Horizontal Stabilizer Done!

Day 51 – Horizontal Stabilizer Complete

Although I am calling this “Day 51”, it was actually a couple weeks of an hour here and there with a couple marathon build days. The goal was to get this thing OFF the table and get some garage space back. I have not had much time to build, but this year I retired from programming and decided to go full steam ahead on starting a new career as a pilot. On a mild December evening, I did it… I finished the horizontal stabilizer!

In this past month I took some time to experiment a bit with different rivet sets. Up till now I have been using the Cleveland Tools 1″ mushroom set for setting flush head rivets. I typically put a bit of blue painters tape on the head of it to reduce scratching of the aluminum skin around the rivet head. This works great, but the tape needs to be removed and replaced once in a while. My mechanic warned me that the tape can ALSO cause the rivet to not set properly, so I begrudgingly removed the tape and tried using the flush set as it came. The results were good, but there is SOME scratching. Other more experienced builders have told me to just ignore that as it will be painted. This is the plan.

I also experimented a bit with a flat rivet set that I got last year at Oshkosh (EAA Air Venture). It has a little rubber grommet that is supposed to help reduce scratching.

The flat set did a decent job and I think it’s just a matter of what you are used to. The challenge with it is it is a bit LESS forgiving in how you hold it since being a little bit crooked will result in a pretty big ding in the skin (don’t ask LOL). After all the experimenting, I decided to keep going with the mushroom set with no tape.

In the end, I have another completed airplane part, and a long way to go. This will likely be my last build entry for a while as I am starting a new job as a medevac pilot with Perimeter Aviation in Winnipeg. In my off-time, I will be studying to write my airline transport exams, and staying proficient on the Metroliner. When I get back to building, I will start on the elevator!