Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Taking a step back: starting on the rudder

Just when you think you can't get any further to the back of the airplane, you finish the vertical stab and start on the rudder. The finishing of the stab was easy: just put in a dozen more rivets at the bottom of the spar and screw the front fairing into place:




When I trial fitted the fairing, it fit horribly. I was afraid I was looking at a long, arduous bend-twist-unbend-rebend process, but once the screws started going in it pulled itself into shape just fine. With that done, I started on the rudder. The rudder, for the most part, is just like the vertical stab but smaller. Even the early steps are familiar: cut a few parts apart with tin snips and (yes, Mr. Gray, I'm still using a hacksaw) the hacksaw. I enjoy using the hacksaw for the incongruity in it - it feels like such a bludgeon when compared to 'delicate' tools like files or more subtle tools like those used in deburring. Of course, for raw power even the hacksaw cannot compare to the pneumatic rivet puller. Rosie the Riveter would have quaked in her pumps if she had to use that monster!

Deburring went far more quickly this time around now that the ScothBrite wheel and I have become good pals. These will be riveted to the front of the rudder so a bolt can be pushed down through them and the rudder hinge thingy on the vertical stab:



Just as with the spar in the vertical stab, a couple of doublers get clamped into place, match drilled, and clecoed. These provide additional strength in the area of the rudder hinge:





In what will surely be the party trick that wows the hot chicks in whatever retirement home I eventually end up in, I have developed the ability to retrieve a cleco and squeeze it into place with one hand:

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