Frame 204 – Joining the Wings and the Fuselage

4-4-18 to 4-18-18 – 19 hours

So if you decide to buy a used kit, make sure you have the jig drilled parts where the spars and the fuselage join up.  This includes the steel splice plates!  Luckily, I have all of this in decent order.  Thanks for taking care of these, KW.  I don’t know if the plane would be buildable without these parts, which are to be assembled into frame 204.

I found all the jig drilled parts.  I didn’t find the side plates.  They are probably in the fuselage crate, but I figured it would take less time to fab them than find them.  Here they are – 2024-T3 and .063 thick.

Prepping the Jig Drilled parts.

First rivets in the fuselage.  KW had already drilled these parts.

KW had also drilled some of the side rivets, which had to be match drilled into my side frames I just made.  I love long bits for this task – they can be held in a bent position if needed while you drill.

Then the other side frame rivets had to be drilled in on 3 inch centers.  Later, when I skin the plan, many more rivets will go here on 1 inch centers.

Frame is looking good.

Now the other parts need drilled and clecoed to the side frames.  I had to temporarily bolt these to the spars to get the spacing right.  I also oopsied here, and made the first side backwards.  Luckily, the jig drilling was accurate enough that it did not matter.

Bolted in place.

Little nibbles to clear the rivets in the spar.  This needs to slide smoothly into the socket when its done.  A few minutes now will save hours later.

One side done.  This was when I figured out it was backwards.  I just pulled it off and flipped it over to do the other side.  Now all I need is a little nibbling and fitting, and the frame is ready to rivet and finish.

Here is a pic taken at a later date.  I still need to add the side caps at this point.

A Parts Airplane – Free Wheels?

If you have been following my adventure, you know that I am trying to make an RV6 on a budget.  This means I need to spend the least amount possible on my plane, and I learned a long time ago that buying salvage aircraft is the best way to stay on a budget.

I bought a salvage RV7A.  I won’t give the N-number, but I will say that this was a badly crashed example with two fatalities.  I paid $500.

Here is the plane on my trailer.  The wheels were the main part that caught my eye.  It appears that this airplane crashed upside down, because the wheels are just about the only thing salvageable.  It has Cleveland mains, and they are in good shape.

Here you see the crash spread out on the ground.  I invited the Flight Safety class over, and they took a good look at the crash.  It is a very sobering thing to know that people died in this machine.  This was a four year old crash., and the coroner and the NTSB have already looked it over.  Luckily, I found no signs of human remains – but plenty of signs of the former occupants.  I recognize so many of the parts that I have been working on.  Still, you can’t blame an aircraft for its pilot flying into IMC without and instrument rating, and life goes on.

This crash was horrific.  There was so little salvageable on the plane it was astounding.  I had hoped to get fuel senders, tank flanges, brake cylinders, and various small parts.  Almost none of these were ok.

I had hoped to pull a lot off the wreck, but beyond the wheels, I got very little.  The above and below picture show almost everything I kept, and much of what I kept is unusable.  The broken prop is going to my colleague to show in his props class.  The broken prop flange is going to engines class.

Now, its time to do a financial accounting.  I will close this page out when I find out what I ultimately paid, minus what I can sell.

  • Expenses…
  • Airplane – $500.
  • Travel – $51.07
  • Total – $551.07


  • Payout
  • Sold guaranteed broken transponder – $30 net
  • Sold Guaranteed broken Strobe Power Supply – $40 net
  • Sold Dynon Remote Compass Unit – might work – $30 net
  • Recycled aluminum (got a bad deal) – $59.70
  • Saber Prop Hub w/crush plate and F911 bolts – $225
  • 406 PLB – $26
  • Front Landing Gear Anti-Splat kit (bent) $45

Total to date = $95.37.  Trying to get to free!

  • Looking to Sell
  • Gear Legs (100 for set?)
  • Starter Bendix (30?)
  • Misc Hardware –  AN bearing ends for pushrods (65?)


  • Keeping
  • Cleveland Main Wheels, Brakes, and Tires ($2500 from Aircraft Spruce)
  • Fuel Tank Quick Drains and One Flange ($42 from Vans)
  • Fuel Cap (maybe) $28 from Vans
  • Oxygen system (still has O2 in tank.  Tank will need inspected.)


  • Perhaps Rebuildable
  • Matco Brake Cylinders
  • Matco Nose Wheel
  • ELT
  • VOR Antenna



Wing Tanks and a parts aircraft

4-3-2018 – 3 hours

It has been nearly a month since I worked on the RV6.  That’s for a variety of reasons.  It was a good stopping place, I went on Spring Break and went traveling with the family, I had several intensive issues to take care of at work, and I also had to catch up with grading and preparing papers to keep the students busy.  Of course, there was also the money thing.

Next on the list is fuel tanks.  Unfortunately, some of the parts are missing or were never present since I don’t have the finishing kit.  KW had finished most of the drilling and dimpling of the right wing tank, but none of the finishing or mounting.  The tank is integral to the wing, and needs to be sealed.  I need sealant, and no way that I know of can get around buying the stuff.  I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy a can of sealant.

I went to the Van’s web site, and a quart kit costs $41.  That isn’t too bad.  If I do it carefully, this should do both tanks.  However, there is no point buying the stuff in advance, as the shelf life is a meager 4 months.  This means I need all the parts  ready to install before I buy it.  I made a parts list, and this is what I need.  (Note that I added a few small parts that would not need to be purchased now, including a new O-ring and the Quick drains).

If you’ve followed so far, you know that $188 isn’t what I want to spend.  Is there a cheaper way?  I think so.  I bought a wrecked badly wrecked RV7, and will be scavenging parts off of it soon.  I’ll make a post about that as soon as the transaction is complete.  I hope to salvage enough salable parts off of it to make it free, but even if that doesn’t work, I can nearly cover what I paid for the plane by taking the scrap to recycling.

Until then, I’ll concentrate on prepping the tanks.  Here is the right one, removed from the wing.

Clecoing the tank together was a challenge, as many of the parts were loose and out of order.  It took some time, but all the parts were found for this tank, and there proper locations were identified.

Here is the plan for the tank.  Lots of consulting this sheet today.

My first chance to try the free #8 screw dimple dies I got in my last transaction.

Here is a #8 screw sitting in the dimple.

Lots of nut plates to attach.  I like to partially thread the nutplate on a screw, and use that to hold the nutplate while I flush rivet the nutplate in place with little bitty 3-3 rivets.  BTW, KW had already drilled and coutersunk for nutplates on the right wing, so this was pretty rapid and easy.

First time looking in this part of the wing.  Note the large number of ribs in the wing walk area.

And here is the 406A and 406B fuel cap and neck.  Still have more nutplates to mount, and I have to figure out the best way to countersink for my #8 screws that require countersinking instead of dimpling.

Something funny happened while I was working with the #8 screw dimple dies.  One of my students grabbed the dimpler while I wasn’t watching, and tried to dimple for #4 rivets.  His buddies teased him pretty hard – but it was funny.  I guess there is nothing like learning the hard way that there are several sizes of dimple dies, and you need to make sure you have the correct one.