Fill’er Up

5 Oct 2016

Making some progress on putting together the fuel tanks, albeit, the progress is slow.  Most of the time, I’m swamped with other things to do – but every once in a while, I find it hard to get motivated.  I’ve been spending a lot of time training for my first marathon, so on the weekends when I’m running between 15 and 20 miles, I’m usually exhausted for the rest of the day.

Fluting the ribs for the tanks was a challenge.  Most of the ribs are twisted and it doesn’t matter how much fluting you do – they will not lay flat.  You can see this in one of the pics below.  I did a lot of reading on vansairforce and I guess at the end of the day, what is most important is that the holes in the flanges are all in a straight line.  So my method has been holding my metal ruler along the flange and when holes don’t align, I flute, then try again.  It seems to be working well.

I’ve gotten the left tank cleco’d together.  I’ll be drilling the gas filler gap in within the next day or two. I really don’t like the gas gap that Van’s supplies very much, however, there is probably a good reason why they provide it.  I’ve read horror stories about the locking gas gaps leaking… so I think I will stick with what they give me.  I will however send it out to be engraved.  I found a few companies that will engrave your tail #, along with the required FAA verbiage about the fuel capacity of the tank and the type of fuel required.

Did someone say wings?

23 September 2016

Things seem to be dragging on.  I finally finished riveting the wing leading edges together.  I ran out to Lowes to pick up a thin strip of carpeting for my wing cradles and was able to cleco the leading edges onto the wings this morning.  They are starting to look more and more like wings now.  After these get riveted on, time to start the fuel tanks!

The Calm Before the Storm

So far, the leading edges have been a nice change. They’re actually very straight forward and pretty easy. My guess is this is relief for what is coming next – fuel tanks. I need to start reading ahead to really grasp what I’m going to need to do.

I started riveting yesterday morning and I’m hoping that by the end of this weekend I’m able to attach the leading edges onto the wings.



On to Section 17

25 August 2016

Finally got the top skins on both wings complete and am able to move on to section 17.  The wings are definitely a lot of work.  And its definitely a 2-person job.  Luckily my son has gotten pretty good at using the flush rivet set while I work the bucking bar.  Everything was going well tonight and we had one slight boo-boo.  We hit a rivet without the bucking bar behind it and it put a nice dent in the skin.  Hopefully some bondo or something can be used prior to paint to make it look a little better.  Having something like this happen, especially on a skin that will be in plain sight is extremely disappointing.  But as Van’s tech support told me early on, I need to get over my OCD.

So on to Section 17 – we’re now starting on the wing leading edges.  Here is a shot of both wings sitting in my garage (while the cars sit outside)…

One wing down…

15 August 2016

… one to go – well sort of.  Chapter 16 involves getting the top skins on the wings.  I’m blown away with how long I’ve been working on both wings, yet it seems like I’ve barely put a dent in it.  I have the left wing top skin complete and am moving on to the right wing (which has already been started).  Once Chapter 16 is done – I still have quite a bit of work to do.  Leading edge, fuel tanks, ailerons and flaps.

Back riveting works well for the skins, using a 12″ long back rivet set, most of the time.  What I’ve learned (the hard way, of course) is if you can’t get the rivet set in there perfectly perpendicular, don’t do it.  There are quite a few rivets that need to be pounded from the skin-side using a flush rivet set and good ‘ol bucking bar.

Inserting a bunch of rivets and using scotch tape to hold them all in has been working really well for me.

Things have been moving a lot slower than anticipated, but I’ve been working pretty steady since returning from Oshkosh.  That trip provided some pretty decent motivation – especially seeing all the nice RV-10s that other RVers have built.

Love a girl with dimples

15 July 2016

Continue to make progress on the wings… well, at least one wing.  The build instructions start with the left wing.  I’ve been working on both, until I screwed up a rib on the left wing.  New parts are in-house.  I will get back to the left wing as soon as I have the skins on the right wing.

I also lost some time because of the SB for the wings.  I completely forgot that I had the parts here for the SB.  On the right wing I had already riveted the Aileron Bracket to the rear wing spar.  So, once again, I got some practice drilling out rivets.  This is the one time that screwing up actually saved me – the left wing does not have the aileron bracket installed yet due to the screwup on the rib.

But, progress has been made and I’m now getting ready to prime the inside surfaces of the right wing skins.  Lots of dimples means lots of riveting ahead!


More Section 14

The wings seem to be coming along nicely.  I’ve been consistently putting in an hour every morning before work since Casey gets up to go to the gym at 5:15am.  Some days I get lucky and have the ability to put in another hour after work as well.  If I could put in 2 hours every day, I’d be done in no time.  Cameron helped me a lot this weekend getting more wing stuff done, including construction of the wing cradles.  Even the animals are helping me out (or maybe just getting in the way). I’ve just about completed section 14 for the wings and should be installing the rear wing spar this weekend if everything works out.


Some wing progress

Made more progress on the wings – a little over 20 hours went in to prepping the spars.  Cameron and I spent time over the weekend trying to get all the counter sunk holes ready to go to accept the wing skins.  We also installed the tie down brackets, which had to be cut, drilled, tapped, then riveted onto the spars.

I now have some of the ribs for the left wing fluted.  I’ve been trying to work on both wings simultaneously.  After consulting a few other folks, its about time for me to start building my wing stands.  I’ve decided to “borrow” a design that Richard Williams (aka Mouser) put together and was nice enough to share on his website.  I’ll probably make a run to Lowe’s this week and pick up the required lumber to start working on this.

Electric Elevator Trim

I thought I would have moved on to the wings by now. My son and I did unpack the wings… But I haven’t even taken inventory yet. Life seems to be getting in the way pretty regularly around here and things haven’t been progressing. This morning I wrapped up the electric trim on the elevators. I even mounted everything in the tailcone, only to realize that I have to remove everything so that I can store the tailcone and horizontal stabilizer/elevator separately.

I knew keeping my old battery from the Archer would come in handy for something (aside from my engine preheater)