After joining the firewall and seat/baggage areas together, the next stage of complex riveting between the spar assembly and the floor skin requires the structure to be turned onto its side for access.

The problem? It’s really heavy, still quite unstable in certain orientations and there are no actual sides to lean it on yet.

The solution? Three people to lift, a stack of old floorboards, a piece of kitchen worktop and a makeshift plywood stand that J came up with. We’ve screwed and glued the stand for strength, then bolted it to the wing spar and clamped to the bench for stability. It’s still a little bit precarious when we put pressure on for drilling or riveting close to the top edge, but it’s working fine.

Today’s job was drilling, deburring and pop-riveting the -5 rivets between the floor skins, doubler and spar. These holes are huge – we haven’t dealt with -5 size anything before, so we had the exciting introduction of a new type of cleco and a massive pop rivet!

Admittedly it looks quite impressive with the different hole sizes clecoed up together. Also daunting as we now have to rivet all these holes and there’s loads of them!

The force required to pop the -5 rivets is significant. I struggle doing even the smaller pop rivets by hand, so there is no way I could get these to work. I was on supporting duty to stop the whole assembly falling over, whilst J sweated over the huge rivets. They pop in two distinct stages and the puller needs to be re-set in between. I completely understand why anyone doing an RV-12 (similar kit but entirely pop-riveted) would insist on buying a pneumatic rivet puller, but for the -14 I still don’t think it’s worth it for so few rivets.

We got 16 done (of 24) tonight before J’s hands gave up, so we’ll sort the rest tomorrow.

Happy flying!

Em x

RV-14 build: The sideways stage

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