May 30, 2010

Mounting the Horizontal Stabilizer - 5.0 Hrs.

This is a big day! I've been waiting for it and looking over the plans for some time now. It's pretty exciting when you get to put some big parts on the airplane that have been sitting in storage for a long time. My dad called me up and wanted to know if I was working on the project and if he could help me. Yes! Just the extra pair of hands I've been looking for.

The only real prep work involved was making a couple of shims that go under the front spar of the HS and sit on the deck of the aft fuselage. I had those prepared before my dad came over. He helped me shift some things around in my shop so it would all fit in here. The "wingspan" of the HS is about 9 feet, so it pays to think ahead if you have limited space. We had to move the fuselage around a little bit and clear some stuff out of the shop.

The first task is to drill the elevator horns for the bolt that holds the pushrod in place. Dad helped me lift the HS out of it's storage cradle and set it on my small workbench upside down.

These wood clamps are perfect for clamping the elevators in neutral position

With the HS upside down, the elevator horns are sticking up for easy access. You start by drilling a pilot hole in the aftmost horn at the spot noted in the plans. Then you carefully measure the distance between the horns and make a drill block exactly that thickness. I used this piece of wood. Drill a pilot hole through it on the drill press for a perfect 90° angle. Then you clamp it in between the horns, and drill through the pilot hole to drill the second horn. Enlarge the holes to #12 for the AN3 bolt that goes through it, and you're done.

After placing the HS on the aft deck of the fuse, we spent the rest of our time very, and I mean VERY carefully measuring and positioning the HS in place. You triangulate and measure both sides to make sure it's straight. I double-checked and triple-checked everything before finally drilling the front spar to the fuselage.

Wow! I can't believe how cool this looks. Just for fun, I pushed the fiberglass tips back on and hooked up the pushtube to the elevator horns. What a great feeling, to grab the stick in the cabin and work the elevators up and down! I still need to drill the rear spar to the upright stiffeners, though. I want to study the issue of how to make sure the angle of incidence is exactly 0° before proceeding, and make sure it's done right.

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Contact me: swayze "at" europa.com (replace "at" with the @ sign... no spaces... you know the deal)