Sunday, July 30, 2006


If there had been any wind today it would have probably tried to fly. We attended a fellowship meal at noon today after the church services and didn't get home until almost 1:30. So it was about 2:00 by the time I got out in the garage and started the final riveting on the Horizontal Stabilizer. The pneumatic squeezer sure made it nice since I was working alone this afternoon. But it sure feels nice now to know that I've completed the first major sub-assembly on my new RV-7. I'm leaving to go back to work in Africa on Tuesday afternoon so it will be around the 1st of September before I get to start on the Vertical Stabilizer.

3.5 Hours

Total hours on project = 60

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Today I got an early start and started the front spar riveting process. I worked about an hour to get the 710 and 714 reinforcement bars attached to the front spar when my son Jim decided that we needed to go flying. He's beginning to show an interest in learning how to fly so I took some time out to give him a flying lesson. It was about 11:00 when we got back home and I continued on the project. I stopped for lunch about 1:00 and then stayed hooked up until about 6:00. Luckily for me, Jim was in for the weekend and was very helpful in bucking rivets for me. We took a supper break and then got back in the garage about 8:30 and worked until about 11:00. But we got all the skin attached to the forward spar and the ribs. I was especially glad to have Jim here and willing to help when the temperature in the garage was showing 103 degrees. Now I'll be able to finish the Horizontal Stabilizer by myself as the rest of the riveting is along the edges where I'll be able to use the new pneumatic squeezer. Hopefully I'll be able to complete that in the next couple of days since I'll be heading back to Africa on Tuesday.

8.5 Hours

Total hours on project = 56.5

Friday, July 28, 2006


I finally got started on the riveting process and have got a good start with the rear spar of the horizontal stabilizer. Yesterday, July 27th, Donna and I were going to Norman to see my son Jake and his wife April for supper and since we didn't need to be there until about 3:00 I decided to go ahead and work on the project for a while in the morning. To rivet the 609PP reinforcement bars to the 603PP rear spar the plans call for the AD470D4-6 rivets. The D4 rivets take a lot of omph with the hand squeezer and after setting a few of those I knew I needed the pneumatic squeezer with the appropriate accessories. So I stopped before I wore myself out to bad and we got ready and headed to Jake's house. It wasn't much of a detour to drop in at Brown Aviation Tools and take a look at the pneumatic rivet squeezers. From the picture you can see that I was successful in leaving with a new tool for the project. I'm glad Donna stayed in the car with the dog while I went shopping, becuase the total for what you see is $897.07.

Today I was feeling the need to aviate so I pulled out the C150 and made a trip to Ardmore to see my friend Wayne Warthen and take him to lunch. It's been awful hot around Oklahoma lately and I climbed up to 7500' to find some smooth and cool air to fly in. After lunch there was some clouds building and I went up to 8500' for the return flight in cool smooth air.

It was about 4:00 when I got back home and went out in the garage to put my new toys together. I really, really like the pneumatic squeezer. I was able to enjoy setting the rest of the rivets in the 609PP and then set the 412 and 413 hinge brackets. I also used my new torque wrench to install the 411 hinge bracket to the spar.

3 Hours

Total hours on project = 48 hours

Monday, July 24, 2006


Today we dimpled all the holes in the under-structure and the skins for the horizontal stabilizer. The spars and ribs were pretty easy and were managed with the pneumatic or hand squeezer as well as the outside edges of the skins. Donna and I wrestled with the interior holes in the skins though and it took us a while to get the hang of the DRDT-2 Dimpler. But we were persistant and got the job done. Late this evening I primed the 609-PP reinforcement bars along with the 710 and 714. At last the prep work is complete and now we're ready to start doing some riveting.

4.5 Hours

Total Hours on Project = 45

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Today I worked on the skins of the horizontal stabilizer. I deburred all the holes, front and back, and then dressed the edges all the way around.

2 Hours

Total Hours on Project = 40.5

Friday, July 21, 2006


I got out in the garage about 10:00 this morning to try and beat the heat, but it didn't work out that way too well. I got busy and did the final drilling for all the holes in the skin for the right side of the horizontal stabilizer. Once I got that done I had to disassemble all the parts and make sure they were all marked so I can get them back in the same place. The rest of the afternoon was spent deburring the holes on all the spars and ribs and making sure the edges were really smooth. It got hot again and I saw over 103 degrees before a cold front came through and it dropped back to 101.

5 Hours

Thursday, July 20, 2006


I got busy on the project about 1:00 this afternoon. I got started on the right side of the Horizontal Stabilizer and it went well though not expecially quickly. With the experienced gained from the left side I had a pretty good idea of what to do this time. I stayed busy with it until I got the skeleton completed and the skin clecoed on. The only problem with the work today was the fact that my thermometer said it was 113.2 degrees this afternoon. You can probably tell from the picture that I look kind of flushed. My timing was pretty good since Donna had supper ready when I got the tools put away about 6:00.

5 Hours

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


We made it back from our vacation to Kentucky yesterday afternoon about 4:00. Boy it sure is hot here in Oklahoma. After I got the car unloaded and everything put away I took a look at the outdoor thermometer and it was reading 110.5. I have the sensor set at 6' off the ground in the shade to try and get an accurate reading. Needless to say I didn't do much more than take a look at the RV project.

Today I got up about 7:00 and had breakfast. I left the house about 7:50 and drove out to the airport. It was time for a flying fix so I pulled out the C150 and managed to put in an hour just tooling around the local area. When I got back to the hangar I pulled the cowling off and changed the oil in the airplane. I've had real good luck with this engine since the overhaul and I think the 25 hour oil changes help. I made it back home a little after 11:00 and then got caught up in a few chores around the house.

I finally got out in the garage about 2:30 and got busy with the project. I had managed to crack the HS-404 rib when I was fluting so I had ordered a new one from Van's. So I spent a while trimming it to the appropriate shape and size and then retraced my steps in marking the holes and fluting. I was a bit more careful this time and didn't have any mishaps. Once I got it back in place I had to final drill all the remaining holes in the skin. Now I know of the monotony I've heard other builders talking about in in the drilling and moving and reclecoing. I finally got that done and then removed the skin and drilled the last holes in the 710 and 714. Did I mention that it was 109.6 on my outdoor thermometer today. That fan I've got blowing in the garage moves some air, but it's still pretty uncomfortable. Anyway, that's where I decided to leave it for today. Tomorrow I plan to get started on the right side of the Horizontal Stabilizer.

3 hours

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I got busy on the left side of the horizontal stabilizer this afternoon. I followed the directions and worked on the left side, but once I finish up with it I'll repeat the steps to do the same thing on the right side. One of the difficult tasks was to notch the aft end of the HS-404 ribs to fit around the HS-710 and HS-714. Then I got a taste of fluting to straighten the pieces so they would lay flat on a level surface. I didn't have to flute the HS-404 or HS-405 becuase you have to mark the after you put the skin on. Since you always flute between the holes you have to wait to do those. Once I choose the parts for left and right I marked them to keep them straight in the order they go. the next step was to mark the hole locations in the HS-405 on the forward side of the forward flange. When I had them measured and marked I used my center punch to keep the drill bit from wandering and then drilled the pilot holes to a #40 size. My next step was to select the HS-702, HS-603PP, HS-706, HS-707, and HS-708 and cleco them together. Then I drilled the spar attach holes to #30 except for the HS-708 to the HS-603PP. Then I got to take it apart and deburr the holes and clean out chips and the re-cleco it back together. Then it was kind of fun as I cleco'd the skin (HS-601PP) to the skeleton. With the skin on the next step was to slip the HS-404 and 405 ribs in place and mark the hole locations using the holes in the skin as a guide. Once I had those hole locations marked I pulled the 404 and 405 back out and did the fluting. Then I marked a centerline on the flanges of both 404 and 405. Then I put the HS-404 and HS-405 back in the skin and used the cleco clamps to hold them in place. With the ribs secured with clamps I drilled the the aft flane fo HS-405 to HS-603 and cleco'd it secure. After taking it apart and cleaning out chips and deburring again, I put it together. Seems like there's a lot of putting togther and taking apart as we go through these steps. With it all back together and securly clamped again, I was able to drill the holes in the HS-405 by using the pre-punched holes in the HS-601PP as a guide. I thought the next step was going to be pretty difficult but it went pretty quick and easy. With everything clamped and held tight I used my side angle drill attachment to drill the four holes in the HS-405, HS-702, HS-710 and HS-714 and the aft flange of the HS-404. There was a note to t=use caution when drilling due to the spacing on the HS-404. You have to have a minimal didtance of 1.5 of a rivit shank size for it to work properly. But I paid attention and it worked out perfect. That's where I left it for today. the next step will be to match drill all the remaining holes. Then I can do the right side.

7 Hours

Back from Africa

It's hard to get much done on an airplane project when you're at work and that's where I've been for the last 30 days. I work a 28 day on/off schedule in Chad Africa as the Wellwork Supervisor for the Production Wellwork Organization. My last day to work was on July the 5th and then I had over 18 hours of flight time between Kome, N'Djamena, Paris, Houston and finally to Oklahoma City. My flgiht arrived at 5:37 pm on July the 6th and Donna was at the airport to pick me up. All day Friday was a rest up and get used to being back home day so there wasn't anything happening on the airplane. I did grill some steaks outside and they sure were good. I don't think I can buy a steak any better than I can cook right here at home. I was back to normal by Saturday morning though I still woke up pretty early and couldn't get back to sleep. I got up and had some breakfast and then went on out to the airport to check on my C150. I pulled it out and flew over to Elk City to have coffee at the airport there. I visited for a while with Scott Frye who is the IA that works over there. He's the one that overhauled the engine on the C150 for me back in 2002. When I told him about the RV-7 project he gave me a lot of tools that he though I could use. Mostly some side-clamp clecos and a long reach microstop with a #40 countersink bit. He also had some debrurring bits he let me have. When I made ti back home I had to take care of some bills and looked through the mail. Then I got out in the garage and got started on the project.