11 Sept 04 - Finishing up Aileron Brackets and Farings

The day started (quite rightly, I think) by taking a break from RV construction and practicing a few VOR approaches. (I'm working on an instrument rating.) It's September 11, after all, and flying is a good way of telling the terrorists . . . well, something rude. This was the first time I had flown (a) behind a Lycoming, and (b) anything manufactured by Piper - it was actually this Piper Warrior. Most of my previous time has been in 150s and 172s. I really like the whole wing on the bottom idea. I also like how the Lycoming engines don't require carb heat as frequently as the Continentals.

Okay, back to RV construction. Today we are going to finish putting the aileron brackets on, and put the aileron farings on. Let's see how it goes.

Left inboard aileron bracket is on.
Left outboard is half on - you can see the rivets on the right (outboard) side, and clecos on the inboard side. This is not, as we're about to discover, the ideal way to do this.
This helps keep the bucking bar where you want it - more explaining below.

Okay, let's try to explain some of that. What you don't see in the picture above is us pulling out a lot of our hair working on the outboard aileron brace. Two main things that will make this go easier:

  • Don't put all the rivets in one side, and then put all the rivets in the other side. Even if you match drill the holes, and then you rivet one side of it, the other side will not fit in like you remember drilling it. You'll have much better luck (as we did on the second wing) if you buck a rivet on one side, and then buck a rivet on the other side. I guess the rivets pull it to one side, even if you have clecos there. For some reason, it fits better when you get a few rivets in on both sides first. (In retrospect this was a "duh" but for some reason we didn't think of it ahead of time.)
  • The piece of wood is to protect the rivets that have already been bucked, as there is already a row of rivets farther towards the outboard side of the wing - it's covered up by the wood. When you're bucking the other rivets, if the bucking bar jumps around at all, it's disturbingly easy to mess up the heads of the rivets that have already been bucked. Again, we figured this out half way through so the right wing looks better than the left wing.

Both brackets in, and the faring has been riveted (squeezed) on the top. Still need to do the bottom.
Faring is completely riveted, now.
Note the numbers next to rivet holes - we'll explain this below.

You don't see more hair pulling here - again, we learned things and the first wing went smoother than the second one. On the first wing, we just started at one end and riveted down to the other end, so if you had been there, this is what you would have heard:

squeeze squeeze squeeze squeeze squeeze squeeze
(Sound of us turning over the wing.)
Set! Budda budda budda budda budda budda. Okay.
Set! Budda budda budda budda budda budda. Okay.
Set! Budda budda budda budda budda budda. Okay.
Set! Budda budda budda budda budda budda. Okay.
All the squeezed rivets went fine, because we did them first. However, by the time we got to the other rivets, we had some trouble fitting them into the holes, and a couple of them we had to redrill the holes. Darn! Why? Well, here's the moral of the story - it was the same sort of thing we learned about the aileron brackets - don't start at one corner and rivet to the other. Hence the numbers next to the rivet holes - that's the order in which we bucked 'em. So, to condense it into nice bullet points:
  • Use lots of clecos for something like this. It will help to hold the metal where you want it (somewhat).
  • Start at the middle and buck outwards, like the numbering in the previous picture. That way all the rivets will fit nicely.
We did those things on the second wing and it worked great. So a little bit of frustration, but lots of lessons learned. Good day today.

All the brackets are in as well as the farings for the ailerons. Time to call it a night!

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