With the ribs for the ailerons prepared, time for me to complete and rivet the ribs and the skins to make a complete Aileron.
The instruction manual on the Aileron is still a bit light, so I first had to figure out the order of things. After first doing it wrong and placing the balance tube in first, I realized that this doesn’t allow to place the ribs. So back out with tube, and in with the ribs first.
After I aligned all the ribs I inserted the balance tube and lined it up with the rivet holes. Then I clecoed both sides to start riveting the top and bottom of the skins.
After I was done with riveting the top and bottom of the skins, I took off the clecos from the front and did a test fit on the wings to check the alignment.
Everything looks good, so I clecoed the front line again and started riveting to finish the Aileron.
Time to finish off the external control surfaces with the Aileron. I already primed them a while back, so time to assemble the ribs.
First order of business was sorting the ribs between left and right aileron. Then I checked off all the hardware needed. I already knew from my earlier investigating that the AN bolts for this is in the finishing kit, and the eyebolts are attached to the control rods.
After laying them out, I started riveting the control brackets using the 4.8 mm rivets.
Then for rib 7 I laid out both brackets. The instructions are missing details about this rib, but it was easy to figure out that it uses the remaining 4.8 mm rivets (24 total per the part list, 9 are used for bracket 1, and counting out the holes of bracket 2 and 3, it comes to 24). I also noticed that one bracket slightly overlaps the other, which means that first I had to fully rivet the bracket 3:
With this completed, I then riveted the hinge bracket 2.
The final rib that needs preparation is the assembly of the Eyebolt attachment that controls the movement of the aileron. I put it all together and then torqued it and placed some torque marker on it.
Then I repeated everything for the left Aileron ribs. Next step will be to lay all the ribs into the skins and rivet it closed.
There was only one extra part I had to do for 3 of the rivets that were on the bottom edge. In order for them to fit correctly, I had to shorten the rivets so they wouldn’t protrude out.
Aside from that, I just went to town and pulled the rest of the few hundred rivets.
The last part on the riveting side was the front lip.
One of the holes on the lip has to be enlarged to fit a grommet for the wiring for the Elevator Trim Tab. I enlarged the hole using my step drill bit and then installed a snap bushing.
The last part was to install the center balance counterweight. I did some test fitting with this, but the AN3-13A bolts that one of the versions of the manual that I have mentioned are too short, so I’ll check with the factory on the proper length.
With that being said, the general assembly of the Elevator is completed:
Timelapse of the complete construction of the Elevator
With the Elevator construction completed, I’ve also finished my video timelapse of the process:
First order of business for the Elevator skin was inspecting all edges and holes and there were a few edges that needed some deburring action.
After deburring everything that needed attention, we wrapped the skins around the rib structure. Since the Elevator is a pretty big part, it was very helpful to have a second pair of hands for this.
The last thing I had to do before I can start on closing up the skin is to install the backing plate for the Trim motor inspection plate. The plans call for 1/8 rivets, but the holes were actually 3/32, so I had to first up-drill them. There’s also another small error in the plan, in that it says to rivet all 8 holes, but actually only 7 should be riveted, since the top hole is for the screw that holds the inspection plate in place.
Time to finish off the Empennage and get the Elevator structure going. I received the replacement ribs that are bent just that little bit more in order to properly align with the reinforcement plates and skins and went to work to drill out the bad ribs and put in the replacements.
After that, I went to work and torqued the bolts that connect the control rod and counterweight to the Elevator. There’s also a small support bracket that reinforces the center rib to spar attachment, which is a pretty tight fit, so I had to get out the manual hand riveter.
My brother is currently visiting and is enjoying the riveting experience.
Once the center ribs were finished, we moved on to put the rest of the rib structure in place.
After that I realized there’s a mistake in the plans as they instruct to rivet the edges that hold some of the side counterweights on, but there’s another small end rib that actually has to go on there as I found out after I checked the overall plan for the Elevator. Quickly drilled out the rivets and riveted on the part. A nice trick I learned from another builder for drilling out the rivets without damaging the holes they go through, is to only drill out the top of the rivet (the donut ring) and then use the center punch to push out the back of the rivet. This way you have less chance of enlarging the hole.
With the rib structure in place, time to work on fitting the skin.
With the ribs for the Flaps out of the way, I am ready to finish the flaps. First order of business is to ensure that I have the ribs all in the right order.
Once that was figured out, I first clecoed the ribs in place to the bottom of the skins and then closed up the skins and clecoed the top as well.
After checking that everything is aligning properly with the skins, I started riveting the skin. The top side is pretty straightforward. For the bottom side, there are a couple of tight spots next to the hinges, so the close quarter rivet wedge came in handy for a couple of the rivets.
With the right side Flap finished and closed up, I then repeated it all for the left side Flap. There was also a couple of the edges where the hinges sit that needed a bit of deburring attention.
After I finished the top skins, I did one quick alignment test fit on the wings and everything looked good, so then I finished up both sides by riveting the front rivet lane that closes the skin against the other side.
Final alignment check
Once I finished all the riveting, I did one final test fit onto the wings. I used a bit of mason string and my laser level and everything is looking good. Now onto finishing the Elevator.
With the priming of the Flaps ribs out of the way, I got started riveting the Flaps. First order of business was laying out all the ribs in the correct order.
After laying out the ribs in the correct order, I started laying out the right hinges to go with each rib. There is one interesting rib that needs to be riveted in two steps as one part goes on top of the other:
Once I figured all of that out of the right side Flaps, I repeated the steps for the left side Flaps:
I received the missing rivets for the assembly the other day, so now I was able to finish the riveting all of the hinges to the ribs to actually complete the flaps.
With the wiring finished and the Antenna fitting done, I am now finally able to close up the Vertical Stabilizer and rivet the skin.
To begin, I closed up the left side of the skin and held it in place with clecos, since this is the side where the Antenna slides through the enlarged rivet hole, while on the right side I had to create the custom notch so that I can pull the skin around the Antenna.
Once that was done, I riveted on the support plate for the Antenna onto the top rib of the Vertical Stabilizer.
Now that the structure is complete, time to mount the Antenna permanently in place. Using two 20mm long M4 screws, washers and Nyloc nuts and some medium strength threadlocker I mounted the Antenna in place. Here’s the Antenna mounted in place and the wire connected to the Antenna using the BNC connector I crimped onto the wire.
Riveting the skin
With all the prep work finished, I closed up the right side of the skin, made sure everything fits correctly and clecoed it in place. There are two holes on the bottom on each side that are not riveted, but instead I have to install Rivnuts in them, so I marked out those holes, so I don’t accidentally rivet them.
There were two rivets that I had to shorten in order for them to fit flush near the Antenna. So I made a small template for the dept through a piece of wood and then shortened them accordingly.
After that, it was just a matter of pulling the many rivets on both sides of the skin to close the Vertical Stabilizer up for good.
The last part was to install the two rivnuts on the bottom on each side, so after enlarging the holes using my step drill and reaming them out using my hand reamer, I got out my rivnut puller and high strength loctite and put those in place.
With the Vertical Stabilizer completed, I then did a quick test fit and mounted it on top of the Fuselage and also attached the Rudder for a moment – almost looks like an airplane.
After finishing attaching the rivnuts to the rear spar parts the other day, I put everything together and did a brief test fit with the Fuselage where it attaches into.
After putting together the rear spar, I also enlarged the holes in the spar so that the M4 screws can actually be screwed in and enlarged the bottom two holes so that the bottom rivnuts sit flush with the spar. ,
Looked all good, so onto riveting together the inner structure of the Vertical Stabilizer.
I also enlarged the holes for the wiring and added snap bushings since the inside won’t be accessible once it’s closed up and the snap bushings have a better durability than rubber grommets.
There was one spot on the rear spar where one rivet was very close to one of the rivnuts and I had to use my manual hand rivet gun to pull the rivet as the head of the Milwaukee was too large to get in there.
Completed inner structure of the Vertical Stabilizer: