Empennage - Vertical Stabilizer     28.25 Hours
Timeline sort: Forward Reverse
1.25 hrs
Finished up the VS tonight. The rivets at the forward top rib tip are a complete PITA to get to. I tried the EAA indirect riveting tip. It didn't work out quite as well as I thought, but it's also possible that I don't have a thick enough piece of steel. The rivets don't look great, and I know they aren't squashed enough. However, they aren't coming out, and there really isn't any stress there.

Before I do this again, I'll get a thicker piece of steel and may hit these again.

5.0 hrs
Tonight we riveted the ribs to the spar. Had a bit of a problem getting some of the rivets to set, ended up drilling out two. Not a good start, but then after dinner we came back out and did all the field rivets on the skin without issue. Tomorrow night I'll complete the VS by squeezing the remaining rivets.

3.0 hrs
Spent the evening riveting the rear spar of the VS and cleco'ed the front spar and ribs together.

5.75 hrs
It was priming day today. This Sherwin Wiliam's product bonds really well, but it's like handling nuclear waste. I was recently informed about Stewart System's water based primer. It's more expensive, but it sounds like something that would be so much easier to work with. It's at least worth a look before you start priming.

I really suck as a painter it seems. I just can't figure out my gun and how to lay down a nice even coat. My paint always seems to end up blotchy, but it's on there, and that's all that matters.

2.0 hrs
Today I just finished up the last tasks for finishing up all the parts on the VS. I countersunk the holes in the doubler and dimpled the holes in the spar. I also finished up a few minor deburring tasks. But, everything should be ready to go with one exception. I need a small #40 fluting pliers to get the last two holes at the point of the top rib. I'll be hitting up my buddy Joe to see if he has some, if not it's almost Christmas!

So now we are going to move on to the elevators. The plans say the rudder, but I've got a couple of days off without Kim, so I'm going to do the elevators since they should be smaller and easier to handle by myself. Plus I'm damn afraid of the very thin skins of the rudders!

6.0 hrs
Kim and I had a good evening of work. We finished almost everything with the VS. Mainly it was her dimpling the skin, and I was working on deburring the spar and doubler.

I called Van's about the extra hole I have and they said it's just an alignment hole for when they are punching out the doubler plate. Since I drilled it through the spar, I'll just bang an extra rivet in there to close it up. I'm sure it won't come back to haunt me..... right.

2.25 hrs
Drilled all the #40 holes and disassembled the parts. Began deburring all the holes and determining which need counter sinking.

Did come across one hole that is not on my plans, so I need to contact Van's about that. Hope I didn't just create a couple hunks of scrap aluminum. The hole I'm pointing to is between the large and small lightening holes, it was pre-drilled in my VS-808PP but on the plans it indicates there are two holes in this area for later attachment to the fuselage. We'll see what Van's says.

1.5 hrs
Tonight I finished drilling all the #30 holes in the skeleton and then we clecoed on the skin.

1.5 hrs
Got most of the VS assembled this evening. Attached the spar doubler to the rear spar, including all the hinge brackets. It's ready to be drilled. I want to put in the lightening holes, but I need to figure out how best to get them centered up with the others and how best to cut them. It's pretty thick, so I'm leaning towards a standard hole saw.

Next I straightened the rib flanges to 90 degrees and then I fluted the edges to get all the holes to line up with a straight edge.

Lastly I assembled the front spar and ribs. It was already late, and I'm trying to make sure my neighbors don't hate me yet. So I'll leave the drilling for next time. The VS should go quickly.

Note that the HS instructions were a page and half. The detail level goes WAY down with the VS. It's all of a 1/3rd of a page. It's assumed you know what needs to be done with deburr, dimple, prime and paint at this point.