Flat surface

The last major hurdle in the never-ending aileron saga was to put the left aileron on a flat surface, pull the blind rivets that secure the spar bottom and skins, and squeeze the end rib rivets. When I did this before I used an old hollow-core door, tweaked it with shims until it was flat, then laid the aileron on it and weighted it down with two heavy pieces of MDF. Worked ok, but it was a little too wiggly for my taste. But where else would I find a flat surface?

Well, it turns out that we just finished having our kitchen remodeled, and those new granite countertops looked like they would fill the bill. So I pulled out the trusty SmartLevel, checked ’em, and sure enough they were flat to within 0.1 degrees in all directions. For $8,000, they damn well ought to be.

So after breakfast today I cleaned all the kitchen crap off of those countertops and turned ’em into my temporary workbench. I plopped that aileron on the bar countertop, weighted it down, ran an air hose up the stairs from the garage through the den to the kitchen, grabbed my pop-riveting tool and pneumatic squeezer, and went to work.

Dave's $8,000 workbench

Man, those countertops worked like a champ – that aileron came out with no more than 0.1 degree of twist. I did as many rivets as I could up there – enough to lock the structure in place – then finished everything else up downstairs in the shop.

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