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Left rudder skin problem was a builder problem … oops

I emailed Vans and my SAAA Technical Counsellor about my hole misalignment problem with the left rudder skin. Everyone I spoke to suggested, in the nicest possible way of course, that is it probably not a problem with a kit. So I went back and double checked. I first measured the hole spacings on the left rudder skin with my vernier, and compared this to the hole spacing on the right skin. They were the same. Huh?!?

I then put the stiffeners on the skin and double checked the hole alignment again. Still the same problem. This got me scratching my head big time. The advice from Vans is that in almost every case where they were asked about similar issues, it was a problem with the stiffeners being trimmed. So I looked more closely at the stiffeners. That’s when I found the problem. I had the lined up backwards (aft was forward and forward was aft). So I turned them all the correct way round and hey presto, the holes all lined up. Damn good kit this. It’s Gav proof! Here’s a photo illustrating one stiffener backwards and one stiffener correctly aligned.

Luckily I stopped before trimming so no harm done. I’ll trim these later.

I wanted to get ready for priming as its a long weekend and the weather forecast looks good. So I used some PreKoat and treated all the HS skeleton and the HS skins. I made a hanger out of a spare earth rod and some spare hooks I had lying around. Whilst I was treating the HS skeleton I had a visit from a fellow RV-7 builder named Alex. We chatted about building and compared notes. Good luck with your build Alex!

After Alex left I finished off the rest of the HS skeleton and the skins before calling it a day. Here’s the HS skeleton drying on the hanger.

Build time 2hrs.


About gstrack

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


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