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Joe Graham's Online RV-7 Builder's Log

Finishing the Horizontal Stabilizer

So it's now time to start final assembly of the Horizontal Stabilizer. The first step is to rivet the HS707 Nose rib into place. This rib will not be accessible after the other pieces are in place, so it is the first to be riveted.

Then all the other pieces get assembled and clecoed into position. Before you know it, this thing starts looking like a real airplane part!

The HS708 is the main rib that attaches to the HS702 Front Spar. On the other side of the 702 is the HS707 nose rib pictured above. Since the 707 was riveted into place and everything has been previously match drilled, the three holes in the 708 web and the 702 Spar match up perfectly.

However, since everything is assembled with the skin, there is no way to get a bucking bar behind the 702. So I set my first Blind rivets (Also known as "pop" rivets) for the project. These are aircraft grade blind rivets that leave a solid core when the rivet shank is pulled through. They have slightly less strength than the solid rivets used throughout this airplane, so three are used where you would normally see two solid rivets used. The end result is a good rib joint.

So I'm cranking along and I recall a conversation I had with another builder about cutting the control horn slot in the rear spar (See below). This little step is not mentioned in the builder's notes but is annotated on the plans. This is a much easier cut to make before you rivet the 609 Spar doublers to the spar. But since I missed it, I had to snip away carefully avoing the spar doublers. I didn't take a shot of the "before" but this is the "after". It turned out pretty well. At first, I had no idea now big to make the slot. So after much research, I found out that the drawing actually gives the dimension (What a concept). The slot is cut 1 inch from each side of the center seam. If you look closely at the plans below you can see a 1 next to the slot annotation. I glossed right over this initially because there is no inch or " annotation on Vans' drawings and the 1 blended in with the assembly lines. I think Vans must have left this step out of the written instructions intentionally. Makes you really scan the drawings to make sure everything is completed properly.

So here is the completed and re-primed spar slot.

After an inspection of the internal assembly, it was time to rivet the rear spar assembly into place.

I can't seem to find a picture of the finished part. I'll take one and post it here soon.

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All photos by Joe Graham unless otherwise noted