Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My 1st Anniversary

October 14th was the one year anniversary of my first actual work on the building of N284DG. And I missed it.

Typical man.

I made up for it tonight by finally finishing page 23-06. It took eighteen days, and note that page 23-06 does not include the bending of the longerons, but did include the painting of the interior. And, truth be told, a whole lot of those eighteen days were days when I didn't even go out to the hangar, much less work on the airplane. And yes, a few of them were spent correcting mistakes. Still... eighteen days, one page.

As I mentioned, those eighteen days of off and on labor culminated in finally having both fuselage side skins riveted on. The right side skin went on a couple of nights ago when I was able to farm out some of the work to the effervescent and ever-vacillating Jack the Sailor, a prospective RV-12 builder that is currently in the "can I really do this" and "do I really want to" phases and has been for weeks. Been there, done that. I figured pulling a few rivets would help convince him that anyone can build one of these things, but he's sharper than that. He quickly realized that the riveting is the east part; the hard part is getting all of the pieces prepared and assemble prior to riveting. Still, he got some good experience and that can only help with his decision making.

I started him out by having him install ten nutplates. Sure, I know what you're thinking, and you're right. I am sick and tired of installing nutplates and I was more than happy to foist off that job, but pragmatism rises to make my defense: if you can't install nutplates, you ain't building an RV. It was a good exercise. It helped that I had everything pre-dimpled and all Jack had to do was cleco and rivet, but those are fundamental skills and you have to start somewhere.

He only decapitated two out of twenty of those daggone irritating mandrels, which beats my best record of three out of twenty. Those don't bother me as much as they used to now that I know I can just tap them through with a hammer rather than cut them off and file down the stub.

While Jack was doing that, I busied myself with hanging the other side skin on and prepping it with don't-rivet-here clecos.

This was the second try with these three. I originally had the line of clecos starting in the set of three holes further forward. I was doing the right side skin, but the left side is the one shown in the drawing. I think from now on I will work on the side that is depicted in the manual and then transpose to the other side. Less mistakes that way, I would imagine.

As we all know, I am by my very nature a supremely generous individual, so it should come as no surprise that I let Jack do the majority of the riveting. I like to think that anyone would have been as charitable in this situation, but probably not. I'm a saint among men, I am.

While Jack was riveting, I happened to notice this little tab under the longeron. That's the one on the left - I checked it because I felt springy resistance when clecoing that hole on the right side. I recognize that feeling as a tab that is being pushed down by a cleco. It was. I fixed the alignment on the right side and checked to make sure the left was okay too. It was.

Jack's out of town now so I had to was lucky enough to be able to rivet on the left side skin by myself tonight. It sure takes a lot longer to do alone!

And that's the end of page 23-06!

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