Saturday, November 21, 2009

Spar box done

I spent most of the day working on the RV-6 cowl. The weather today was simply gorgeous and here I am without a functional airplane to fly in it. Time to get it fixed! But that's a story for another blog.

While the epoxy that I had injected into the holes from the drilled out cowl rivets set, I went back to work on the RV-12. There wasn't much to do, really: a total of 24 rivets needed to be pulled to seal up the spar box. Being rather the over-achiever at times, I pulled 25. Oops! You can see the 25th rivet here:

It's the flush blind rivet at the top that doesn't have a '120' written next to it. That means that the hole wasn't countersunk to 120 degrees. In fact, it wasn't countersunk at all, for the very obvious reason that no rivet should have gone in that hole. Yet, anyway.

So, my first attempt to drill out a blind rivet. It's actually quite easy, but it did have the unfortunate side effect of bending down the flange that it had been riveted into. You know, a flange inside of the spar box that I had just riveted shut. And to add insult to injury, it is very likely that I will now be one rivet short in my inventory, a fact that almost certainly become painfully apparent at an extremely inconvenient time. That's just the way these things go...

Rather than drill out all of the rivets, I found that I could reach up inside one of the lightening holes in the spar box with a long, thin rod and bend the flange back into place. Hopefully I got it straight enough such that whatever rivet ends up inhabiting that hole will go through it rather than just push it out of the way. These are the loose threads from which the fabric of sleepless nights is woven when building an airplane. I'm virtually guaranteed to wake up in the demon filled hours of the night worried about that flange, with the only way of getting back to sleep being to go downstairs and look at it again to assuage my doubts that I got it bent back where it belongs.

Here's the ostensibly completed and equally restless spar box recumbent on pair of borrowed saw horses, no doubt wondering if my arthroscopic surgery has obviated the need for a far more invasive procedure:

Only time will tell. And I'm likely to have plenty of it: I got a letter from Van's yesterday telling me that I won't be seeing the fuse kit until at least Feb 1, 2010.

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