Rudder Construction

Rather than build the rudder from scratch, I decided to go to the Zenith factory in Mexico, MO and participate in the builder's workshop. I'm glad I did! I not only met some great people and built a rudder, but I also got to fly the factory Zodiac. (Saturday night dinner at the Barbary Coast was delicious too.) These pictures do not show the construction step-by-step. They are just a few shots Liz (my wife) took when she wasn't working the cleco pliers or pointing out errors I was about to make. :^)

27-28 February 1999

That's me sitting in the factory Zodiac. My knees are a bit high, but moving the rudder pedals forward a couple of inches will cure that. Even as is, my lanky 6'4" body fit just fine.

The picture is rather dark, but that's Phil Maxson from Washington, NJ sitting in the Zodiac. I'm not sure, but I think I heard him making airplane noises.

Here are the parts for the rudder skelton, with the all-important instruction book in the foreground.

Completed rudder skeleton. In my hand are all the stems from the pulled rivets. I wanted to keep them, but Liz nixed that idea. Spoilsport. :^) That's Phil in the background riveting the tip rib to the spar.

Disaster strikes! For Phil, anyway. He somehow managed to boo-boo the end of his finger. Geez, what a pouty face. :^) This is when Art from Flypass gave us an important tip: Always use a black or blue marker when laying out the rivet lines. If you use a red marker it gets too confusing with the blood trails.

Rear skin clecoed to the skeleton. Something's getting a critical inspection, but I don't remember what exactly I was looking at when that picture was taken.

Nose skin taped and every fourth hole drilled and clecoed. I'm checking the alignment of the nose rib.

Drilling remaining holes for nose skin.

Phil "lending weight" to the foot-operated metal shear. I tried trimming the first side, but didn't have enough lead in my arse to get a clean cut!

Me and the completed rudder. I'm not sure why I looked so glum in the picture. I guess I was contemplating the 18 hour drive back to Texas!

Rudder back at home with its future "roommates".

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