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

Starting the Vertical Stabilizer

05-21-06
The first major sub-assembly, the Horizontal Stabilizer - is complete! Still a long way to go, but it feels good to make progress - no matter how little. Now on to the Vertical Stab. The first step is to figure out the parts. Here is the aft VS Spar and the Spar doubler.

Here are the VS parts clecoed together for the first time. I am still amazed at how precisely matched the pre-punched holes are.

And here is the finished product!!! Just kidding, the skin is clecoed on, but everything has to be drilled, dimpled, countersunk, deburred, fluted, etc, etc, etc....

The instructions give the option of "lightening" the VS assembly by cutting ligthening holes in the spar doubler. Ounces count, so I will cut the weight out wherever possible. My fly-cutter is shown here. Some folks have problems with this step. Sometimes its the measurement of the hole centers that give them problems... I had no problem in locating the hole centers. Sometimes its the cut itself. As you can see in this photo, the cut is going well.

And as you can see in this photo, the third cut is complete. However, you can also see that the fly-cutter is missing. I broke the bit halfway through the third hole. With no spares and nowhere close to buy a replacement, I went to Home Depot and bought a hole saw set. WOW. I sould have used these babys to start with! They cut through the aluminum like butter and made quick work of the remaining holes.

Here's the finished Spar doubler with all seven holes cut. It turned out very well.

And here are the VS parts after dimpling and counter-sinking. A successful end to a productive day.

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All photos by Joe Graham unless otherwise noted