Saturday, May 23, 2020

First Steps - the Horizontal Stab


It didn't take long at all for the RV-8A tail kit to arrive from Van's. I think they like to gt tail kits in the hands of fledgling builders to get the hook sunk as deep as possible. I would also posit that Van's sells a hella lot more tail kits than any of the following kits. 

Over the years, I have had countless people tell me that this blog, or one of my YouTube videos, or my scintillating personality was the biggest reason that they started a build. Van's actually asks first-time builders who influenced them to buy a kit. That person gets a $100 referral fee from Van's. 

Despite the dozens of people telling me that I was their inspiration, I had received precisely $200.

Don't get me wrong: they didn't owe me a thing, and I do not resent their decision. It was reward enough to know that my efforts with the blog had made a difference to someone's life. Maybe not always a successful difference, but it's still nice to have been involved.

Scott texted me this photo:


Well, there ya go! 

Scott has already added his name to the list of people wanting hangars, but there's no telling how long that will take. He's as eager to get started as I am, so I offered to give him some space in my hangar. The RV-12 doesn't fill the hangar, so it's not a problem at all to have a tail kit being built behind my plane. I even had workbenches back there already, but you wouldn't have known it - they were buried under piles of hangar detritus. I straightened it all up and we (I really like the "we" in this sentence!!) got busy with the first steps in the manual.


The manual is the old style, which is large pages of plans (think blueprints, but no blue) and an assembly guide that demonstrates the very essence of minimalist writing. And ambiguity.

I have been irrevocably spoiled by the RV-10, -12, and -14 style of build instructions.

The first step is to build the forward (or aft, I don't remember precisely which) spar for the horizontal stab. The large channel piece pictured below comes in two halves. We laid them out on the bench.


There are two thick aluminum doublers to be straightened/de-bowed, cleaned up, edges broken, and cleco'd into place. Scott did nearly all of that work, while I puttered around the hangar looking for things to do - I was there solely as a source of suspect advice and to help hold parts when needed. I'm not complaining - I think it is essential for him to do as much of the early work as possible. Once he gets up to speed, we can possibly start dividing the work.

It's his build - I am there to provide help and support as needed - just what I want! I want to be involved, but I absolutely do not want to be essential. He has a key to the hangar and can work whenever he wants to, with or without me.

It took a couple of hours (he is exhibiting a notable fastidiousness, and is also showing that he's a quick study  - both good things!!) to get to the point of getting the parts cleco'd together.


Obviously his brand new clecoes have not arrived yet - look at the tight formation of those copper veterans!

Check your work early and often!


The last thing we did on the first day was to final drill all of the #30 holes. That being a relatively simple task, we both enjoyed a bottle of lubrication.


His tools are scheduled to arrive later today. If/when they do, we'll start on the aft spar.

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