Back to work on the right aileron

With my new-found motivation and a clear head, I went back to work on the right aileron. Today I finished up all the riveting, both the pop rivets on the spar and the solid rivets on the ribs. I torqued on the brackets and mounted the aileron on the wing. Looks great!

Right aileron on the wing!

As with the left aileron, I used the hollow-core door and some MDF to weight the aileron down as I riveted. The aileron had no measurable twist, so I must have done something right. The parts for the new left aileron have arrived, and I’ll start in on that after I make some progress on the flaps.

Flight with my friend Jim in his new RV-7

Over the last two weeks I came closer to quitting the whole project than I ever have before. If you’re the one person (either my wife or my mother, I can’t tell from the IP address) who still visits this website, you’ve noticed that I had some issues over the summer deconflicting job stress from everything going on at home. Well, I guess that wasn’t the end of my problems, because I found myself back in the same “hurry up and do something” mode when riveting this aileron together. Long story short, I screwed up a couple of things. My TC didn’t think they were a big deal, but I wasn’t happy.

So…I put the left aileron aside for a few days and had some serious discussions with Ellen. She set me straight, as she usually does, and I decided not to quit. But I did decide to build a new left aileron. I didn’t want to be reminded of of my screwups.

One thing that helped my motivation level was a flight with my friend Jim in his new RV-7. I had a work trip to Seattle and lured Jim into giving me a ride with the promise of free food and beer. So…I arrived in Seattle and headed straight for Jim’s hangar at the Auburn airport. Jim had only recently finished his 40 hour flyoff and his airplane was sans pants. Didn’t matter to me, I was psyched.

Jim Piavis's RV-7

Jim’s airplane has one of the nicest interiors you’ll see in an RV. The Classic Aero Design seats were wicked comfortable!

Jim Piavis's RV-7 interior

We took a quick hop to Chehalis, WA for gas, then bopped back up to Auburn. Jim tried out my new Lightspeed Zulu headset, he seems to like them.

Jim and Dave's headset

The sun was setting rapidy, but I managed to snap a halfway decent shot of Mt Rainier before we encountered some severe helical turbulence..that was a lot of fun!

Mt Rainier at sunset

Aside from being just plain fun, this flight was my first opportunity to get some stick time in an RV-7. It was stable, yet responsive and the visibility was absolutely awesome…it validated my decision to build a tip-up. And most importantly, it gave me the shot of motivation I needed to reengage on my own airplane. That’s just what I needed…thanks Jim!

Pulled my trusty flat surface

With the most difficult part of aileron riveting complete (or so I thought), pulled my trusty flat surface – a cheap hollow-core door from Home Depot – and set it on the bench. On top of that went the left aileron, clecoed together and weighted down by a couple of pieces of MDF. I checked the surface in several places using the digital level just to make sure that there was no twist in the aileron…and there wasn’t.

Riveting the bottom of the left aileron

Back into the ailerons

Got back into the ailerons today after doing some bits-and-pieces work on the wings. I’d previously clecoed the aileron skins, leading edge and spars/counterweights together for both ailerons and persuaded Captain John to help rivet the upper skin/leading egde/spar rivet line. Taking a cue from Chad Jensen, I attached a couple of pieces of 2″x4″ to the workbench and placed the aileron nose-down between them. A couple of small screws hold them in place. This makes it relatively easy to do the riveting, but it still works best with two persons – so Captain John came up to help.

Captain John riveting ailerons

After a couple of hours we were done and proceeded to our favorite beer-and-nacho joint, the Sunset Tap and Grill in Allston, MA.

Away on a work trip

My website updates are happening so infrequently these days that I doubt anyone still hits the site. I’ve been away on a work trip for most of the last month, acting as program manager and test director for a large DoD interoperability test event in the beautiful – but damn hot – California desert. Here are the folks and airplanes involved during a checkout flight test at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. I’m in there somewhere…

LOS/BLOS team and airplanes

Bits-and-pieces work

Took advantage of the long holiday weekend and did some more bits-and-pieces work. This time it was installing rod-ends into the pushrods and setting them to the right overall length. I also test fitted the bellcrank spacers in each bellcrank and made sure there was no binding with the bellcrank mounts. I also started fitting pitot lines in the left wing, and final-drilled the pitot tube attachment holes in the SafeAir pitot tube mast.