7.11.3 – 12.1 Rig left aileron and mount left flap

The list of jobs left on the wings is dwindling fast. One of the very last major jobs is mounting the ailerons and flaps. To keep the ailerons safe I put two bolts in the hinges and left it like that until today. Today I wanted to put all the washers, nuts, bolts and spacers necessary to finalise the fitting of the ailerons.

I started by attempting to fit the push rod bolt and washers etc while it was attached to the wing but I soon realised that was going to be impossible. The nut is inaccessible while the aileron is on the wing. Hmm, plan B required. I removed everything and then removed the aileron from the wing. I fitted all the push rod parts to the aileron as per the plans.

This is what it looks like fitted…

As it was inaccessible while mounted I also torqued this nut and bolt to 25″/lbs as per standards. Next I remounted the aileron to the wing again with just a bolt in each hinge point. I then worked on each hinge point one at a time fitting all the spacers and hardware as per the drawings.

Once all the hinge hardware was fitted I then aligned the aileron using some clecos and an aluminium angle. Some builders log sees them making convoluted alignment jigs for this task. I simply used 3 gold clecos. 2 in each of the big rib tooling holes and one in the very aft of the aileron and clamped them all to the aluminium angle. So far as I could tell this is exactly what vans intended to get the alignment of the aileron dead centre.

Once that was done I grabbed the alignment template that Vans supply in the kit and used it to align the other end of the push rod. I adjusted the push rod end bearing until the eye of the bearing fitted smoothly through the bolt while the bolt was in the template and bellcrank. Once there I then adjusted the push rod until it was dead centre of both rod end bearings. I checked the witness holes at both ends to confirm that I could see the thread of the rod at both ends. All good.

With the Aileron rigged I moved on to mounting the left flap. To make sure I didn’t go over the minimum edge distances I marked a line 3/16″ all the way along the wing side of the hinge. Mounting the flap was a bit tricky because alignment had to be in three dimensions while the flap brace was putting pressure one the assembly. The three dimensions where 1/4″ gap between flap and aileron, level with the aft edge of the aileron and, finally, forward/backward about its hinge.

In the end I found an easy way to solve all three dimensions.

  1. I grabbed a 1/4″ drill bit and placed it between the aileron and flap to maintian the 1/4″ gap required.
  2. I found a block of wood and some metal shims on placed them at the most inboard end of the flap too maintain the correct horizontal alignment. The aileron had 1.3 degrees out of level (because of the wing trolley) so I maintained the same 1.3 degrees on the flap.
  3. I used two pieces of aluminium angle and some shims to lock the forward/backward movement in the same position as the aileron.

With that all in place I took a break for a quick drink. When I came back to it I rechecked everything again to make sure I was happy with the alignments and then I drilled the first hole in the piano hinge. Once the first few holes had been drilled and clecod I was really committed to dimensions.

I used my calipers to make sure that every hole I drilled had the same gap between wing skin and flap…

Eventually I finished drilling and clecoing every hole.

After I took the picture above I notice that my red clamp is stuck between the aileron and flap, doh! Not to worry to much as the flap needs to come off so I can debur & prime the hinge, make the hinge pin locking mechanism and rivet the hinge on. All for another day, for now that’s the left side all done. I just need to repeat all this on the right wing too. 🙂

7.10.9 – 12 Rivet flaps

All the parts for the flaps have been primed and left to cure for a few days so today is a good day to rivet the flaps together. It’s always a fun but nerve racking time because so much effort has been spent so far and one small mistake could mean a big do over.

I started with the bottom skins and riveted the 4 inner ribs to the end of the bottom skin and then to the rest of the bottom skin.

Next I riveted the reinforcement plate to the end rib.

Then riveted the inboard end ribs to the bottom skins but left the outboard just clecod for now as they can be reached with the squeezer.

Once that was done I made a couple of V blocks as per the instructions and then put the top skin on and sat the assembly in the v-blocks.

Once it was in the v-block I was able to rivet all the top skin rivets with the tungsten bucking bar and rivet gun. There are a couple of rivets at the very lowest point that must be pop-riveted because of their location but the rest were do-able. Once that was done I riveted on the rear spar using blind rivets as per the plans. I had quite a bit of trouble with the rivets near the reinforcement plate as the holes were too close to the bend and so the rivet puller simply wouldn’t fit. In the end I worked out that a single eye from a piano hinge was the perfect left the raise the rivet puller high enough to do the job. Unfortunately with all that head scratching I forgot to take any pictures until both rear spars had been fitted.

The last job was to rivet on the piano hinge. To do this I needed to change the yoke. There are two pins with ring pulls that hold the yoke in place and today, for some reason, I forgot to put both pins in. As I started riveting there was an almighty crack and the rivet squeezer was toast! The picture below shows the broke part either side of the spring. That part is supposed to be one piece. 🙁

Luckily I still had my pneumatic squeezer so I was able to get the piano hinges finished.

The flaps look good but I’m not 100% happy with the left flap where I had to drill out a blind rivet as it has left a bit of a mess. I will check with my inspector and see if he is happy with it as it is or if he has any ideas on fixing it. A long, but productive, day today.

7.10.1 – 3 Start building the flaps

Still on a high from finishing the main wing structure and ailerons last week I couldn’t wait to get started on the last major assembly of the wing kit, the flaps. First I found the spars, deburred the edges and the lightening holes. Then I found the 12 ribs and deburred those two. Then cleco’d the whole assembly together.

Next the instructions say to match drill the ribs to the spar but there is too much movement there to get an accurate drill. I decided to cleco both bottom and top skins in place so they would hold the ribs firmly in place while I drilled. All this effort is to try and reduce/prevent twist in the flaps. The problem is the top skin curls over and blocks the top holes in the ribs. I got over this little problem by using my angle drill with the smallest possible bit.

Once that was done I removed the top skin and called it a night.

7.8.24-25 Right wing outboard skin riveted

Another session in the workshop today and I managed to get the bottom outboard skin riveted on. Again nothing complicated here as I think I got the technique nailed. It took a few hours but I got it done. After that I fitted the 8 nutplates to the outboard access hole as well.

And with that the main wing structure is finished! Woohoo!!!  It feels fantastic to have reached this epic milestone. I also updated my little drawing to show the ailerons and wing structure complete and the flaps are next on the to do list.

It’s starting to look like a plane!

7.9.9 + 10 Finish riveting right aileron

This morning I finished off the right aileron. It didn’t take long but I was just too tired to do it yesterday. Nothing too complicated, I clamped it and riveted it the same as the left. Then I put it on the right wing.

7.9.9 & 10 Continue riveting left & right ailerons

After a thoroughly crappy day at work it felt great to be in my quiet place! It’s great to have somewhere to go to vent out a bad day. I carried on assembling the ailerons and the instructions say to rivet the aft skin on to the nose skin. It was obvious this was going to be tricky to hold and rivet with a gun and bucking bar at the same time. I found on others build logs a great idea. I cut two 6″ lengths of 2×4 and screwed them to my workbench. Next I screwed the aileron to these blocks.

This made it much easier to rivet the top of the skins to the spar. About half way through the first aileron my dad appeared at the door and helped me for the rest of the afternoon.

Together we carried on working through the instructions which say to find a flat surface and weight the aileron down. I had a quick sort out and found a straight/level work surface and clamped the aileron down. Then started blind riveting using my cordless drill rivet puller tool. We started in the middle and worked outwards alternating left and right side of centre. The logic here is not to build any twist into the aileron.

Once the left aileron was done we couldn’t resist mounting it on the wing with a couple of bolts. It’s not rigged properly but it does look great.

That’s all for today, I was getting tired so I will finish off the right aileron another day.

7.9.3, 8 & 9 – Begin riveting left & right ailerons

Pancake day today so those had to get made before any plane building occurred.

After that I spent some more time in the workshop. I decided to start assembling the ailerons. As per the instructions, I started with the leading edge ribs to counterbalance weight. Next I riveted on the spar doubler plates and nutplates. Then I rivetied the nose ribs to the spar.

That’s enough for tonight as it’s getting late.

7.8.22-25 Torque tank attach bolts, JC5A inboard right wing joints & prime counterbalance again

I’m getting everything on the right wing ready to rivet on the bottom skins. First I torqued all the tank attach bolts to 25″/lb. Once torqued I marked it up with witness mark so I know if they move.

Next I applied JC5A jointing compound to all mating surfaces.

Then I mounted the inboard skin with a couple of clecos ready for me to rivet on another day. After that I applied some more primer to the inside of the aileron counterbalance weight. That’s it for today.

7.8.22-25 Rivet pitot mast & access plate nutes & prime aileron counterbalance and overlap

I spent the morning at Flight of the Navigators place helping him drill his horizontal stabilizer to the fuselage and rivet the ILS doubler plate, but mostly it was spent chatting RV! After lunch I did a bit of everything. First I mixed up some fuel tank sealant to fill the gap in the skin where the cut out for the pitot mast wasn’t quite perfect. Then I fitted and riveted the pitot mast in place. After that I riveted the nutplates to the outboard skin access plate. I gave the wing a good clean with thinner too as it was covered in paint dust and markings.

After that I noticed that I had not primed the overlap of the aft skin. I decided I wanted it primed as it would be in contact with other parts of the aileron. So I masked off both left and right aileron skins and then sprayed them with Acid 8 etch primer as a base coat.

The Acid 8 only takes about 20 minutes before it can be overcoated so I primed the inside of the aileron counterbalance weights with PR143 while I waited. Once dry I primed the overlaps with PR143 as well.

I’ll leave the skins and weights to dry to dry for a day or two before I start assembling.

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