Starting on the Vertical Stabilizer

I’ve set the horizontal stabilizer aside while I work on my priming table. I’ll provide more detail about how I’m doing that in a later post. In order to keep making progress, I’ve begun work on the vertical stabilizer. Having done the work on the horizontal stabilizer, the learning curve on the vertical stabilizer is much easier.

The work starts with assembling the rear spar:

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Like with the horizontal stabilizer, the rear spar is an aluminum spar channel (one this time) with a beefy reinforcement bar and hinge brackets for the rudder. All of the rivet holes need to be drilled to final size.

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The skeleton parts (spars and ribs) are laid out, prepared, and assembled with clecos:

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Once assembled, the holes are drilled to final size.  It is now time to cleco the skin to the skeleton:

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This can be a one person job, but it’s much easier with some help. This time my son Micah jumped in to help wrangle the skin onto the skeleton and set the clecos to hold it all together:

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Here’s what it looks like when all the holes are aligned and it’s in its final shape:

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The interior of the unit looks neat through the lightening holes:

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Once the whole stabilizer is assembled with the skin on, all of the skin-rivet holes must then be drilled to final size. There are a couple of holes in the forward part of the upper rib that are not pre-drilled and must be match-drilled at this time.

After completing the drilling, everything gets taken back apart and all of the drilled holes will be deburred and cleaned up for dimpling. Once again, I’m going to need to start priming the parts so they can be assembled for good with rivets.

It’s come to my attention that some readers would like more background information about this project and what exactly a Van’s RV-7 is. I will plan to post some more general information on an “about” page in the blog (once I figure out how to do that).

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