Elevators and trim tabs almost ready for sealant

With the specialized bucking bar, it was actually quite easy to set the rear spar rivets to attach the second skin (just a bit annoying to see inside):
Second-skin rear spar rivets - not much room for a bucking bar
All rear spar rivets in place - easier than expected, albeit with minor primer damage
The hardest part with those was actually holding the rivet size gauge in there to see if they were set to the right size - measuring the height is plain impossible, and measuring the diameter requires spreading the skins apart and feeling your way to the rivet with your fingers. I was being very careful to not overset them (since I couldn't measure the height), so most of them were underset and I had to measure them multiple times.

Additionally, the outboard static wick attachment was a little annoying since it got in the way of the bucking bar, but I ended up setting those last two rivets just fine by holding the bucking bar a little sideways.

We finally had weather and time to do the last elevator primer session:
Results from the final primer session
A few days later I finally installed the static wick doubler/nutplates on the right elevator:
Riveting the static wick doublers to the right elevator
then put it together:
Putting the two skins for the right elevator together
This time, for some reason, it was significantly harder to finish the blind rivets that join the rib halves:
That rivet just wouldn't go in all the way!
so I did recruit someone with smaller hands (my wife):
Small-handed help :)
While attaching the front spar to the ribs, I was, of course, *one* rivet short (order for 40 more already placed):
ONE blind rivet short (on the right)
I also riveted the cable cover plates and screwed them in place after riveting the root ribs - it does look much nicer with flush rivets holding the bracket, and I'll probably later apply some sealant around the edges for a tighter fit (with edge deburring, there's now a tiny gap between the cover plate and the skin opening):
Cover plate secured in place, almost all skin rivets in place
I worked on the trim tabs, bent them in the brake to the right angle:
Bending the trim tabs skins with the brake
Then bent their tabs, dimpled all holes and the countersunk the top spar holes, then bent the front of the skin by 15˚:
I also attached the tip assemblies to the shear brackets:
Tip assembly attached to shear bracket
The only two steps left before sealant are riveting the trim tab spars' bottom flanges/horns to the trim tab skins and setting the tip rib rivets forward of the rear spar - those should be quick, then I'll try to do sealant on both the elevators and trim tabs in one shot.

Time lapse:


Total elevator time: 161h
Total elevator rivets: 1123

Elevators coming together

The elevators are finally coming together. I spent some time re-doing the parts where I had screwed up or changed my mind, such as the trim cable brackets, which I redid using the machined parts from iflyrv10 and flush rivets (instead of the original welded bracket with LP4-3s - so now the whole thing will be really flush):
Van's original welded bracket (left) and iflyrv10's machined version (right) - much better!
I also re-did the E-913 tip skin which I had mistakenly primed on the outside, as well as the trim tab horns. I'll have a primer session for these.

I chose the position for and attached the bonding strap attachment nutplates (inboard of the most inboard hinge doublers, matching the horizontal stabilizer, but clear of the doublers). The AN470AD3-4s I already had had just the right length for the attachment. This position requires an offset driver to screw/unscrew (since it's under the bent leading edge), but that shouldn't be a problem:
Installed bonding strap attachment nutplates on the front spars
Likewise, I chose the position for the static wick attachment nutplates (in order to get clearance from the opposite skin) and installed those with a doubler:
Outboard static wick doubler in place
Outboard static wick doubler, match-drilled and dimpled
Inboard static wick doubler, match-drilled and dimpled
Static wick doublers and nutplates installed (no hard rivets! All easily back-riveted)
Static wick attachment points on the top skin
Installed outboard static wick attachment nutplates
I started riveting the rear spar to the skins:
Rear spar riveted to both skins
I also started riveting the rib halves together, which wasn't as challenging as Van's manual make it sound - I was even able to reposition the tool easily:
Rib halves riveted together
Meanwhile, I finished bending the front spars to the correct angle (84˚), then riveted the root ribs and horns to them:
Riveted elevator horn
Riveted elevator horn
While riveting the elevator horns to the front spar, I had a misalignment problem just like others from VAF - fixed with a lot of patience and some brute force to bend the root rib into position.

Next I need to do a lot of the same for the right elevator, as well as finish the more challenging riveting on the rear spar, which requires a special bucking bar (plus, I now have the static wick nutplates on the way). As soon as weather allows I'll also have another primer session for the cover plates, tip skin and trim tab horns.

Time lapse:



Total elevator time: 133.6h
Total elevator rivets: 653

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