Friday, August 31, 2012

Riveting Of Stabilator Skins Nears Completion

The last couple of days at DOG Aviation have been spent doing metal prep and priming of the stabilator skins along with some of the tail cone components. I had hoped to prime some of the tail cone skins as well, but quickly realized that the logistics of storing wet 9 foot long pieces of aluminum in addition to the two large stabilator skins prevented that from happening.

Although getting a late start today, significant progress was made on the final assembly of the stabilator. The ribs that were cut per the plans fit well and did not require additional tweaking.
                                                    Placing the stabilator skeleton into the left stabilator skin.

Aligning the ribs was a slow process, but went well and without any unforeseen issues. Here again as with the other empennage components, having dimpled skins and ribs really helps hold the position of the ribs once the positioning gets close to correct.
                                            Using a finishing nail punch to help align the holes for the Clecos.
                     Jan holding the right stabilator skin open for me while placing the stabilator skeleton into the skin.

Once the skeleton assembly is inside the right stabilator skin, the Cleco process is repeated. Once both left and right skins have been Clecoed, the whole assembly is flipped over and the other side is Clecoed to prepare for riveting. Much to my surprise, all the aft ribs were already aligned and the forward ribs were mostly aligned except for two and they were very close. Having spent the time to flute the ribs perfectly flat (well close) really paid off. The pool noodles worked well yet again ... this time they were used to keep the weight off the underside Clecos ... the noodles are just tall enough to keep the Clecos off the bench.

Once the top and bottom of both stabilator skins are Clecoed, it was time to begin riveting the skins to the stabilator skeleton. However, there is a row of rivets at the outboard trailing edge of each side that does not receive rivets at this time on both top and bottom of the stabilator. Later there will be small aft skins that attaches there, so those holes are to be marked for NO riveting.
                                                   Marking the holes not to be riveted with blue painters tape.
                                          Setting the first rivet of the final assembly into the spar box.
                    The riveting on one side all finished and the stabilator is ready to be flipped over to complete
                        the riveting. The noodles worked great to keep the underside Clecos off the bench.