Rolled Left Elevator Leading Edge

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Well, today was just a barrel of rainbows and puppy dogs. Lucky me, I got to mangle the project per the directions.

It’s funny. The directions say “roll and rivet the leading edges.”


Sounds easy.

If I were writing the directions, it would go something more like this:

“1. After spending 50 man-hours carefully protecting all of the aircraft-grade aluminum from dents, scratches, and general mistreatment, duct-tape a steel rod to the inside of the leading edges and use ALL OF YOUR MIGHT to roll that sucker around. You won’t be able to make the roll anywhere close to acceptable the first time around, so be prepared to curse and fight your way by hand squeezing the two edges together to get clecos into the holes that have been so generously provided for you.  Then, rivet the two surfaces together, but only after realizing that the clamping force of the clecoes was helping everything line up, so pray that as you set the blind rivet, it will pull everything back to alignment.

2. After riveting, stand back and realize that on one of the sections, you forgot to edge-roll one edge, so there is a slight puckering between two of the rivets, but don’t worry yourself about it too much, because although it will keep you up at night, no one else will see it once the elevators are mounted to the horizontal stabilizer.

3. Stab yourself in the eye with a cleco, and then try not to bleed into the adult beverage of choice that you have now earned.”

There. Wasn’t that fun?

The outboard-most section, rolled and clecoed.

Middle section rolled. You can see how bad my roll is on the rightmost edge. (You can also see how I tape the skin to the steel bar.)

3 of 4 sections clecoed.

I took a break from rolling and installed my rod-end bearings. This tool works great. (I could have made it a lot shorter, though.)

Finally, all the leading edge rivets installed. Time for a drink.

2 stinking hours for this? 22 rivets, one (actually painless) blind rivet needed to be drilled out.

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