Saturday March 3, 2007
Left Elevator Tab Bending, Servo, Riveting (Left Elevator)
4.5 Hours

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The left elevator of an RV-7 has a "cut out" where the trim tab will fit later. The long edge has a mini-spar that will eventually get riveted to the trim tab hinge. The short edge, which you see in the picture below, has little tabs that you fold inwards over each other to form a flat edge. My dad and I fabricated the bending blocks for this the other night and while he was over at my place today, we bent the tabs. I think it came out pretty well. I can already tell that the edge isn't perfectly straight--the aft edge is a little further inboard than the forward edge, but I doubt it will be a significant issue. Many builders end up cutting these tabs off and fabricating a rib for this area, but I don't see a problem with my bent tabs.

I won't really get an idea of how good the bend was until I fit the trim tab to the elevator and can see the actual gap.

Next, my dad helped me take a look at the mounting hardware for the trim tab servo. We measured the plan dimensions for these servo motor mounting brackets and found, as it seems many other builders have, that the measurements are slightly off. Anyway, we drilled the mounting brackets to the access plate and I think it came out fairly well. One thing is for sure: the motor is better aligned than it would have been with the Vans dimensions.

Here's the motor clecoed to the brackets. We had also installed some of the hardware onto the end of the motor. We tried operating the motor with a little 9 volt battery and got it to move back and forth a bit before the battery was depleted.

Next, I started riveting the left elevator skeleton together. These are the E-703 and E-704 counterweight ribs.

Here, I'm riveting the attach point reinforcement plates and the nut plates for the eye bolts to the spar.

The E-705 end rib riveted to the E-702 spar with AN426AD3 flush rivets. On the right elevator I countersunk those holes per the instructions, but I've read that a lot of builders dimple them. I like dimpling better, where I can, so I dimpled these for the left elevator.

I also riveted the control horn to the skeleton and primed the servo motor attach brackets.

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