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Starting the Rudder

February 27, 2011

I spent a lot of time in the garage today and got a lot done.  This is the first time I’ve gotten the opportunity to spend the better part of the day working on the plane.

With the damaged spar for the horizontal stabilizer I thought there would still be quite a few tasks for me to do on the HS before I had to have the new spar, but alas, that is not the case.  I took care of one or two items like bending some spar supports, which I’ll cover later, but then I ran out of stuff to do.  So I decided to tackle the rudder.  How hard could that be?

Well, let me tell you how hard it could be.  The first thing you have to do is cut out 16 stiffeners from the raw aluminum angle that they give you.  Fortunately there are some milled in marks on the pieces that give you an idea where to cut.  Here, my Daughter Gayle and I are cutting and marking those parts.

Me and Gayle making stiffeners for the rudder

16 is a lot of anything, especially when each one has to be rough cut, clecoed onto the skin, measured, cut again, match drilled, deburred (skin and stiffeners) and dimpled.  Then, of course, they had to be cleaned, dried and primed.  I was standing in the shop for about 6 hours.

Here I've completed the rough in of the stiffeners, so I got them match drilled onto the rudder skin.

The stiffeners add rigidity to the rudder.  The rudder skin is very very thin and would take nothing to damage.  So the stiffeners are riveted to the inside of the rudder and keep the rudder skin from deforming.  It is truly amazing to see how little metal is needed for these control surfaces.

I now have to repeat all of this on the other side of the rudder.  it should go a bit faster since I only need to deburr, dimple, clean and prime.  Heck, if I went outside now I could knock it out before bed.   Nope…to tired.


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