• Elevator horn alignment
    Jun 23, 2017
    Section 9

    After checking measurements and alignments multiple times between the elevator horns and the corresponding ribs, I'm convinced the E-905 rib at the root of the left elevator is mispunched. Measuring the right-side E-00906-1, there's about a 3/32" difference in the hole centerings compared with the E-905. As a result, the horn doesn't even come close to fitting on the left side, but the right side lines up perfectly. Now I'm awaiting to get another response from Van's to see what to do about it.

    Update #1: I got a reply from Van's and indeed the rib is mispunched. Supposedly some other RV-14 builders had similar issues. They mailed out a new rib very quickly, but unfortunately they sent the wrong one :( I'm now waiting again to hear back from the service department.

    Update #2: After calling Van's, it was no problem to have them ship out a new E-905 rib. They covered the cost again, and were very friendly about it. The annoying part was that I had to reprime this rib. I am starting to really hate the process of priming parts. The time it takes to scour, degrease, dry, wipe down with alcohol, mix the primer, prep the spray gun, prime, and cleanup takes half a day. That and half of my parts always end up with some orange peel which annoys me to no end. I should probably revisit my spray gun setup, because clearly something isn't quite right. At any rate, I decided to clean up and deburr all the remaining parts in the empennage to prime them together which was a major pain, but hopefully saves me some time in future.


  • Elevator trim tab complete
    Jul 13, 2017

    The elevator trim tab took surprisingly long to complete, given its size and apparent complexity. First was a fair bit of countersinking through material that is right on the threshold of too thin in my opinion. When countersinking the spar with the hinge cleco'd to the backside, the countersink essentially went completely through the spar and just touches the hinge. A new element I haven't used in the build so far was the use of foam ribs that had to be adhered to the aluminum skin with ProSeal, which is a bit of a mess to work with. First the contact surfaces need to be scuffed and cleaned.

    You mix the ProSeal at a ratio of 10:1 by weight, which was actually a bit challenging given the goopyness of both the accelerator and the base. I hear this stuff doesn't have that long of a shelf life, and I'd like to use it for the wing when I get to it, so now it's sitting in my fridge. Then I clamped it all together and riveted the spar, skin, and hinge together.

    The rivets along the hinge were the hardest part, as a squeezer could barely fit in there, and the rivets were so long that it was extremely hard to get them to compress straight. I probably ended up drilling out half of the rivets due to this. I've found one of the side effects of drilling out rivets through sandwiched material is that it's easy to start creating space between the layers that you can't compress back down. I ended up with a few small pockets of space underneath the hinge that I'm not too happy about. I've flagged it to show to a tech councilor, and may have to redo it. Furthermore, despite doing most of the riveting clamped to a steel beam that I know is perfectly straight, the tab ended up with a very slight bow, but no twist. I'll have to see how well it attaches to the elevator afterwards, but it annoys me slightly.

    In the mean time, onward to working on the rest of the elevator!


  • Builder links
    Apr 6, 2017


  • Tools
    Apr 1, 2017

    There's an assortment of vendors that sell a pre-assembled kit of tools needed to build different RV variants. From the VAF forums, it seems like most of them have had favorable ratings. I decided to go with the kit from Isham (e.g. planetools.com), which has a specific package for the RV-14. It certainly wasn't cheap, but previous builders seem to be happy with this particular kit.

    The high-dollar items in the kit includes the seemingly ubiquitous DRDT2, a rivet squeezer, rivet gun, and a pneumatic drill. I wasn't familiar with using many of these tools up front, so I didn't have much opinion on the upgrade options. In retrospect, I think I may have invested in a nicer air drill, as the one in the base kit can't be throttled at all.

    The rest is (hopefully) most of the bits, clekos, rivet sets, dies, and hand tools needed for the project.