Smitty's RV-9A - Experimental Aircraft from Van's Aircraft The RV-9A from Van's Aircraft  
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RV Construction Log
Preparation
Empennage
- Horizontal Stabilizer (49:40)
- Vertical Stabilizer (21:15)
- Rudder (32:15)
- Right Elevator (35:45)
- Left Elevator (30:50)
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- Inventory & Setup (9:30)
- Left Wing Prep (54:30)
- Left Fuel Tank (45:20)
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- Right Wing Prep (34:15)
- Right Fuel Tank (47:50)
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Fuselage
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- F-704 Bulkhead (13:25)
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- Other Bulkheads
   and Longerons
(17:30)

- Tailcone (29:30)
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- Forward Section (52:40)
- Forward Assembly (24:30)
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- Flaps & Gear Mounts (18:15)
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- Front Deck/Firewall (58:50)
Finish Kit
- Electrical (57:30)
- Electrical Part 2 (24:0)
- Canopy (22:30)
- Landing Gear (18:35)
How I Did Stuff
Pop-Rivet Dimpler 101
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Paint Possibilities
Left Wing Prep - 3/11/2006
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Attached 2 center section platenutsAttached 2 center section platenuts
There is a vertical bar that will screw into these platenuts later in the construction.
Started work on the 2 Tie-down BarsStarted work on the 2 Tie-down Bars
The instructions say to "tap" one end of the bars to receive the tie-down ring. Since I've never "tapped" before, I knew I would need help. I went to a huge hardware store in town where they hire retired gentlemen who freely offer up their expertise to us not-so-young guys who don't know what the hell they're doing. I went up to an elderly gentlemen in the tool department and said "I have to get a tap thingy to fix up an aluminum bar thingy that has a pre-drilled hole in it so a bolt thingy can get screwed into it". He looked at me for a long time and then smiled. I could tell he was already mentally questioning my level of competence in this matter. He took me to the tap tool section and got what I would need and started telling me how to use it, knowing that I was probably incapable of figuring it out on my own. I luv this store!
Checking for squarenessChecking for squareness
Before cutting the end off the bars to the recommended length, I decided to check the ends for squareness. Sure enough, it weren't square! So I used my builders square to mark one end of the bar, making sure that I had enough left on the other end for the final cutoff. I used my table mounted bench sander to square off the crooked end. Then I marked the other end and cut the bars to the proper length.
Time to tap danceTime to tap dance
Using the good advice of gentleman at the hardware store, I put the Tie-down bar in my vise between 2 blocks of wood. I put some oil in the end of the bar hole and on the end of the tap tool. I put the tap tool into the hole and started screwing it in, making sure that I was going in straight and not wabbling around. After I went in about 3/16", It got harder to turn (as predicted) and I backed it out completely. Then I used my air nozzle to blow away the aluminum shavings. Then I put more oil in the hole and on the tap tool and went back in. I repeated this procedure over and over again until the hole was fully tapped. It turned out damn nice, if I do say so.
The finished productThe finished product
After I tapped the holes, I sanded the edges and got everything nice and smooth. I also had to run the end of the tapped hole over the scotchbrite wheel to remove some of the burrs that resulted from the tapping.
Drilled one pilot hole into one of the tie-down barsDrilled one pilot hole into one of the tie-down bars
I put the other tie-down bar away for when I start working on the right wing. I drill a pilot hole with a #12 drill bit and positioned the tie-down bar on the wing spar. The holes already drilled in the wing spar will be used to drill the needed hole in the tie-down bar. Tomorrow I will finish drilling the rest of the holes and started putting on the platenuts.
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A website designed for Van's Aircraft Homebuilders, helping them find the information they need to build the most dynamic aircraft in the world.
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This website was built to document the construction of an RV-9A in compliance with the FAA requirements needed to certify the aircraft. Any experiences and/or comments are by no means to be considered as instructions on how to build an RV-9A or any other aircraft.
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