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Right Elevator – Again

March 26, 2011

Ok, well after a successful week of travel I hit the shop yesterday to get some work done.  I really wanted to get the right elevator done and in the attic.  When I last got the elevator in my hands I had equipment malfunctions and damaged a spar and broke my dimple die.  That little dimple die turned out to be a real single point of failure.  Without it, I couldn’t do much of anything since I was at the “dimpling” stage for a lot of stuff.  I solved that problem by getting another set of dimple dies so this doesn’t happen again.

Vans sent me parts last week, so I have the new spar, new left elevator and various odds and ends.  After inspecting the new spar I went ahead and did all the edge prep, dimpling, drilling and deburing on it.  I didn’t take any exciting action shots of this since it’s really more exciting to get it over with.  🙂

Once the primer was reasonably dry, usually an hour or so, I got to work riveting stuff.  The kit has you start with some reinforcement plates that attach to the spars.  The reinforcement plates also have nut plates attached to them.  Nut plates are basically round gizmo’s (technical aviation term) that you can thread a screw or bolt into.  In this case, these nut plates will be used to attach the elevator to the HS.  I messed up a few on the rivets.  I think these are too long, but I went ahead and followed the directions.  These rivets are AN470AD4-5 and 4-6 for the nut plates.  I really think 4-4 and 4-5 would have worked.  Because of the larger size I ended up screwing up a few of the rivets.

I had to drill out a few of the rivets I first did. They smeared sideways for some reason.

I thought I had a “before” picture, but I guess not.  This is an after picture.  The bad rivets have been removed and new rivets are in and set.  Nothing to really tell here, it was thankfully very routine.   There is nothing worse than a rivet that is a drama queen.

Time to rivet the reinforcement plates

Here's a finished plate

Nice shop heads

Once these are done you move on to getting the outboard side of the elevator assembled and riveted to the spar.  This part really requires a bit of thinking.  You have to think like a chess player here and see all the ways you can put it together and how its going to effect your future “moves”.  Assemble the 703/704 like the instructions say.  When it is time to attach that assembly to the 702 spar, this is when your chess prowess comes in handy.  There are 4 rivets at the attach point you get to choose the orientation and order which you drive them.  I honestly don’t remember the order I used, but my orientation was such that I made it as easy as I could to use my pneumatic squeezer.

Then to the inboard side with the elevator horn.  The elevator horn is … well I’m not sure what it is, to be honest.  I assume that will be revealed at a later date.  🙂  The elevator horn attaches to an inboard corner and sits over some flush rivets.  I really had a few issues with these flush rivets.  They aren’t the easiest to get set because of the odd angle of the inboard end rib (704 maybe).  I messed up two of the first, drilled them out and reset them.  The second setting went fine.  I used the pneumatic squeezer held at an unholy and dangerous angle and got them done.  Getting the horn on was pretty routine, but did require redrilling a hole or two and jockeying with the position quite a bit.

These are the rivets under the elevator horn

I had to squirt a bit of primer over them as I scuffed up the surface a bit getting them drilled out and re set.

I had forgotten that I hadn’t dimpled the skin, so at this point I had to dimple the skin, get it cleaned and primed.  Bummer…have to wait while the primer sets.  Once that was done it was time to get it fitted.

It was getting pretty late, at this point, so I cleco’d everything together, ready for action today.

Ready for riveting

Ok, let me get in there and finish it.  It’s been awhile since I’ve finished something, so I cant wait.

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