After about 48 hours of labor spanning 7 weeks, the Rudder is now completed! Well, not entirely. The fiberglass tips are missing, but they get installed later in the build. It was a really challenging sub-assembly requiring some unique techniques. Though I was able to practice those techniques, it’s still takes a ton of nerve when doing it for “real”. I’ve been sticking with the philosophy of only priming parts that are not al-clad.
In the middle of the assembly, I was frustrated with how some parts looked and paused to have Adam Silverstein, a fantastic EAA Tech Counselor, come and take a look. He gave the workmanship a big thumbs-up and it was really the validation I needed to ensure I was on the right path. After his visit, I tackled the trailing and leading edges that required those unique methods to complete.
Attaching the two skins, stiffener by stiffener, by rolling them together while attaching. Anna was a big help holding the skin as it progressed.
Anna helping prepare the leading edge for riveting
Using an angled aluminum bracket to keep the trailing edge straight while the 3M adhesive sets and before riveting
Adding the lead counterweight to the top of the rudder
Adding the bottom rib. The last three rivets were tricky as I did one step out of order. Called Van’s and they confirmed it was entirely ok to use a specific blind rivet in those spots.
Top rib completed
Completed riveting the trailing edge
Using various sized (large) dowels to roll the leading edges. Very nerve-racking!
Both sides of the leading edge are rolled, and ready for rivets
Leading edge completed. I left the tape on for 24 hours to help the aluminum with its final shape
Taylor hanging out and providing moral support
Rudder completed. The very end of the leading edge’s roll is slightly off, but not of consequence
All done! For now.
So strange to see 48 hours of work in less than 4 minutes:
Onto the Horizontal Stabilizer!