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Rivet Shortening – Apparently, Someone’s Got to Do It

There are several points in the build where short rivets are required. Sling Aircraft (TAF) has chosen to leave this task as an exercise for the builder, to adapt some from the ordinary ones supplied with the kit. Here I’m shortening 3,2 x 8mm rivets to about 5mm. These will be used to fasten the piano hinge and control horn to the elevator trim tab.

For some steps, I use a small box end wrench and a socket to provide support around the entire head of the rivet, as I drive the mandrel out or back in using a hammer. I use a cutoff-wheel in the Dremel Tool to trim the rivet body.

RD Structure Assembly

I’ve finally gotten back to building after hours of rivet-by-rivet QB build construction review. Parts inventory reconciliation and almost daily communications with TAF was accomplished over a couple of weeks.

The preparation and priming of the rudder structure was done before QB delivery, as I anticipated having to furl the curtain walls of my paint booth to eventually accommodate the fuselage and wing panels in my shop. Having the prepared parts on hand, left me in position to do a quick test fit and then permanently rivet the structure. The assembly went well, in the same manner as the VS and HS components.

Quick-Build Kit – Sea Container Shipping

I’ve been tracking the progress of my shipping container since it left the factory at Tedderfield Airpark, near Johannesburg, South Africa on December 19 – just hours before the factory closed for a 3 week holiday.

The container found its way aboard the Xin Ri Zhao and sailed from Durban on December 24, bound for Singapore. Upon arrival on January 6, the container transferred to the YM Upsurgence and departed on January 13. The Upsurgence made several port calls in Thailand, Vietnam and China. Finally, on January 26 YM Upsurgence departed Yantian, China. Next stop – Tacoma, Washington USA!

The last position update I was able to find for the ship, before it was out of touch from the free online tracking service was January 30 – abeam South Korea, west of Japan.

During the Pacific crossing – Yang Ming route PN1, I was able to determine – the ship’s ETA in Tacoma was being updated. It looked like it would enter the Strait of Juan de Fuca during daylight hours on February 10. I live just a mile or so from shore and was hopeful I’d be able to see YM Upsurgence sail past.

Up early on the Monday morning of the 10th, I checked my tracker and it was updating the ship’s position again. Just as I’d hoped to see, the ship was reportedly churning along just a few miles west of where I live. We drove ourselves to the near by Ediz Hook in Port Angles, WA and had a perfect view of the strait. There she was – the YM Upsurgence was just where the telemetry said she was.

It was a beautiful morning, sunshine poking through the clouds. The ship passed very close to us and it was exciting to see.

It’s been quite a long journey, but my Sling 2 quick-build should be in my shop very soon. I’m waiting for a call to learn the day.

EAA Workshop – Sheet Metal

There was lots of good information and practical hands-on work at the EAA SportAir Workshops this weekend. The Museum of Flight Restoration Center at Paine Field (Everett, WA) makes for a great venue.

Sling builders were well represented, with 3 active projects and at least a couple prospective Sling TSi-leaning workshop attendees. It was nice to see and chat with fellow builder Philip Rueker, taking part in the Electrical course.

I didn’t quite finish my project, but they gave me a certificate anyway. I’m so glad I chose a Sling 2 kit with pulled rivets. I would be absolutely terrified to undertake a project with solid rivets and needing to conjure sufficient skills to wield a pneumatic rivet driver and bucking bar to achieve 14000-plus decent – let alone perfect – results. OMG!

Sheet Metal Training – Closing my Knowledge and Skills Gap

Before I start pulling rivets for real, I’m taking some time to train and practice related skills. There are many useful videos on the Internet. I also found a nice, inexpensive training kit from a homebuilt airplane company in Oregon. I’m signed up for an EAA SportAir sheetmetal workshop – October 26 – 27, at The Museum of Flight Restoration Facility, Paine Field in Washington.

The emphasis of the training resources are centered more on solid rivets and the expectation of somewhat less complete fabrication than what the Sling kits exhibit, but it still seems useful to be introduced to working directly with the metal.

Practice Parts

Before I tackle the training kit – using its materials, I’ve been experimenting with scrap pieces of aluminum sheet and angle, I found at my local Home Depot. It’s a good thing too. I surprised myself as I realized laying out and drilling holes for some short lines of rivets, posed more challenges than I expected. I made real scrap out of my scrap material. I’m learning.