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The Boo


3/16/03 Garage Prep Work
3/21/03 Attended an EAA Sportair RV Assembly Workshop Hosted by Tom Emery.  I *highly* recommend this for those of you thinking about building an aluminum airplane, especially a Van's RV.  Tom is the best and the class gave me the opportunity to see if I had what it takes to begin to learn how to build an airplane.

3/30/03 Constructed 2 EAA standard workshop tables.  I might need to build a few more, these are very handy around the garage.
4/04/03 More Garage Prep work.  I added 3 more fluorescent light fixtures, ran air lines and power lines.
4/5/03 Drilled and assembled the Horizontal Stabilizer (HS) rear spar.

4/6/03 Drilled and assembled the HS front spar.

4/8/03 Began to assemble and drill the right and left elevator guts by attaching spars to ribs.

4/12/03 Completed assembly of L & R surfaces of elevator.  Clecoed skins in place and match drilled all surface holes.  This thing is starting to look like something now.

4/13/03 Deburred all parts of L & R elevator.  Finished dimpling elevator ribs and spars using the pneumatic squeezer of L elevator.  Began dimpling skin of L elevator using C-frame tool.

4/20/03 Almost complete with L elevator skin dimpling.  Finding it hard to dimple holes right up to the bend.  It helps to have a second set of hands for this.  I'm also getting my priming station up and functional.
5/4/03 Cleaned, deburred, alumiprep, alodined and primed all HS parts.  What a job.  Set the very first rivets today on the HS to Elevator hinge.

5/5/03 Began to rivet in earnest today.  Set all the rivets in the HS rear spar and as much as we could in the front spar. 

5/6/03 Began construction on the Vertical Stabilizer.  Got the framing done and the skin on and ready to start dimpling the structure/skin.  Also started to bang in the flush rivets on the HS.

5/17/03 Spent some time in Cabo and have been waiting on some tools.  First chance today to get at it.  Made substantial progress by completing the HS!  Thanks Pops!  Here's pops putting in the last rivet and me making flying sounds finally.

7/11/03 Well again I was sidelined.  I attended one wedding, one graduation, and one huge move to a new house.  At least now I can get started again.  I moved into a brand new house with a 3.5 car garage.  Oh, is that nice.  I have all the room I need.  Today I ordered the Fuselage and Quick Build Wings.  I can't wait...
7/12/03 Began work prepping the rudder and elevator stiffeners.  I had already cut, deburred and dimpled both the stiffeners and the skins.  Today I alumiprep, alodined and primed all the stiffeners.

7/13/03 Began construction of the rudder.  All parts cut, deburred and dimpled the put together to match drill.

7/14/03 The day I've been waiting for.  I finally got the parts inspected by my local EAA 96 chapter technician.  He said everything looked very good.  I'm happy.  I closed up the rudder.  I had left the spar off for the inspection.  Up on the wall it goes, out of the way.

7/19/03 Over the past few days I've been making progress towards getting the empennage completed.  I just found out that the QB wings will be here next week.  Yikes, I gotta make some room.  Best thing I can do is get this work done.  Assembled and did all the little work for the Rudder.  Here the stiffeners are installed.  Counter balance is installed and the rudder is awaiting final assembly.

7/20/03 I'm waiting to do the rudder trailing edge.  I'm scared about screwing it up.  So I spent the entire day getting the elevators to the point where I have to bend the left elevator tabs.  I fabricated a press to squeeze the trailing edges of the elevators with some 1x8x6 and 4 door hinges.  It came out very nice.  Finally had to buy a band saw.  Not bad for $129.  And it's variable speed so wood and aluminum can be cut with one machine.

7/21/03 I bought some L shaped aluminum at HomeDepot.  I match drilled with the rudder trailing edge.  Using some two part metal epoxy with a 60 minute cure time I swabbed some on very thinly to the V bar, and clecoed the entire assembly together.  I must say it looks pretty damn straight!  I'll let it cure overnight and then rivet it closed tomorrow.

7/23/03 Rudder finally got closed tonight.  The use of metal epoxy was probably not the greatest choice.  During back-riveting of the double flush rivets, the glue became separated from the metal.  The result is a bit of a gap, barely noticeable, in the trailing edge between the skins.  Oh well, I'll do it better next time.  I also rolled the leading edges.  You can only get so much bend with a one inch pipe.  The rest must be done by hand.  It's time consuming but I got a good bend within specs.

7/26/03 I spent today figuring out how to make and then fabricating a "riblet" for the LH elevator.  The plans call for you to 'bend' the tabs on the lh elevator skin to close the area next to the trim tab.  What a total waste of time.  After bending the crap out of the skins I decided to cut it off and form a riblet.  It came out perfectly.  That's the way to go.  Made it on the second attempt too.
7/27/03 Spent the morning prepping and priming all the parts for the lh and rh elevators.  Then I assembled the rh elevator.  The pictures show the parts for the lh elevator and trim tab and the completed rh elevator.  Still have to bend those leading edges.  I can't wait.  :-|

7/28/03 Decided to wait to rivet 615PP (trim access reinforcement plate for the elevator trim mechanism) to L-701 skins according to the plans because I wanted to prime it.  Today was the first time I installed flush mounted platenuts where an access cover goes over it.  I'm not sure I did this the best way.  I riveted the E615PP (trim access reinforcement plate) to the skin after I primed it.  I forgot to dimple and/or countersink the 615PP for the platenuts, and the plans don't say either to dimple or countersink.  Also the plans don't say to dimple or cs the 616PP Trim cover plate which is attached to the 615PP with platenuts.  I dimpled the 616PP and countersunk all the holes on 615PP for the platenut rivets and bolt hole.  Duhhh, what SHOULD I have done?

Ordered the strobe light kit (System 6) from Vans a few days ago.  Ordered the wingtip landing/taxi lights today.  Ordered the pitot tube today.  I can't believe the company making them now.  Those things used to be about $100 bucks, after the buyout, now they want $700.  What a rip off.  I found someone who had two left at the previously unheard price of $350 and bought one.  I feel lucky to have found that.  Want to know why aviation engines cost so much?  Even still I'll probably still by an L. engine.  Wish I had more choices.

7/29/03 Drilled out all the rivets holding the 615PP and ordered a new 615PP and 616PP.  $13 for both, not bad.  I will counter sink the screws on the cover plate and cs the rivet holes for the platenuts.  Now I know how to do it.  Meanwhile, no progress to mention, unless you consider drilling out rivets as progress.  There probably won't be any more updates till next week.  I'm going to EAA Airventure this Thursday through Sunday.  I hope to finalize more choices about my panel during that time when I visit and see first hand all my choices.  I can't wait, it's my first time.  I'm a virgin.  Here's a picture of the offending pieces to be replaced.  Notice how close the cs holes are to the edge. Yuk!

7/31/03 Oshkosh!!  What an awesome event.  More planes, campers, tents, people and vendors than any single event I've ever witnessed.  Awesome.  Plan now is to finish this bird and get her flying so I can attend next years celebration of flight in my very own airplane.   See pics here.
8/4/03 Landing lights, Whelen system 6 lighting system and heated pitot tube arrived today.  I haven't unpacked them yet and I won't till I need them.  I also received the new E615PP and E616PP parts from Vans.  Time to get started finishing the L elevator.

Update. Well I screwed it up again.  I countersunk the E616PP on the wrong side.  So I fabricated another 616PP with the leftover stock I had using the 616PP as a template.  It looks good and I'll use it.  Waste of time it was.

8/10/03 Finally was able to spend some time getting the left elevator almost done.  Here is the 'riblet' I made instead of bending the tabs.  I found it to be a better choice for me.  I blind riveted it with the cs rivets.  Elevator is mounted and the access panel is completed.  I found out that the parts kit was going to be shipped with the fuselage.  With the fuselage not arriving till mid Sept I asked Vans if they could ship the hardware with the back-ordered ailerons.  They agreed as they had a set of ailerons in stock.  Lucky me.  Thanks Vans.  The only thing left on the empennage is to bend the leading edges of the elevators and that's a snap to do.

8/15/03 Flaps arrived and the hardware kit too!

8/16/03 My Birthday today.  40.  Bent the leading edges of the elevators.  Here's a pic in process.

8/19/03 Work, work, work.  No time to build.  Decided to get the hardware on the hs and see how the elevators fit.  Damn.  There's an issue here.  The HS-601PP hs skin interferes with the travel of the elevators, both left and right.  The HS-601PP edges overlap the elevator E-713 counter balance skins.  What did I do wrong? The plans don't say anything about this.  Here you can see the assembly bottom side up and the interference.

8/21/03 Ok, I figured it out with great help from other RV7 builders.  I should have read the plans better.  I had to trim about one inch from each side.  Turned out well.

8/23/03 Mounted elevators.  Verified travel angles.  The only thing left to do here is the fiberglass and I'll do all that at the same time sometime down the road.

12/6/04 Well I haven't touched the empennage parts in quite some time.  I'm getting the urge to do other things besides the cowl and wiring for a change so lets do some fiberglass work, eh?  Here I cut the tabs back on the elevator tips and cut the horizontal stab. tips to length.

When I test fit the elevator tips It looked like there might be an edge clearance issue with the holes that attach it to the elevators.  These red dots were drawn through the holes on the elevator.  I think this will be ok since I'm going to JB weld some aluminum strips on the inside of these parts anyway.

Now for the misery.  Don't do what I did.  Cut off the portion of the lead ballast on the right elevator Before you mount it.  What  pain in the rear trying to cut lead like this.  It would have been so much easier if it was in the vise.  I finally managed to get it trimmed but it took some work.  I ended up cutting chunks off with a pair of nips.  A hacksaw just doesn't cut it.  Drill bits will snap clean off too.  I'm glad that's over with.

JB welded the aluminum strips in place.

1/13/04 Mounted the elevator tips in place and drilled the holes.  I was bummed because the aluminum strips came away from the fiberglass in a few places.  I'm not sure why the JB weld didn't hold.  Oh well.  I JP Welded them back into place.

1/26/05 With the help of my trusty builder buddy (and Dad) we got the elevator tips pop riveted in place.  I'm not going to do a bunch of fiberglass work on these.  Just the front portion.  I'll do a complete fill-in job when I get ready to paint.

1/28/05 So with the Relatives in town I can really only do small projects.  This one seemed like an easy one.  Cut a hole in the rear of the rudder fiberglass bottom.  Drill holes for the screws and fiberglass the nuts in place behind.  Simple.  Just make sure you leave the screws in place so the nuts don't move and don't fill with epoxy.  I filled in the area around the nuts with flox to make it even more durable.

2/6/05 Cut the top edges of the rudder fiberglass bottom.  Be careful here.  The cut lines Vans has etched on them are just estimates.  Go slow.

2/11/05 I placed a dab of epoxy in each countersunk hole and a bit along the cut edges of the fiberglass rudder bottom, let it dry, and then CS4-4'd that puppy on.

I drilled a hole in the front and stuck a snap bushing in there.  That's where the wires will enter from the VS.

Well the rudder tip doesn't fit worth beans.  Looks like I'm going to have to do a lay-up here.  Later.

2/13/05 I filed the edges of the elevator tips so they matched the aluminum parts next to it.  Then epoxied a single layer of Rutan BID.

2/15/05 With the Ill fitting rudder I sanded the front edges a bit and was able to get it to fit snugly up front.  I'm going to add a small section of flox and glass to the rear (where its narrow).

I sanded off the gel coat and did a lay-up of flox mixed with epoxy and a outer layer of Rutan BID.  I'll sand off the extra when it's set.

Next I removed the glass lay-up I did on the elevator tips and sanded down to bare fiberglass.  I forgot to do this a few days back.  Glass just doesn't like to stick to gel coat.  Then covered the lay-up with Dacron cloth.

2/16/05 The rearmost portion of the rudder tip came out just great.  I sanded it to fit the rudder.  But, the front portion still doesn't exactly match the contour of the skin.  So I made a flox mixture and coated the end of the piece.  First I sanded it to remove the gel coat and made a mold of sorts with some leftover silicone baffling material.  I'll sand this to match the front top rudder skin tomorrow.

2/17/05 Sanded the rudder tips and it looks good to go.  Next I mounted some backing strips and JB welded them into place.  I'll drill the holes to size tomorrow when it's all dry and rivet it into place.

2/18/05 Finished up the rudder tip.  Sanded the front and end smooth.  I'll prime all this fiberglass stuff later.

2/19/05 I placed the rudder in place and noticed that I really need a direct run of wire from the fuselage to the rudder.  If not, then the wires are bent at an awkward angle and may chafe.  I decided where I wanted the wires to exit and drilled the hole through the bulkhead and vertical stabilizer.  Then drilled a new hole in the rudder and fibreglassed the hole that I had already drilled.

I cut some moderately thin strips of large cell blahblah and fibreglassed it into place with some flox.  I'll lay-up some fiberglass later when it's cut to shape.

I spent a lot of time getting the empennage fairing to lay nice.  It's still about 1/8" high on the left side.  I think I can get it to lay flat with a bit of heat.

2/20/05 More work on the empennage fairing.  One little issue I have is that the lower fairing (aluminum) is supposed to get cs screws and the longeron is tapped for screws.  Problem I have is am I supposed to countersink the existing holes in the skin and longeron to accept the cs screws?  I had already placed rivets in the existing holes and had to drill them out.  I have another inspection tomorrow and I'll ask Dave Bristol about this then.

Overall I'm pretty pleased with the way this piece has turned out, except the left side which still sits a bit high, about 1/8".

Here you can see where I've made cut marks to provide clearance

2/21/05 Tonight I installed the nutplates for the empennage fairing.  I'm only going to use four nutplates on the vertical stabilizer.  Where you see the clecos is where I have installed the nutplates, on both sides.  I can't install the nutplates for the forward most clecos because I don't have the aft skin on yet.

2/22/05 Not much going on today.  I decided *again* where to run the wires for the rudder strobe and nav light.  I drilled a hole through the vs spar and through the center of the rear tie-down.  Thought about a lot of stuff but basically got nothing done.

2/23/05 Because the rudder swings back and forth, the wires coming from the VS into the rudder will take a bending load each time the rudder is moved back and forth; Not good.  Ideally, you want the cable to come out of the VS, hang down (or up) a few inches (like 5) and take a twisting load instead of bending load.  But it's near impossible the way things sit with this plane.  So I gouged out a groove in the fiberglass rudder tip so the wires will not touch the glass and won't be subjected to any bending loads.  I think this is a nice design, but only time will tell.

Next, I filled the horizontal stabilizer tips with a mixture of microballoons and epoxy.  It's light and very sandable.

Then I fiber glassed a piece of foam into the VS tip.  I'll do the same to this that I did with the HS tips.

2/24/05 I got a call from my landlord today.  They had to come by and post a placard in the house regarding Proposition 65, or some proposition.  Just to give you an idea of how wacked out this state of California is I just had to post this picture.  They placed it in my laundry room.  Unfreakinbelievable.

So after I was done laughing my ass off (they should have posted this in my garage, fools) I got down to work.  Stuck some aluminum strips on the HS and VS fiberglass tips and JB welded them in.  I'm actually going to finish this empennage fiberglass mess soon I hope.

More sanding on the elevator tips.

Then, just for a lark, I played around with making an aluminum oil door.  It fits very well.  I'm considering this.  Yes, It weighs a few ounces more.  But, left unpainted and shined up, it might look very nice.  The main reason I'm considering this is that with a negative pressure on top of the cowl the fiberglass oil door gets sucked up and that doesn't look to nice.  This definitely won't.  I'm just messing around at this point.  Or am I?

2/25/05 Pop riveted the HS tips in place after dimpling the HS skin and countersinking the fiberglass.

VS tip get some microballoons.

Later Ed and Greg came by for an inspection.  These guys are stress engineers and work on fighter planes.  They pored over the plane with enthusiasm.  Then it was off to get some sushi and Soju, yeah baby.


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Last updated: 07/06/05.