Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Friday, July 31, 2009

1.3 hrs
Drill seat and baggage skins for center cover screws.
Drill all the #40 platenut rivets and countersink.

Remove the 915 ribs, deburr, and prepare for platenuts.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

2.0 hrs
Didn't use the clock, so this is a rough estimate. Spent a bunch of time playing with the new toys purchased at Oshkosh. Used some of them to work on the center section. The new toys include a US Tools squeezer (as part of a complete kit, at a price that used tools are selling at, if you can be the first in line! Shouldn't ever have to buy a squeezer die again!), a Smart Level, a shiny new Andair fuel valve, various drill bits, AN3-56 bolts for the brake pedals, 2 AeroLED 1600's to complete the leading edge light installation, and a Artex ME406 ELT with the whip antenna. That last one is being shipped.

Stopped by the Hooker Harness booth, and discovered that the Van's recommendation for the crotch strap bracket separation is wrong for the Hooker crotch straps. The standard Hooker design has three layers of material, which is too thick to fit in the 1/8" gap spec'd in the Van's instructions. I had just drilled all of those holes. Crap.

Scot with HH said they could build a harness to account for it, it would just have to be upside down.

I looked at the instructions after I got back, and realized that I had drilled and dimpled the flanges that are flush to the seat skin for a AN426AD3 rivets. But the holes need to be for a #8 screw and nutplates. So I just dropped in a 3/16 drill bit to set the spacing, and final drilled the brackets to #19.
Problem solved.

Then clecoed the baggage skins on and final drilled to the seat ribs. Waiting for the new ELT to get here so I can mod the baggage skins for mounting the ELT under them.


What can I say...

It was everything I expected and more. This was my first trip, I've been wanting to go for 20 years or more. Flew via the company plane to Midway in Chicago with Jim Darrah and his Dad, Bob.

Three amazing events stand out: First, the Virgin Galactic mothership. Second, the Airbus 380. Third, getting to meet a group of RV-9/9A builders at the Van's banquet, and getting to hear Terry Lutz talk about flying the Airbus 380.

Oshkosh was like a postcard!

The right plane on the second row is the little red RV-4, flown by Bill Gunn, that inspired my project!

Here's just a few pictures, more are in this Picassa page.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

5.5 hrs
Got a bunch of work done, and it's still early. But I need to pack for Oshkosh, and watch the Mount Ventoux Tour de France stage.

Finish deburring ribs.
Dimple center section skin and ribs.

Cleco ribs and crotch strap brackets.
Attach seat skins.

Match drill seat skins to 915 ribs. U decided to do this now, instead of when the plans have it listed. I think I can control the accuracy a little better without the side skin in the way.

Final drill seat skins to 916 ribs.
Match drill crotch strap thru bolt to #30. Still need to final drill to 5/16.

Final drill and counter sink aft 904 spar to rib tab.
I can disassemble and prime the ribs now.

Friday, July 24, 2009

1.4 hrs
Finished match drilling the crotch strap assemblies to the ribs. Took it apart and deburred.

Also cut and deburred the holes in the 725 rib for the step.

Should finish all the center section prep work tomorrow, except for priming.
Then it's off to Oshkosh!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2.1 hrs
Deburr 904 spar and 904H plates.

Start deburring seat ribs. Takes 5 minutes per rib. 5 down, 5 to go.

Start match drilling crotch strap brackets. The instructions show a cutout needed in the 940 and 939 seat parts. But those cutout were already done in my kit! Sweet! That makes it just a matter of centering the brackets in the cutout, getting them square, and drilling. I found that getting the rear bracket perfectly centered on the matching holes in the seat provided the best centering. Tomorrow the brackets will be match drilled to the ribs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1.2 hrs
Final trimmed all the rib snap bushing cutouts, and deburred on the scotch brite wheel.

1.5 hours on Tuesday
Trimmed the seat/baggage rib snap bushing cutouts. Used a die grinder tip that I bought at Sun n Fun. It was a decent tool for the job (it's hard to get it perfect freehand). It would be nice to use a unibit, but it won't work on the edge of a part like that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

1.5 hrs
Started deburring center section parts.
Got the 976 skin done, and then the baggage ribs.
Still need to trim the two inboard baggage and seat ribs for
the snap bushing cutout. That'll be next.

I think I might cleco the whole assembly together again and fit the seat and baggage top skins. I'll do that at the same time as prepping the crotch strap kit. Then all the deburring will be done and I can prime everything all at once.
This posting is for yesterday, Sunday, July 19.
4.5 hrs
Started out fine tuning the thickness of the 904 spar spacers.
Fit 904A to center section.
Final dril 904A flange/976 skin.
Fit 904H parts and match drill.
Match drill 915 ribs.

Countersink 976 skin/904 flanges. Decided to countersink all of the holes. The FAQ from Van's builders help section said "it would be fine". I didn't like the idea of dimpling the 904 flanges, even though they're only .040. The countersinks do go just a fraction into the spar flange, but this procedure leaves the inside nice and smooth.

Remove 976 skin.
Final drill all 905 rib holes.
Remove baggage ribs.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

3.9 hrs, 103 rivets

Went flying this morning. A reasonable day, went early before it got too hot. Nice smooth air. One lousy landing, one so-so landing. Need to get a biennial flight review scheduled.

Finished riveting aft fuselage for now. Over 9900 rivets. I'm just starting to get the hang of it.

Finished deburring crotch strap brackets. They're ready for when the center section ribs get removed and deburred.

Match drilled 623 ribs and attach straps. That task has been waiting for almost a week. Ended up making one of the aft straps for a third time. Aligning the 623 in the way that seems to make the most sense (seems too has to be good enough, because the drawings don't get you any closer), and then using the stock aft spacer, the aft most rivet, the one through the bulkhead, will be way off center. Well, and I didn't quite understand the layout, so I had the spacer too far forward. Both were problems. But the third try worked great, and the other side went without any further problems.

Friday, July 17, 2009

1.5 hrs, 54 rivets
Decided to try back riveting the last bottom skin rivets for the aft fuselage. It worked nicely, and now that task is done, minus the bell crank ribs, which will wait until joining the two sections.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2.0 hrs, 102 rivets
10K rivets are coming up fast!
Filled in a bunch of rivets on the aft fuselage, catching up to the point where I need more help. The girl had a story about a rough night, so I didn't push too hard to get her to participate.

The RV community is amazing. Browsing around on other builders sites, I saw that I was forgetting the crotch strap kit. It's not in the narrative for the 9 kit, so it was up to me to remember, and that wasn't working. So I've been looking at some of the 7 builder's pages since the aft fuselage is almost identical. And one of the guys documents installing the crotch strap kit.

So why the 5 point harness in a 9? Well, it just seems like a good idea. I flew to Florida with such a setup, and it didn't seem to have any downsides. Extra safety, not too much more burden, why not?

At any rate, part of today was the rough filing part of edge deburring for the 4 pieces of the crotch strap kit. About another 2 hours at most, and that detour is complete.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1.5 hrs, 79 rivets
Got the 623 ribs fluted and positioned. Was about to start match drilling when the girl showed up. She was ready to rivet. She got all the equipment ready to go!

So we dove into aft fuselage riveting. Worked up to the 707 bulkhead. I've got plenty of side skin rivets to do for the next session until help is needed to finish the 779 rivets.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

1.4 hrs
Missed yesterday, out sick.
Finish match drilling center bottom skin. Went quick, since the clecos were all set and I just needed to drill the last holes.

Trim 623 corner ribs to length. These cause a lot of consternation, since the instructions are kind of vague and the details are not sufficient to figure out exactly what to do. I don't think it's super critical to get it to the thousandth. All the web sites describe the tribulations, and they helped alot. The 7 build sites are usable here, since the 7 and 9 fuselages are nealy identical from 705 back.

Fabbed the attach straps for the 623. Got to do it twice because the first piece of material was .032, but that included two layers of plastic. So now I have a nice set of .025 shims! The fact that these straps are made from such thin material, and only held by a few #40 rivets shows that the 623 ribs are really just to help set the external shape of the skin. They can't be carrying very much load.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

4.9 hrs, 187 rivets
Katrin appeared this morning after being gone all week. They were camping in New Braunfels and taking time to visit San Antonio. I'll get the fuel bill soon, and I'll try to remind myself that it's cheaper than sending her to Italy.

But now I have riveting help! I dropped a few subtle and not so subtle hints at the airpark workday, and didn't get any bites on riveting help. The girl is very mechanically competent and has the strength and coordination to be an excellent helper. And she's my smartest Facebook friend!

We started in on the aft fuselage parts that I just can't do myself. I made her take breaks, and during that time I continued on the rivets I can do solo, and match drilling on the center section.

Got the 779 skin riveted in. And we continued riveting the aft fuselage, working forward.

Fluted the 715 ribs to a rough fit. They're still held in place with clamps at the forward end, and clecoes at the aft bulkhead end.

Started final drilling of 776 bottom skin to ribs and bulkheads. Got about half way done, rotated all of the clecos and just need to finish the drilling. Called quits there because I've had some sort of respiratory infection and I decided that was enough.

Gonna be at 10 thousand rivets soon! And a thousand hours in the next couple of months.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

6.5 hrs, 52 rivets
Made 615C spacers.
Cut inboard seat ribs and modified for the removable bridge.

Drilled all the seat ribs for nutplates and dimpled. Countersink all the needed nutplates. Spent a few minutes to make a nutplate countersink jig from hardwood.

This makes it a lot easier when there are so many to do.

Riveted nutplates to the 8 inboard seat ribs.
Post Edit: Don't do this yet! The center baggage and seat rib nutplates are supposed to be riveted together with the baggage and seat floors.

Cleco seat ribs to 704 aft bulkhead.

Cleco baggage ribs to 705 bulkhead. Join seat and baggage ribs at 705.

Start clecoing bottom skin on.

Friday, July 10, 2009

1.9 hrs
Finished deburring the center section ribs. Yeah!
Started fluting. Got all the 916 ribs done. That got me to 2 hrs and time to watch the tour. The 915 ribs aren't drilled yet, so fluting will wait until I figure out where the holes need to be.

Tomorrow the fun stuff starts.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

1.6 hrs
More edge deburring. Got all the filing and sanding done, and most of the scotchbrite work.
Almost done! For now...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

1.0 hrs
Continued edge deburring center section ribs. I can get about 5 done in an hour.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

1.3 hrs
Deburring center section ribs.

Monday, July 6, 2009

7 hrs, 98 rivets
Edge deburr 976 center section bottom skin
Pull center section ribs.

Started riveting aft fuselage

Deburr 904H doublers

Sunday, July 5, 2009

2.8 hrs, 6 rivets

Stupid hot in the garage, the thermometer shows it at 97 degrees. It's hard to work mainly because sweat is not good for the aluminium. But finished dimpling the bottom skin, and primed the stringers. Then clecoed the aft fuselage back together for assembly.

Was able to squeeze the 6 bottom aft rivets on the 712 bulkhead, but it's just too difficult to shoot any of the bottom rivets without help. And no one is available. I guess it's a good day for a break. The Tour is on. How about that Mark Cavendish?!?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

3.4 hr
Start dimpling. Mostly finished, just the bottom skin left.

Volunteered at the airpark Young Eagles event. Lots of sun, lots of fun.

And Le Tour started today. That's going to eat up some of my build time for the next three weeks.

Friday, July 3, 2009

3.8 hrs

Deburred all parts.

Drilled holes for static ports, rudder cable anchors, and tie down ring.

Fortunately, my new habit of reading the instructions saved me from a big mistake. I was preparing to drill a much larger hole for the static port, thinking that the flange goes on the outside of the skin. But the SafeAir instructions say to drill a 1/4 inch hole at the location recommended by the kit manufacturer. Once I figured out that the flange goes on the inside, it all made sense. Whew!

There's only one problem with this picture. This is the recommended location, but the flange on the static port is too close to the bulkhead flange. I'll have to trim the static port to fit. But it would have to be moved forward some amount to clear without requiring any cutting, and I don't know what that would do to the performance of the static system. Trimming the static port isn't a big deal. I plan to simply use proseal to hold the static ports in place.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

7.3 hrs
Final drill lower aft fuselage. There aren't as many rivets as on the wings, but this requires more attention to detail. Plus you're on your back for portions of it. I expect I'll be pretty sore after holding the cleco pliers and drill over my head for 2 hours.

Fnally got it all drilled, then took it all apart. Started deburring. Got the 778 bottom skin done and started on the 773 skins.