Backwards to move forward…

I have a bit of “build debt” to pay off now that the shop is done.  The trailing edge on the right elevator was not great, so I started working on it last week.  I also needed to mount the counterweights in the elevator horns.  I also need to pull a couple of rivets in the vertical stabilizer to smooth a rough edge.  Oh, and the left aileron I built is garbage.  I started removing a lot of rivets.  My neighbor (ex Air Force crew chief) suggested using a very sharp #40 bit.  It worked really well.  I started a lot of the holes by hand to be sure I had a well centered hole.

I pulled a few rivets and re-squeezed better ones.  My buddy Ernie stopped by later and suggested that I could sand down high rivet tops and then I showed him this picture to show why I was resetting them.


With a head that high, trimming the rivet head would leave nothing holding the sheets together.  I ended up with a big pile of removed rivets.  I think I need to re-redo a couple of the rivets still, but the elevator is much improved.

So, I started working on the counter-weights.  The last time, I mis-cut the slabs because I forgot to orient the holes correctly.  This time, I wouldn’t make that mistake again!  And indeed I didn’t.  I made a new mistake.  You need to trim part of the back side of two of the weights so that it fits in the narrow part of the horn.  I removed three back sides.  So, once more, I’ll be ordering some new parts from Van’s.

I started deconstructing the left aileron.  When I was assembling it in my basement last year, I forgot to rivet part of the nose skin to a nose rib.  I tried reaching through skins to rivet it late, but all I did was horribly bang up the nose.  So I started pulling it apart.

It looks like I can salvage the nose ribs and main ribs, but I’ll replace the spar and skins.

The battery in the RV-12 was run down during a failed Dynon Skyview update.  The device said not to interrupt the update, so I let it go for a while on the main battery and even more time on the backup battery.  When I tried to start the plane when I came out with some co-workers mid-week, there was no juice left, so I got a battery charger to top it off.  Ernie said that was a good idea in any case since the weak voltage regulator on the -12 tends to blow under heavy draw (like recharging the battery).  So I pulled the cowl and charged it up.  While the charger was providing current, I tried the update again  This time it finished in a couple minutes.  The charger I bought had a ring mounting adaptor cable, so, when the charging was complete, I mounted that and routed the plug over to the oil door.  Now, I’ll be able to charge up the battery without pulling the cowl.  That will also be good for playing around with or updating the Skyview.

2017-03-25 09.33.59-1

My wife and son came out in the late afternoon to visit.  Ryan wanted to fly (my wife just came out for some Texas BBQ).  We got a chance to test out the canopy latch I installed last week.  I really like it.  We did a trip around the pattern to a full stop and then headed out off airport for the first time.  I’m definitely feeling more comfortable in the plane and my landings are still going well.  I really need more practice with the Skyview though.  I couldn’t remember how to load up a Direct-To route. I was planning on testing it to get me back to the airport.  I knew I could return with pilotage, but wanted to practice the button mashing and knob twisting.  Clearly, I need some more time hangar flying it.  In any case, it was a pretty easy return flight.  I did like that the Skyview called out traffic and indicated towers along the route (lots of towers between Houston and Galveston!).  Ryan was smiling after the trip.

Next week, my buddy Carver returns and we’ll get started on the fuel tanks.  Once I get the replacement parts, I’ll rebuild the aileron and complete the elevators as well.



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