Empennage - Left Elevator     52.5 Hours
Timeline sort: Forward Reverse
4.50 hrs
Kim worked on removing the blue plastic from the rivet lines on the skin. It's a real pain to get to the inside of the skin to do this. Afterwards she started to assemble the structure of the left elevator. She laid out the E-921 elevator gusset and I helped her cut, drill and bend it.

By the time we were ready to quit, she had most of the left elevator assembled. Not a bad way to spend a rainy day and our 5 year anniversary. Jealous, aren't you?

5.75 hrs
Finally got back to the project today. I drilled all the holes in the skin and the skeleton of the left elevator.

One thing that you need to keep in mind is that you blind rivet the bottom skin to the spar. It's optional if you have a squeezer to make some of the rivets solid. You need to make sure that you test your squeezer yoke to make sure what rivets you can reach. Worst case is you have to drill the hole out to #30 to put in a blind rivet.

I jigged up the trailing edge wedge so that I could drill the two holes in the stiffener that is outboard the trim tab. After that I disassembled and took a break.

Later Kim and I came out and did some more deburring, seems like there is always something to deburr.

5.50 hrs
Spent a lot of time today finishing up the dimpling and deburring. Kim was able to help for a couple of hours to do the skin. I worked on a lot of the skeleton structure of the empennage. There is still more to do, it seems like there is ALWAYS deburring to do.

One item that I'll note here is that the E-912 gusset to the rib root and trim tab spar uses #30 holes. It's on the plans, but the left elevator plans are very busy and it's easy to miss. Which I did, so I had to go back and drill it out again.

1.25 hrs
Just more deburring and dimpling, no exciting action photos.

1.25 hrs
More of the same, dimple and deburr. On the plus side I've done everything for the elevator with the exception of the trim tab. On the minus side, I learned the hard way that using a pneumatic squeezer is great, but it will punch the point of a dimple die right through aluminum. Lesson, if you can't get the dimple pin in the hole, you'll get a new, undesireable, hole. Part E-907 will be replaced.

Also a side note, I recommend not batching too much stuff waiting for primer now. I've reached a point that I really want to see something come together, so I'm losing motivation.

4.5 hrs
Got a lot done today, but not much progress shown. Basically I finished up deburring the left and right skins. I also drilled, dimpled and deburred the replacement E-907 part. I finished up just about everything with the actual left and right elevator, so they should be ready for prime and rivet.

I started work on the trim tab. I removed the blue plastic and cut the electric trim attachment. I also made the foam ribs. Then I jigged is up and it should be ready for drilling tomorrow. I need to see what kind of fuel tank sealant I can get locally or else I'll have to place an order.

1.75 hrs
Just spent some time this evening fitting and drilling the hinge on to the trim tab.

1.25 hrs
Today I took the day off and got started on the elevators. I'm sort of doing both at the same time for efficiency, but when it comes time to really assemble them I'll do them seperate. Got the spar, reinforcement plates and nut plates riveted together and added the root rib. Because of the issues with the right elevator, looks like I'll be continuing on with the left.

11.25 hrs
Kim and I spent the morning backriveting the spars to the skin. After that she left and my friend Gerald came by and we proceeded to finish up the spar and control horn riveting, then the counter balance ribs and skin.

After lunch we worked on the most difficult thing I've had to do so far. Riveting the top of the skin to the spar. It was a real pain to figure out how to get the bucking bar in there and contort yourself to do that. I was very grateful that Gerald was there to hold the skin from kinking while I wrestled with the bar and rivet gun.

Later in the evening Kim was gung-ho to keep working on the plane (eat your heart out boys). So she banged all the bottom side back-rivets and then we fitted the trim access plate and the counter balance assembly. It took a lot of time simply because access to a lot of the rivets was a constant head scratcher. Especially because the order Van's says to rivet things it was really hard to figure how to get the rivets in to attach the forward portion of the spar to the counter balance assembly.

2.75 hrs
Kim and I finished up most of the left elevator. We squeezed solid rivets where we could and pop riveted the rest. I borrowed a pneumatic pop riveter from Ray Hepling in our EAA club. It made short work of it.

We still have to do the trailing edge, but I'm going to wait and do all the nasty pro-seal stuff at one time to make life easier.

2.0 hrs
Kim is out of town, so I started back on finishing the tailing edge of the left elevator. It's the same process as the right. I drilled the AEX wedge, deburred, dimpled, primed and put on the RTV on the back rivets. Tomorrow I should be able to rivet it together and then start on the trim tab.

2.0 hrs
Completed riveting the trailing edge together. It's pretty straight, there is one place that I slipped off the side and sort of squashed the skin. It's not bad and you don't notice it unless you put a straight edge on it. Also using the back rivet method is better with two people. The skin slipped some and I have a couple smiley faces. Again, not bad and it's on the underside, and I think anyone is foolish to think every rivet is going to come out perfect.

Later I jigged up the trim tab to make sure that everything was fitting correctly. Tomorrow I hope to prime the parts and glue up the trim tab.

3.75 hrs
Primed all the parts for the trim tab. I then scuffed up the area for the foam ribs and riveted on the trim tab control horn. I thought I should wait before I completed the trailing edge bend, and I was right. I got the bend in, but it was quite a bit harder. Even worse was doing the side end bends. Assuming you have a pneumatic squeezer (if you haven't bought one by now I think you're insane.) I'd do all the bends, then put the control horn on.

Either way the end bends came out nice. I skipped using the rivet gun. I got nice tight radiused bends that look good. I fear that the rivet gun will leave dents. It was late so I stopped, but tomorrow I'll dimple and countersink the spar and dimple the skin. Hopefully I'll get to sealing the ribs too.

1.75 hrs
Dimpled and countersunk the trim tab spar, and dimpled the skin. We then riveted the spar to the bottom of the skin. The longeron yoke for the squeezer is a must for this. Everything is ready for the fuel tank sealant on the foam ribs which will be next and then the trim tab and left elevator is complete.

1.25 hrs
Mixed up the Proseal and put the foam ribs in place and clamped everything down. Then went ahead and riveted the top skin to spar to the hinge, and also blind riveted the ends. Now we just wait for the sealant to dry before attaching the trim tab to the elevator.

2.0 hrs
Finished the left elevator today. I removed the trim tab from the clamp blocks and then proceeded to drill the hinge, deburr and rivet it on. Everything came out really good I think. Lastly I bent the hinge pin.

I still have to mount the electric trim motor and of course the fiberglass tip. The trim motor will come under the electrical section and the fiberglass will all get done at once. Though, now that I'm done with this elevator, I guess that time will be soon!