Aileron is finally done (again!)

I planned to get a nice early start out at the shop this weekend.  The weather forecast called for stormy, windy weather for Saturday.  However, when I got to the airport, it was calm and clear.  So, I hopped in the RV-12 and took a couple quick turns around the airport.

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Then I settled in and started the final work on the aileron.  I had to finish riveting the nose ribs in.  The top of the nose is tightly curved.  I was able to squeeze a couple of rivets, but I had to drive some.  The bottom two rivets on each rib are pulled because the curve is way too tight to even get a bucking bar in.  Then you have to jockey the top skin into place between the spar and the nose skin.  The instructions have you clamp a piece of wood to the skin to help keep it straight.  Here, I just drilled some #40 holes and used clecos to hold the wood in place.

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The top skin is easy to rivet since you have good access to the back of the rivets.  I just started in the middle and alternated sides until it was all done.

Then the end ribs get riveted to the spar.  On one side there’s a double, so you use 4-6 rivets.  The other side uses 4-4’s.  It is too tight to squeeze.  I ended up using an offset rivet set that just barely fit in the gap.  I got everything in nice and tight with no gaps and no smiles.

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Then my buddy Carver showed up to help.  His timing was good because the bottom skin takes more time to rivet than the top (because you have to slip your arm inside to set the bucking bar each time).  Carver was on the rivet gun with the big mushroom head. I kept my arm inside with the bucking bar and inserted each rivet as Carver pulled the clecos.  It went really fast.  I made sure to remove my bucking bar before we closed up!

Carver had to leave to attend to some “honey-do” items, so I closed up the main ribs with some flush pull rivets.

Finally, it was time to pop-rivet the counterweight in place.  The rivets then get lightly rounded off with a small hammer.

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Finally, we set the wedge for the trailing edge.  These use the double-flush technique.  I lightly squeezed each rivet to set the flush head on top, then flipped it over to set the bottom shop head.  The heads filled the dimple quite nicely.

That gave me a nice trophy to hang on the wall!

I clean everything up and put my tools back in the shop cart (I like that everything has a place again).  I pulled out the first parts for the tanks.  I’ll build them side-by-side on the two benches so that I can keep the mirrored parts straight.  This way, I’ll be ready to dive back in in a couple weeks (missing next weekend because I’m on a two-day bicycle ride with my brother).  But, my wife is heading off on a ten-day trip, so I’ll be able to log a lot more time in the shop for a while!  That’s good because I’m going to pull the weak intercom out of the -12 and replace it with one integrated into a (new) radio.  I’ll also install the ADS-B out WAAS GPS and take care of a small service bulletin.

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