Vertical stabilizer – DONE !!!

I can’t believe but finally I have completed assembly of my first real airplane part – Vertical stabilizer! Today, after some riveting I finally made that. Now its time to review all my mistakes, make sure that I understood what caused these and try to avoid these in the future. Next step is to start working on Rudder Section 7 of the VAN’s manual.

More rivets! The way to go.

Today I spent good amount of time riveting my vertical stab skeleton followed by skin riveting. Not everything went well, I did few mistakes which is 😞 sad. Despite that I was able to recover these and kept a good rate of work. My wife Kate and daughter Maria helped me in some part of this work.

Rivet It!

Well that was a first time when I was installing rivets in to airplane part! I spent some time figuring how to do that properly. First issue was that I totally forgot to order my pneumatic squeezer dies for riveting. I fixed the issue my ordering these later today however I was left with bucking bar and rivet gun for the time being.

It took me me some time to figure how to use a rivet gun, how to adjust the pressure and how actually properly riveted rivet should look like 🙂 I drilled about 10 rivets due to mistakes or just bad quality of riveting but at the end everything was looking OK to me. Page 6-4 all steps are done and page 6-5 first two steps are now completed. The next step is a skeleton assembly for the vertical stab. Here I am waiting for my squeezer dies to arrive before I move forward.

Little bit of work during afternoon visit

I passed by hangar with my wife and kids today in the afternoon and while kids were playing I decided to work a little on my project. Few parts were drilled, countersink and dimpled. Finally I covered them with primer and left to dry out. The next step will be The first rivet!

By the way I got prepared for future priming of parts by purchasing painting gun and respirator. I also ordered online SEM self etching primer (1gal) in grey color. Next batch of tail parts will be primed in a new way. Hope that quality will be higher now.


I have not much time today but I decided to put a primer over the parts which I already prepared for final assembly. That was a BIG process. First of all priming using these “rattle cans” is a BAD idea if you want quality work. I think that the best would be to invest in a painting gun. Second, use of these cans is actually more expencive rather than purchasing a primer in gallon cans and priming with the gun. Finally the quality while using painting gun will be way higher…… Or I just do not know how to use ‘rattle cans’ properly 🙂 I used two full cans to prime all the parts in pictures below.

However another very important part of this process is a GOOD ventilation and GOOD protection for your self. This primer smells! Make sure that you use good respirator and your location have outside air circulation/ventilation system. This is important!

Work in progress – long day and good results!

I was able to get full day today and work on my project. It was very productive day and I finally came close to priming my parts! My two little daughters came today together with my wife to assist and help me. During my work I made another video with details about what was done today. So far vertical stabilizer of my RV-10 is ready for priming and riveting. I think that the next step will make it all 🙂 For now see some pictures from today as well as the video.

Just a day at a hangar

Today me and my younger one went to hangar to do some work not related to RV10. I am trying to finish up all other tasks to free up 1.5 days this week for RV10 building. Elizabeth was pushing me to work on my RV build today despite I explained that we have some other things to do for today. We agreed that I let her pose with air drill and post her pictures in the blog. That will be a reasonable trade to let me finish my other work at the hangar without reminding me every minute that we have to build airplane 🙂

Keep working on my vertical stabilizer.

After long working day I was able to find couple of hours and continue my vertical stabilizer build. Still at section 6, but already at page 6-3 and steps 1-3. I loved the results I got at the very end.

At first I was need to assemble the skeleton of the vertical stabilizer. This took me some time since I was in need to complete holes deburring and surface preparation.

As soon as I got my skeleton assembled I said: Wau! This is a real part for the airplane. At that point it was already late evening for me and I was in need to go back home to my wife and kids. By quick look at the remaining steps I found that the next step after the skeleton assembly was a skin attachment step. That attracted my attention and I started to think that I actually can take that step and complete it on the same day.

Here are my results 🙂 Isn’t it beautifully looking airplane part ?

And here is my full video from the day!

First steps in my RV-10 airplane building

It is hard to wait for the moment when I can start my actual airplane build. I was finishing my other tasks, working at primary job, doing some family activities and waiting when I can start my build. The day has come and on November 3rd I finally started my first steps in my airplane building. Before doing that I had to get all my tools in place. I placed few orders with Aircraft Spruce (why few orders ? – well, because you never can order all tools at once 🙂 ). By the time the first build day had come I already had all required tools ready (I hope that I have all required tools, but something tells me that I will need more and more tools for the duration of my long airplane build journey).

My build started with Section 6, Page 6-2 for the vertical stabilizer assembly. I described all the steps I completed in my video. In general it was very interesting experience. I tried my self and get skills which I never exercised before. So far I like this building activity ALOT!

My Tail kit for RV10 arrived from VANs Aircraft.

The next day after I recorder my introduction in to airplane build video my tail cone kit arrived from VAN’s Aircraft. The delivery logistics was a bit complex. I live in Canada near Vancouver while I ordered my kit with delivery to my Border Mail address in Blaine, WA, USA. The primary reason for this is high costs of delivery to Canada. VANs Aircraft company is located in Oregon state which is about 400 miles south from where I live. Shipping to my border mail address in Blaine, WA (about 20 minutes drive from my home in Canada) costs two times less than shipping to Canada. The size for the shipment was 10ft x 4ft x 15″ and weight 260 pounds. That was a big box!

I had to rent a trailer from UHaul, bring it down to Blaine, wait there for FedEx truck to arrive. I was lucky because the FedEx driver helped me to unload the package directly to my trailer. Otherwise I would spent there lots of time while trying to load up my package on to the trailer without fork lift.

Way back from Blaine was uneventful. I passed through Canadian customs, declared my purchase, paid taxes and entered Canada. Canadian customs officer was not surprised about airplane kit which I was importing.

After unloading of my kit at my hangar/shop I went to UHaul to bring trailer back. The day was ended for me.

Next day I started from detailed inventory of my arrived kit. You can see this in my video.