Riveting the Rudder

Time: 5 Hours

I had to fly a morning trip today which gave me the rest of the day to work in the hangar. First up was to rivet the substructure of the rudder. I started with the top rib that has the fiberglass attach strip riveted to it. I used my new 4″ no-hole yoke with my pneumatic squeezer.

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You leave the last 3 rivets open so you can attach the skin at the same time.

Then I fit the counterbalance weight to the upper rib, I removed it to make it a little easier to move the rudder around while riveting.

Next was to rivet the rudder horn, horn support, spacer, bottom rib, doublers and the 3 nut plates.

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One smiley face today!

Once the substructure was all done I added a “chewing gum” size blob of RTV(a silicone like material) to all the rudder stiffener trailing edge ends that are already attached to the skin. This is supposed to help alleviate any cracking on the skin from vibration. Then it was time to slide the skin over the structure.

Then I went around the rudder riveting the edge rivets. I used a couple different yokes and my gun/bucking bar to get all the rivets.

There were only 2 rivets that I just couldn’t get too, the last rivet on the leading edge, left and right, on the top of the rudder. There are several special tools that can get to these rivets but Vans allows you to use blind rivets and I figured there was no shame in using those. When filled they will look just like solid rivets after painted!

A little touch up on several spots of the primer and that will be done. Next up… Bending the leading edge of the rudder. This is a tough job as you want a nice rounded leading edge and you can easily put a crease where the spar ends and that doesn’t look good. I will require the help from my resident pro builder, Glen.

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