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Empennage

Rudder trailing edge riveted

Last night it was time to tackle the trailing edge of the rudder. The tank fuel sealant was left to cure all week so I started by removing the excess sealant that had leaked out here and there. I used TIMMY to carefully scape away the excess sealant and inserted rivets in the holes.

I then placed a long length of metal angle and clamped it in place along an edge of my bench to use as a back riveting plate. To ensure a flat surface for the rudder, I placed some scrap carpet next to the angle which was roughly the same thickness as the angle. I then placed the rudder in position and got ready to rivet. The instructions call out a particular method and sequence for riveting the trailing edge. It’s pretty straight forward but this is how I did it.

Using a Sharpie pen, I marked all the trailing edge rivets with a number from 1 to 6, repeating this sequence until all the rivets were marked. Starting from the middle and working outwards (alternating sides outwards) I half set all the No. 6 rivets. Be very careful not to fully set the rivets and keep the rivet set perpendicular to the rivet (not the rudder skin). I then repeated this for all the rivets in this sequence – 3, 4, 1, 2, 5. I checked repeatedly throughout this process that the rudder trailing edge remained straight. Fortunately it was. Once I double checked that all the rivets were half set, I took this photo.

I then flipped the rudder over and changed my rivet gun so it had the mushroom head set. After checking that the trailing edge was on the angle, I fully set the rivets using the same sequence (6,3,4,1,2,5) working from the middle and alternating sides as I worked outwards. I was pretty happy with the result. It’s a bit hard to see in the photo, but I can look closely down the trailing edge and it appears perfectly straight to the Mk I eyeball.

I didn’t have some metal pipe to roll the forward edge so I put the rudder aside to begin work on the wings.

Build time 2 hours.

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About gstrack

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

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