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
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
Setting the first rivet of the final assembly into the spar
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.