Back on January 14th I ordered the CH750 Rudder Kit from Zenith. I’d bought the plans for the plane in November. I studied those for a while, thinking about scratch vs kit; and because I’d never worked on sheet metal before concluded a kit would be the best way for me to kickstart. When it arrived I was utterly thrilled. Seriously, I got all worked up about it, like the main character in that ancient Steve Martin movie The Jerk, I was like “The new rudder is here, the new rudder is here!!!”
I worked on it starting late January and early February and finished it up after a trip out to Green Cove Springs, Florida where I had built my 3.0L Corvair short block under William Wynne’s direction. There was only one painful rudder screw-up: I damaged the bottom rib by pushing the drill bit into the opposite flanges, which are folded over in such a way that going in much more than 3/4″ will cause the bit to hit metal that shouldn’t be hit. When your bit punches through the target material and then keeps going and hits something it shouldn’t, and there’s a nasty shrill screech, your heart sinks. I sort of realized something was wrong after that first hole. But then I did it again, and again, and again. Sort of realized — what an Einstein! After examining the damage and conferring with Roger Dubbert at Zenith I decided to replace the part (though I could have used a doubler instead). Then I bought some quality drill bit stops from Woodcraft. I’ve made plenty of good use of them since. The ruined part went straight into my personal version of Enzo Ferrari’s “Museum of Horrors” — a display case he apparently kept in one of the engineering rooms at the Ferrari racing factory. It held broken parts — each represented a race or a championship lost. Il Commendatore wanted his boys to see the bits and bobs of their past ideas that hadn’t worked out so well. (( Mauro Forghieri, 24 Hour War, Nate Abrams and Adam Carolla, Chassy Media Blu-Ray, 2016 ))
The rudder came out just fine in the end, especially as it was the first time I’d done any work with sheet metal — drilling, deburring, riveting. Plenty more of that to come. Onward: To the horizontal stabilizer and elevator.