, the Thursday before we left Michigan. The kit was shipped on the 20th and arrived in Florida three days later. The boxes were kept closed while we finished construction of an EAA table. A tool chest was found on Craigslist. It was in good shape at a pawn shop. Great deal.
Dolly has become “Chief Engineer” on the proect. I couldn’t wouldn’t do it without her.
We unpacked Sunday evening the 25th. Inventory started Monday morning. We counted all the packages and parts, everything but the rivets.
Since returning from Oshkosh we have been working almost constantly getting the barn ready for the aircraft build. It was packed full of several generations keepsakes, mementos and items too valuable to discard.
A garage sale and family relocation disposed of enough stuff to permit sealing and painting of the floor to begin.
Dolly and I drove our Roadtrek RV to Airventure rather than fly the Swift so as to not be distracted from our prime focus on Vans RV building information. It also allowed us to camp with over twenty others from Dalton Airport (3DA), our home airport. We were the first of our group to arrive on Thursday before the convention. The site in Ed’s Campground adjacent to the airport and just off the end of the ultralight runway was gorgeous.
Vans shipped the RV-7 preview plans yesterday. I’ve been reading everything I can find about construction. Hope for a ride at Oshkosh.
Plans arrived. Is that the beginning of an RV Grin?
This is the Michigan pole barn that is being converted into the RV-7 construction site. Today I completed a pad and cover for our 20 gal air compressor to sit outside the barn. There is still much cleaning to do before it is ready to receive the quickbuild wings and fuselage next spring.
Karl is a retired engineer, financial officer, air charter manager, and computer consultant. He started on his aviation career in 1954. At age eighty-one Karl owned a Globe-Temco Swift, and had FAA Commercial SEL, SES, MEL, and Glider certificates collected in 3,000+ hours over the intervening years. His CFII rating is lapsed.
Dolly is enthusiastic about aviation and knitting.
Photo: The cockpit of Howard Hughes “Spruce Goose” in McMinnville, Oregon.
Saturday May 17th 2014 was the day I decided I was not too old to start building an E-AB aircraft. I started on my aviation career in 1954. At age eighty I own a Temco-Globe Swift, and have Commercial SEL, SES, MEL, and Glider certificates collected in 3,000+ hours during the intervening years. I have allowed my CFII rating to lapse. It was a hurdle to overcome the idea that I might be too old to start building a full scale airplane.
During the last three summers my wife, stepson and I completed a studs out remodeling of an apartment that is to be our summer home in Michigan. This year, contemplating how bored I’d be without some project, I came to the conclusion that doing an aircraft build is age independent.
I haven’t committed to the make and model of the build, but it likely will be an RV-7, tail wheel configuration. I’m just in the early stages of researching the project, and plan on attending the Airventure in July, armed with many questions.
The Swift is going up for sale, with the expectation that it may contribute to the build cost of the homebuilt. Currently the Swift is home in Florida. Next week we again bring it North to the Swift Nationals, and then up to 3DA, Flushing Michigan, six miles from our summer home.
A new adventure begins. Empinage this winter in Florida and QB wings and fuselage in the MI barn next summer.