Friday, November 27, 2009

Mixed feelings

Certainly there is a great sense of accomplishment to be had from finishing the horizontal stab. It was, after all, the most time consuming and challenging piece yet. But as I was out in the 35 degree hangar riveting the last few pieces together, I couldn't help thinking that it was the end of an era. That era being The Era of Building an Airplane in the Comfort of My Basement. From now until February, most of the work is going to be in the hangar.

On the plus side, 35 degrees was comfortable in my Walmartts:

I'm estimating that there are close to 500 rivets in the horizontal stab, but it went quickly enough with my brother-in-law manning the Cleco pliers and placing rivets while I followed along with the pneumatic rivet puller. Still, that's a lot of rivets! I remember 35 years or so ago being jealous when my brother came home from school with a little toolbox or something that his shop class had put together as a project. It was held together with pop rivets, and I was fascinated by the whole concept of metal work and riveting. I pursued a different tack in school so I never got to take that class. Now, 35+ years and a couple of thousand rivets later, I am finally ready to proclaim myself as no longer being fascinated by pop rivets.

That said, riveting on the skins continues to be the big pay off after hours of deburring, fitting, and general shop work. It takes a week or more to get to the point of riveting on the skins, but then it's all over in one or two short sessions:

You can see why I wanted to get it done, though. This is the stab crammed into a full size SUV:

I don't think it would have even fit in the bed of a pick-up truck. The Subaru Forester never stood a chance of moving this thing. Yep, the work is going to get a lot tougher as I move into the tail cone stage!


Bob Mueller said...

Don't forget the van is available. Takes about 5 mnutes minutes to pull seats if we have to.

I own a salamander, too, if you want to go that route for heat.

DaveG said...

I've got one of those torpedo heater things. Near as I can tell, their sole purpose is to convert propane into noise. It's a relatively small one - that could be why it has never been able to make a dent in the real, REAL cold of January and February.

The van will definitely come in handy some day. I appreciate the offer!

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