January 1, 2006 - May 7, 2006
1/01/06 Began working on the elevator today while I am waiting for a replacement part to arrive for the
rudder. Actually, made a lot of progress on the elevator today... already ready to back rivet the stiffeners
to the right side elevator skin. Formed all the stiffeners, match drilled them to the skin, deburred the
stiffeners and skin, sanded, dimpled and primed all the stiffeners and dimpled the skin all today. Stiffeners
are drying as I write these words. They will be ready to begin back riveting tomorrow. Whoops! I forgot...
my back rivet set was stolen when my shop was broken into. I guess I'll need to wait until my new one arrives.
1/5/06 Well... the new rivet gun and all the dies I ordered came today... except the back rivet set. It's on back order.
Hopefully I will be able to get back to work on the elevator soon....
1/19/06 Completed the 1st assembly of the right side elevator tonight. Match drilled the skin to the spar and ribs. Fitted
and drilled the counterbalance weight to the c-balance rib. Ready to disassemble and begin deburring, priming
etc... New squeezer and back rivet set are on their way as I write... FINALLY! The yoke is still on back order
though. Shouldn't be longer than a few more days I am told.
1/21/06 Finished preparing the R elevator for assembly. All parts sanded, deburred, dimpled and primed. Waiting for
the scotchbrite wheels I ordered to come so I can finish deburring the edges of the skin before assembly.
1/22/06 Began working on the left side elevator. Cut, formed and prepared all of the stiffeners for back riveting. Match
drilled the stiffeners to the L skin.
1/24/06 Prepared all stiffeners for installation. All sanded, deburred, dimpled and primed.
1/25/06 Completed back riveting the stiffeners to the skin. Completed match drilling the skeleton to the skin. Ready to
disassemble and begin final prep work before final assembly. Need to order some Pro Seal to apply to the
ends of the stiffeners at the trailing edge fold to bond them together permanently.
1/26/06 - 2/8/06 No progress to report / Project delayed due to a serious illness with a family member.
2/9/06 Finally was able to get back to work and mixed up a batch of Pro Seal then applied it to the tips of the stiffeners
in the right side elevator near the trailing edge to strengthen the fold by bonding the upper and lower
stiffeners to each other. Before I began riveting the skin to the frame, I noticed a small bow (nearly 1/4") in
the folded trailing edge of the right side elevator. I called a couple of local RV-7 builders and asked them if they
had the same problem. Strangely enough, they looked at their project and realized they did. Just a small bow,
barely enough to recognize but never the less, it was there. Looking back, I don't remember eyeballing the
folded trailing edge to see if it was straight when I match drilled it to the frame. I guess I just took it for granted
that a pre-punched skin with a partially folded trailing edge would go together without a hitch. I am going to call
Vans this week as soon as I can get some time during normal hours to see if this is a recurring issue. If there
are any RV-7 builders out there that might happen to be viewing this site, that have had a similar issue with
your aircraft, please advise via E-mail. I am figuring, if it is not an issue that Vans has seen often, I can re-drill
the skin in the counter weight rib area to accept some "oops rivets" (oversize rivets) I noticed that the holes are
off by only 1/32" and when cleko'd together while in this position, the trailing edge is perfectly straight. It
actually only affects approximately 10 rivets. I will ask Vans before I do anything more. (More delays... geeze!)
2/18/06 It's been an extremely busy week for me both at work and on a personal level. I finally got back to work on my
airplane today and was able to finish the final assembly of the right side elevator. I never was able to call Vans
during their "Builder Assistance Hours" so I went ahead and installed the "oops rivets" as I mentioned in last
weeks log entry. They did the trick. Elevator came out nice and straight. Rolled the leading edge with a 1/2"
wooden dowel rod as the instructions say to do. I thought it would make it easier to install the elevator hinge
bearings if I did it before I rolled the leading edge... NOT! The bearings are in the way when you roll the dowel
inwards towards the spar. After removing the bearings, I was able to create a nice round leading edge with
absolutely no evidence of a crease in the transition area from the flat surface area of the skin to the beginning
of the roll of the leading edge. One MORE step closer to completion of the empennage!
All that remains to be completed is the final assembly of the left side elevator and the installation of the
electric trim tab. I have already riveted the stiffeners in place and installed the trim tab servo access plate.
3/19/06 Still no progress to report. The serious illness I mentioned earlier came to an end the first week of March. A
close family member passed away and I have been away for nearly a month now. I had to cancel shipment of
the wing kit because I would have been out of town when it arrived. Now that I am finally back to work, I need to
take the next several weeks to get caught up with my business. I understand Vans makes large shipments on
a weekly basis so I plan to reschedule the wing shipment for mid-May after I return home from vacation. I
should be able to get caught up at work by then. I also need to order the electric trim tab servo mounting
brackets for the left elevator that I thought were included in the servo package. No such luck. You west coast
builders have it easy! I need to order $5 worth of parts and it will end up costing me $20 and a week delay to
have them shipped from OR to NC!!! Oh well. I can't wait to get to work on the wings when they arrive. I'll be
sure to update the website as soon as they come in. See you at Sun-N-Fun!!! Happy Flying!!!
5/1/06 The trim tab electric servo mounting brackets arrived today. Prepared them for installation and primed them
tonight. Wanted to have access behind the skin while fitting the mounting brackets to the access plate. Once
the brackets were in place, I dabbed a few "chewing gum" globs of pro seal to the ends of the stiffeners and
cleko'd the skin to the spar to hold it in place for a few days until the pro seal set up.
5/6/06 Finished riveting the skin in place (except for the trim tab hinge) and completed the leading edge roll. All I
have left to do to complete the empennage is the trim tab. I'll probably finish that tomorrow in a few hours.
5/7/06 Completed the trim tab installation... fits like a glove! C'MON WINGS!!!!!