Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stabilator Taking Shape

Another slow but productive evening at DOG Aviation as the stabilator begins to take shape. The slow part of the evening was making sure all the stabilator ribs have rivet flanges that are 90 degrees to the web … this will assure the outer skin sits flat on the ribs.  A plastic 90 degree ruler was run up and down the flanges to make sure they were square with the web. While doing that I discovered that there were some places (mostly on the shorter ribs) where the fluting caused small raised areas that may have shown through the skin. It took a little time using a pair of flat pliers to lower the bumps slightly so the square would not lift up while dragged along the flanges.

A little piece of aluminum was used that had a countersunk hole on it to aid in bending the tabs without distorting the dimples. It sure saved my fingers from squeezing the dimples while trying to bend all the flanges square ... it also worked well with pliers.
                                             Using a square to check that the tabs are 90 degrees with the web.
                                                       The metal tab that was used to aid in bending the tabs.

Once all the rib flanges were tweaked square and the high spots caused by fluting lowered, it was time to begin riveting ribs to the aft spar of the spar box. All six ribs will be riveted in place with the pneumatic squeezer using AN470AD4-4 rivets as opposed to the LP4-3 pop rivets.  The access is very good so this was a piece of cake.
                                                   The first rib riveted onto the aft spar was the outermost rib.
                                                      Love the look of squeezed rivets.
                                                            Half way done and beginning the last three ribs.
                                               Aft spar now fully outfitted with ribs attached with solid rivets.

The stabilator just “instantly” got large and there are still more ribs to attach to the forward spar. That will be work for another day.