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Empennage

Skin hole fix and Elevator stiffeners

I received confirmation that the “drill and rivet” approach is the best way to fix the tear in my VS skin. So last night I got back into the shed. First I peeled a little of the vinyl away from the outter side and marked a 3/32″ hole around the tear in order to verify that a 3/32″ flush rivet would be big enough.

That checked out ok so I drilled out the damage using my #40 bit.

Then I dimpled the hole so I could use a flush rivet.

This is where the repair hole is located on the VS skin.

When it comes time to paint the outter skins (in a couple of years!) I’ll try and hide this repair rivet, or at least make it as inconspicuous as possible. I’m thinking of using some automotive bog to blend the dimple and rivet factory head with the skin, then painting over the top of it. This might make is almost invisible. If that doesn’t work, I might use a decal or something. For now, build on.

I got back to the elevator stiffeners and edge finished all of them. The plans then call for some of the left elevator stiffeners to be trimmed (hmm..I probably should have read ahead and not edge finished them!). I marked these out for trimming and was about to cut when I noticed one of the marks seemed wrong. I had inadvertently marked the measurement from the 2nd last hole instead of the last hole and almost cut an extra 1″+ off. That would’ve been nasty but fortunately it was picked up before I cut. The 3 different types of stiffeners have slightly different lengths to be trimmed, but none of them need much more trimmed off than the average toe nail clipping. Probably a gross example but it’s what popped into my head ok?! 🙂

The left elevator also has some “mini-stiffeners” due to the trim tab. These were still rough trimmed so I cleaned them up and finished the edges at the same time using the Scotchbrite wheel. Here’s a shot of one rough trimmed, and one tidied up.

I then clecoed all the stiffeners to both elevator skins ready for match drilling.

I’m using my bottle of pneumatic tool oil to hold the skin up. It sags under it’s own weight due to the trim tab recess and I don’t want the skin to get a crease in it.

I called it a night at this point. Build time 2.5 hrs.

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About gstrack

Husband and father of 2. Control & Instrumentation Engineer. Flying nut. Gadget geek.

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