VS Begins

Time: 4 Hours

I had a week off of no building due to my flight schedule and a trip out to California to drive my parents car back to Nebraska. That was a little over 1500 miles in 29 hours, just me and two little yorkie dogs, fun!
Before I started riveting the HS skins I had all my work reviewed by an EAA tech counsler, Bill Shain. This gives an experienced set of eyes a chance to look at your work and document the inspection. When I got home from my trip the paperwork was in the mail. He was happy with my work and said build on! That’s a good feeling!


Today I was able to get in 4 hours working on the VS. I prepped and straightened all the ribs. Then I matched drilled all the ribs and doubler to to spars. I was able to also get one side of the skin matched drilled to the substructure. I will finish that process up this weekend and get some priming done too.





HS Skins

Time: 7 Hours

Saturday was great day if work! My good friend Glen V. came over to the hangar to help out with riveting the skins of the HS. He gave me some pointers on the rivet gun setup and pressures to use on the air line. He maned the Cleko’s and holding the work while I used the gun and bucking bar. After a few tips and pointers I was off and running.



20130421-085437.jpgThose 3 rivets on the rib are blind rivets since you don’t have access to the back side to use a bucking bar. Wow that’s a tight space to work in!

20130421-085642.jpgGlen popped a photo of me actually riveting.



20130421-085844.jpgShe is a thing of beauty!

20130421-085851.jpgThe perimeter rivets I used my pneumatic squeezer to set those making that job a breeze


20130421-085906.jpgLook at those clean lines! This kit is pretty awesome!

20130421-085912.jpgThat’s a HUGE milestone, the first major section done! That’s one big smile!

20130421-090612.jpgNow to start the Vertical Stabilizer!

Forward HS Spar

Time: 4 Hours

I got a fair amount if work done this last weekend of the HS. I started by touching up the primer on the aft spar where my riveting scratched it. Then off to work on the forward spar. I was able to use the pneumatic squeezer for a few of the rivets but the rest needed the rivet gun and bucking bars. Whoa I haven’t used those tools yet except for a class at EAA’s OshKosh AirVenture. So off to practice I went, I will say all went pretty well. The first few were slow but worked well.




20130421-083028.jpg As I have read on many builders websites that you will get some “smileys” on your AN470 rivets. A smiley occurs when the concave rivet head of your rivet gun jumps off the rivet head and moves. This movement allows the rivet gun shank to hit the rivet head off center leaving a small mark resembling a smile.

20130421-083350.jpgHere is a view of that concave surface

20130421-083357.jpgMost builders will also tell you to resist the urge to drill out a rivet just because it has a smiley. Well I just couldn’t resist on one, maybe just because it looks a little deep for my liking. This was a rivet that tied HS-405, the forward HS spar and HS-404 together. It is a tight spot to rivet or drill out. The drilling went ok until the end where the hole edge on HS-404 got enlarged a little. Once that happens, trying to get a clean shop head on a rivet is tough under easy riveting conditions, which this area was not. Long story short, I tried 2 more times with 2 more drill outs. I then called for some advice from my fellow builder Glen V. He said bring the parts over and let’s take a look. He looked and smiled a little at my rookie mistake and assured me its one of many I will make. We then drilled out the rivet, again and enlarged the hole and riveted with the next size up. You can see the larger rivet in this photo.

20130421-084339.jpgAfter I got that learning curve finished I headed back to the shop and finished priming the inside of the skins for the next building session.

HS Rear Spar

Time: 4 Hours

The squeezer dies that I ordered from Avery Tools arrived this afternoon. They are a 1/8″ flush and a thin 1/8″ cupped die. I needed these to give me the clearance to properly squeeze the rivets.

20130412-204732.jpgNow that I had these dies I was able to get some work done this afternoon. Starting with riveting the spar stiffeners to the spar.

20130412-204900.jpgThe first row of rivets look great, the pneumatic squeezer makes this job easy!


20130412-205215.jpgI see a lot of other builders posting photos of them actually working on their RV’s so I thought I would do the same. I just downloaded an app on my iPhone that has a camera timer, propped up the phone and started riveting. Here are a couple of me looking like I know what I’m doing!


20130412-205518.jpgHere is the stiffeners all done.


20130412-205700.jpgI learned a valuable lesson today: you always need to re-adjust your squeezer settings, the amount that the rivet is squeezed, when you change what you’re riveting! I went from the stiffeners to the first hinge brackets without adjusting and squeezed the first rivet way too much!

20130412-210000.jpgit’s the top left one! So I got to practice drilling out a bad rivet. The first of many I’m sure!

20130412-210111.jpgOnce I got that done I finished up the rest of the hinge brackets. The center bracket gets attacked with 4 bolts.

20130412-210351.jpgHere is the finished spar!



First Assembly

Time: 1 Hour

With the primer dry I started to do a little assembling. Then I noticed a step that must have skipped over in my match drilling. The 4 holes that allow the HS-411 bearing/hinge to be bolted to the HS-609 stiffener and the HS-603 did not get drilled out to a #12! Oops, not a big deal, and I just did that step now. Then I deburred those holes and primed them. I’m waiting for a 1/8″ flush set and a modified 1/8 cup set from Avery Tools so that I can squeeze the rivets on these pieces. Hopefully they will be here by the weekend so I can get some riveting done.