Sat Aug 26 2006

Trim tab issues

After the left elevator was done, I installed the trim tab. There were several issues which I was unhappy with about this. Firstly, the bottom surface of the elevator wasn't flat. The Z spar at the forward edge of the trim tab was bent in such a way that it bowed the skin. I took it into work and tweaked it a little on the press-brake, but couldn't completely fix the problem. Also, when I was squeezing the rivets that attached the hinge to the trim tab, I bent a couple of the hinge eyes. I was able to straighten them out pretty well, but the hing pin would no longer just glide right in.

Here you can see that when I folded over the tabs on the sides of the trim tab, they didn't exactly line up. It seems like the bend in the trailing edge of the trim tab is off by about 1/16". I dunno if I did that or if it came from Van's like that or what. I e-mailed these pics to Van's and they said it was fine, but I wasn't happy with it. Another problem is that when I aligned the trailing edges of the the trim tab and the elevator, that left about 1/4" gap at the hinge joint. The gap itself wasn't a problem, but it meant that the rivet holes were very close to the edge of the hinge flanges...basically at minimum edge distance all the way down. I assembled it this way, but because the hinge is made of some softer aluminum, the edge of the hinge flange bulged out slightly at every rivet. All in all, I decided it wasn't acceptable and redid the whole thing. The second version isn't perfect either, but it's definitely better.