Morning of 24 May 04 - Day 1 at the Alexander Tech Center

The day started bright and early at 8 AM with a kit inventory and general sorting and organizing of the parts. The main instructor for the class is Jacob, and he'll be here every day. Jacob has helped builders put together over 120 (!) empennage sections for RVs as part of the program at Alexander. I suspect that if he doesn't know the answer to a question about the empennage kits, there's a pretty good chance that no one does. The other instructor that is here this week is named Mike. Mike is a head mechanic for Delta, but he's only going to be here for today and Wednesday. Today he's here to give us a lecture on how this workshop is going to work, and Wednesday he's here to help us because Jacob will be priming parts.

After the kit inventory and organization, Mike sat us down for the aforementioned lecture on the schedule for the week and how they do stuff here. Because we're going to build the whole empennage in a week (including priming everything), the order in which we do everything is a bit different than what is specified in the Van's instructions - the end result is (hopefully) the same, but the order by which we get there is modified just slightly.

On the schedule for this morning is to start working on the rear spar of the horizontal stabilizer, so let's go do that:

Beginning to inventory the parts.
Mike is labeling various bags of hardware.
Empennage skins.
Here's the workbench, it looks like we're ready to start!
Attaching the two spar reinforcers to the rear spar. That's Jacob on the left.
And now we're clecoing in the hinge brackets.
More clecoing on the rear spar.
Messing around with the brackets on the rear spar.
Match hole drilling on the center (main) hinge bracket.
Rear spar with all hinge brackets in.
More drilling on the center hinge bracket.
The whole rear spar - this is larger than I expected it to be, for some reason.
Hinge brackets clecoed together - we're about to start riveting it together.
Here's what the finished product is going to look like, but we're not quite here yet.
Riveting of the center hinge bracket.
The center hinge bracket's back on now.
Match whole drilling of the spar reinforcers to the rear spar.
Now they're all drilled and clecoed - time to go on to the front spar.
Starting work on the front spar of the horizontal stabilizer.
This is going to have to be bent, eventually. We'll do it after lunch.
Before we can do that, though, some metal needs to be snipped off. This is after it's been snipped but before it gets filed.
Here's an easy way to draw the radius for the ribs on the front spar: use a washer.
Now we're just following the lines that we drew in the last picture.
More band saw work forming parts HS-714 and HS-710.

It's time for a lunch break! After lunch we'll continue working on the front spar - we'll finally get around to bending it - and then cleco the skins on. Then, stuff starts to look like airplane parts.

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