Fri Apr 23 2010

HS front spar doublers and pitch servo mounting

This morning I called Vans and spoke to them about the poor edge distance on the left side of the front spar. They suggested I could add a doubler over the top of this flange and use a longer bolt. I had already been thinking about doing this, so I agreed it was a good plan.

Here's the edge distance on the right side of the HS front spar. Looks better.

So I took a bit of time to fabricate a couple doublers. Why two when only the left side has bad edge distance? Well my sense of symmetry just isn't gonna let me add a doubler on just one side. Besides, with doublers on both sides, I can claim that it's supposed to be that way. If I only did one side, there would be no denying it was a boo-boo. :-)

Here's how the doubler will attach to the front spar. Simple enough. I just need to get these parts primed and rivet them on.

I also fabricated another 0.016 thick shim for under the left side of the HS front spar.

After cleaning drill shavings out of the aft fuselage and taping up the bay just behind the baggage bulkhead, I started working on getting the TruTrak elevator servo mounted. I broke out the supplied bracket and deburred it.

The elevator servo plans (although rather sparse on instructions) indicate that the bracket needs to be riveted to the bottom center rib. This means I'll need to drill out several rivets and re-use those rivet holes to attach the bracket. Since I'll be drilling out universal head rivets, I thought I would try a trick recently published in Sport Aviation. I made a little block of aluminum, drilled a 3/32 inch hole through, and countersunk it just enough that it would center on the head of a rivet. Then just drill through the back side and the drill bit should be centered on the rivet head. Why are there two countersunk holes in this piece? Well the hole on the left was my first attempt, but I accidentally countersunk it too much, so that one won't work. The countersink depth on the right hole came out just right.

It didn't take long to get these four rivets drilled out. I also transferred the holes to the bracket, but then stopped to do some research. See, there are several things which are unclear to me on the plans:

  1. The plans show the bottom (angled) flange of the bracket nesting with and riveted with the bottom flange of the center rib and the skin, but the bottom flange of my center rib goes to the left side of the fuselage rather than the right side. Is that a problem?

  2. Does the bottom flange really need to be riveted to the skin?

  3. If not, how many rivets and what spacing should I use for riveting the web of the bracket to the web of the rib?

Upon doing some searching on the net, I found even more questions about the mounting of these brackets. Apparently when the servo is mounted with this bracket, the short pushrod arm is not parallel with the axis of the servo. This is apparently not a problem for the servo, but the angle precludes the use of a large OD washer on the outside of the bearing (which is standard installation practice for rod end bearings). Some folks have used spacers. I'm going to have to put some thought into what to do.