Riveting the Control Torque Tubes in Place, Fitting Luggage Inspection Hatches and Parachute Rocket Skin
One of the more taxing exercises I’ve had on the project so far is getting the control rods to move smoothly.
The vesconite bushings are a perfect fit on the control torque tubes, but when placed in the aluminum ribs and there a slight misalignment or misshaped curve, the result is a binded bushing. Which can be hard to find.
I spent quite a bit of time using a flap sanding wheel to trim down the ribs to get a nice fit on the bushings. Then when in place with the brackets I had to find the rib that was slightly misaligned and sanded down the bushing a bit to get it unbinded.
Once that was done, riveted the brackets in place and tested everything out.. minimal friction!
After that was done, I decided to put the luggage floor Rivnuts in place and test fit the covers. Perfect fit!
The factory initially included 2 right flaps in my kit due to some mislabeling. They were able to ship me that along with some other small parts that were missing.
Kinda fun to rivet something again, oddly enough. The flap went together within an hour since I already had the ribs prepared and I knew what I was doing.
Once that was done I fit it to the wing along with the aileron I had already done, except for the riveting leading edge. I made sure they alignment was good and riveted the leading edge of the flap while on the wing.
From there, I checked alignment with the aileron and the wing tip. It required some maneuvering.
I put in one rivet in the center of the leading edge of the aileron and checked again. Made another adjustment, added a rivet, made another adjustment.. getting harder now. And placed the third rivet in. Now it was pretty much secure and aligned! Went ahead and did the rest and it turned out great.
From there I connected the pushrods to the aileron and flaps, bolted, applied blue loctite and torqued.
On to other things!
With the goal of clearing some inventory from the shelves, I picked up some components that were relatively quick to install.
The flap actuator is held on by two bolts, so I placed it in there and temporarily secured it.
I am having some friction issues on the control tubes while secured in the frame.. will need to trim the brackets that hold the bushings a bit to make them move without much effort. Saving that exercise for another day.
For the heater, I measured and drilled the mounting rivnut locations. Since I was drilling through the firewall, I measured and checked at least 5 times! Didn’t want an errant hole to plug up..
Drilling the 32mm hole for the bushings was made easy with a metric step drill bit I found on Amazon.
Once done I just pulled the hoses through and secured the hose connector with some hose clamps.
From there, I moved on to the front seat rails. Only a few components there, so I secured in place with clecos.
I’ll be getting the missing rudder pedal bolts from Aircraft Spruce tomorrow, so I figure I cleco them in place. I’ll connect the pushrods and rudder cables as soon as the bolts arrive.
With the help of the wife, I was able to move the wing to the table.
The garage is starting to feel like a game of Tetris as the space is a bit limited. Not the biggest deal, but I am sure looking forward to moving to a bigger house next year in Colorado.
The flaps and ailerons went on easily. I checked the alignment and had no major issues since I kept the leading edge unriveted. Once I felt the alignment was good, I placed the rivets in and started popping them from the center of the flap/aileron outward to avoid any inadvertent twisting.
The Ailerons did have a slight twist toward the tip of the wing, so I had to de-rivet the leading edge.
Jean suggested to line up the Aileron on the wing, then rivet each hole one by one and check alignment on the way.
I also placed the pushrods in the wing and secured them with the bolts. I then tested the maneuverability of the components and the flaps had no issue.
The Aileron, however, seemed to catch at the end of the wingtip where the brackets rub against the rivets. Looking at either bending the brackets or adding spacers.
I then test fit the wing tip and discovered the form factor was narrower than the wing’s thickness.
Not knowing any good tricks for expanding the fiberglass tip to the form and allow for match drilling/riveting, I reached out to Jean and he recommended a great idea.
Grab a styrofoam block and press it against the end of the wing to get the outline. Then, cut out the foam and glue it in place in the fiberglass wing tip to get the right form.
Ill be able to drill and rivet once the fiberglass tip is lined up with the metal.
Since I was blocked on the Ailerons from the missing bolt, I decided to turn the page to the next item - the flaps.
As I laid everything out, I finally had all the parts for the ribs, bolts, etc.
However, it looks like I received two of the right side flap skins. Doh!
I put in an order for the left side flap skin with the factory. They are estimating a shipment to come in at the end of the month. At least I can press forward with the left side and get the ribs all done for both.
I cleaned, scuffed and primed the ribs and skin and started assembling the parts. Most of the flap ribs were pretty straight forward.
However, there was one rib that had a 2 step process - there is an overlapping design that would make the rivet holes inaccessible if done all in one step.
Once I figured that out, things were quite smooth.
I fitted the ribs in the skins, cleco'd, temporarily fitted to the wing and checked alignment.
Everything seemed to be in order, so I started riveting the skins to the ribs, leaving the leading edge unriveted per instructions for the final alignment check.
There was an issue with riveting the flap skin, it seems one of the brackets was blocking the rivet. I had to shorten the rivet to get it in.
As soon as I get the other flap skin and the missing bolts for the Ailerons, I'll fit everything on the wing and do the final alignment check with all the parts.