What's new
Van's Air Force

Don't miss anything! Register now for full access to the definitive RV support community.

RV-12iS Boulder High School, Colorado

David Paule

Well Known Member
I'm starting this thread so that we have a place to show progress and discuss issues.

Right now the biggest issue is that mentors are scarce. We have two regular ones and they can meet two days a week. As we have four morning and four afternoon classes, that leaves some time available. Also, we have more students than a single mentor can handle, and the two regular ones don't overlap.

Dave
Yeah, I'm one of the mentors
Also building an RV-3B, now on the cowl.
 
Background

The kit was ordered last summer, by Dan Zahner, a teacher at the school, with funding from a donor. He ordered the empennage, wing, fuselage and finish kits. All have arrived except the finish kit, which I understand is now in crating at the factory.

Dan was killed last July in the crash of an RV (I think) on his way to his first visit to Oshkosh. The schools was left with little knowledge of the details of the project. I'd met Dan and knew of it and decided that I could contribute something.

I got one team of students to inventory the kits that had arrived. The teacher who was assigned arranged for space and some of the part-time mentors donated some tools and a nice work table. Another off-site mentor donated practice kits - thanks, Ernie!. These consist of two short angles, a small plate, some rivets and instructions. To complete one of these, a student needs to cut, deburr, lay out holes, center punch them, drill them, assemble the pieces and rivet them together. Each takes two flush rivets (dimple and countersink), two universal head rivets, and four of the blind rivets that the RV-12iS is made for.

I started with the inventory group since they were at least somewhat familiar with what things look like. They finished their practice kits and I started them on the first assembly piece of the plane: the vertical stabilizer. On the days I can't be there, they are helping the next batch of students assemble their practice kits. Depending on mentor availability and practice kit progress, the next group of students will start the rudder.

We have this rule: no student can work on the plane until they have satisfactorily completed their practice kit. A mentor or airplane-qualified-student must guide them on the practice kit. Right now we're assuming that after building one or two airplane parts, those students will be able to lead other students on other airplane parts.

We have several mentors with varying availability. The bottom line is that regular ones are scarce. We need a few more with RV construction experience and who are available on a regular basis. The class schedule is:

Monday, Tuesday and Fridays -
8:35 to 9:25 AM
2:10 to 3:00 PM

Wednesdays -
9:30 to 10:45 AM
2:05 to 3:20 PM

And if you can help out, PM me. Thanks!

Dave
RV-3B, now on the cowl,
Cessna 180, flying.
 
Here are some of the students today.

Mack's deburring some of the AEX Angle pieces.

ZoG9CIA.jpg


Elizabeth and Emma are getting some of the next parts that they'll need. Elizabeth, on the left, is the Team Leader for this assembly.

rV0Qs1F.jpg


Two others of the team were ill today.

Dave
 
Last edited:
Morning "Bravo" Team

I have signed on to mentor the morning crew...I have named them, Bravo team.

In our first two sessions, I started with introductions and "standards of excellence" expected. Then we moved to "riveting 101" so they can understand how rivets work, and the process of setting them properly. Next up are the practice kits.

Right now, I can only do Monday and Tuesday mornings. If anyone in the area is interested in joining the fun, contact Dave or myself. We could use the help!
 
We also sometimes have a Friday afternoon mentor, thanks, Norm, but right now Tuesday afternoons has no mentor.

We could easily use multiple mentors per class. If we had them, more students could learn how to build an airplane. So if your only available time doubles up with a current mentor - welcome!

Dave
 
love to help

Unfortunately I live in Eastern Colorado. I do have a sister that lives in Broomfield and have a substitute teacher license. If there would be opportunity, I would stop by. Send me a pm if you have any suggestions where I could assist.
 
We got the practice kits for the morning session, so Ron's going to have his hands full mentoring them. We need more morning mentors, though. Well, more mentors, period.

The tools are starting to roll in.

The afternoon session I mentor is building the vertical stabilizer and is now drilling the holes in the rear spar. One thing we can't to this school year but future years will do, is make the classes two periods long. Instead of 55 minutes they'll be 1:55, and that will help out. Right now we need to get tools and parts out and set up, and afterwards reverse that and clean up. The overhead is a relatively serious hit to the efficient use of the student's time. A lesson learned.

Another is that given the paucity of mentors, limit the number of students who sign up. Perhaps have a dual track, with a build class and an aviation knowledge class.

Dave

Dave
 
Bravo teams gets rolling!

Although it takes a minute to get the ball rolling, today we finally started work on the practice kits. As you can see, it's a big group. I think they were excited to finally do something instead of listen to me drone on about rivets, drawings, drill bits and dimples.
 

Attachments

  • 68892696931__43500717-0A1B-4A36-A9BC-347E6CE6C89C.jpg
    68892696931__43500717-0A1B-4A36-A9BC-347E6CE6C89C.jpg
    456.5 KB · Views: 170
  • IMG_9952.jpg
    IMG_9952.jpg
    478.2 KB · Views: 214
Terrific!

We now have a pneumatic rivet squeezer that still lacks the industrial air hose fitting (and perhaps the compressor too). Also some more dies, electric blind rivet pullers and a few more things.

I recommend using the beeswax as a drill bit lube and if needed, the ice pick to help line up holes.

If necessary, one of the magnifying glasses can be used to help QC the deburring.

The #30 and #40 drill bits on the white plastic cutting board/die holder are intended for the removal of rivets. They have a flat round end for that. We have other bits that size too.

Dave
 
Anyone With Leadership Training?

Turns out that appointing a team leader is a lot easier than training the person to lead. I've never had any leadership training and have only held a couple relatively short leadership positions. I don't know how to teach it.

Can anyone offer suggestions?

Thanks!

Dave
 
Dave, I'm not sure what the needs may be but I'll be happy to help if I can. I'll send a PM. Cheers, Ken
 
Some progress, both positive and negative.

The morning class with Ron has completed their practice kits. When the wing stand is done they'll start those.

The vertical stabilizer team in the afternoon class made decent progress and was nearly ready to assemble, but unfortunately I didn't watch close enough and the top two ribs, which needed some trimming at the front, got trimmed too far and there wasn't enough edge distance to the skin rivet holes. They got scrapped. New ones on back order. The team has most of the remainder of the parts primed (faying surfaces) and will start assembly this week.

I broke off Mack (top photo this thread) to head the second team in the afternoon as we have more students available. His team is starting the anti-servo tab, chosen to be relatively inexpensive should they mess up any parts.

With the vertical stabilizer on track, the remainder of that team had some available time, so they are pulling out the stabilator parts to start deburring them.

Dave
 
Here are some of the students beginning the assembly of the vertical stabilizer.

foWG6JK.jpg


In general, all the kits are on order and we have the tools we need, more or less. We have the fuselage, wings and empennage kits here and are working those - the morning group has started the wings and the second afternoon team is making progress on the anti-servo tabs.

Dave
 
Great job Dave. It really does me good to see these kids building.

One note; I would REALLY like to see safety glasses on these kids.
 
They wear them drilling. Using the Milwaukee pullers, with the cage for the ends, I didn't think there was any need.

We'd just opened our second one; box in foreground.

Dave
 
Glad to see this project “taking off!!!”

As a mentor with Teen Flight (Hillsboro OR) it is gratifying to see groups getting going.

The students you work with will be forever changed by the experience


Jim Frisbie
Ch 105 EAA
 
They wear them drilling. Using the Milwaukee pullers, with the cage for the ends, I didn't think there was any need.

We'd just opened our second one; box in foreground.

Dave

The Milwaukee pullers are absolutely fantastic. I love mine.

I helped run a student shop in college. Our rule was, if your foot was inside the room, you need to be wearing safety glasses.
We had a big cabinet right by the door.

There are two reasons, practical and cultural.

Practically speaking, it's not really sound to base your PPE on what only you are doing.
Someone else can be doing something that can put your eyes in danger, and that can happen unexpectedly.

The second reason is it sets an attitude. It provides a little mental nudge of "I am in the shop, with the dangerous stuff."
It can also make it much more easy to pick out when someone has wandered in, and should not, or doesn't need to be there.

Also, in terms of providing vocational training, it's what will be required in real shops and factories.
 
The Milwaukee pullers are absolutely fantastic. I love mine.

I helped run a student shop in college. Our rule was, if your foot was inside the room, you need to be wearing safety glasses.
We had a big cabinet right by the door.

There are two reasons, practical and cultural.

Practically speaking, it's not really sound to base your PPE on what only you are doing.
Someone else can be doing something that can put your eyes in danger, and that can happen unexpectedly.

The second reason is it sets an attitude. It provides a little mental nudge of "I am in the shop, with the dangerous stuff."
It can also make it much more easy to pick out when someone has wandered in, and should not, or doesn't need to be there.

Also, in terms of providing vocational training, it's what will be required in real shops and factories.

+1 SOP in our shop at CSU.
 
Our rule was, if your foot was inside the room, you need to be wearing safety glasses. We had a big cabinet right by the door.
There are two reasons, practical and cultural.
Practically speaking, it's not really sound to base your PPE on what only you are doing.
Someone else can be doing something that can put your eyes in danger, and that can happen unexpectedly.
The second reason is it sets an attitude. It provides a little mental nudge of "I am in the shop, with the dangerous stuff."
It can also make it much more easy to pick out when someone has wandered in, and should not, or doesn't need to be there.
Also, in terms of providing vocational training, it's what will be required in real shops and factories.

My thoughts exactly! We only get one set of eyes. Please protect them.
 
The vertical stabilizer is now finished, as are the anti-servo tabs. That team, Elizabeth, Emma and Karla, are now working on the stabiliator. The team headed by Mack is working on the rudder.

The morning class is building the wings. I think they are working on the spar assembly.

The finish kit has arrived and inventory is nearly complete - Elizabeth's team is working on that along with some other students, on the days when I'm not at class.

Dave
 
End of First Year

We didn’t make nearly as much progress as I had expected. We have the rudder, anti-servo tabs and vertical stabilizer done, and are close to finishing the stabilator but have run out of time. Some of the wing parts are complete, too, like the main spars.

Here is what I think contributed to the low progress.

1. We have limited class hours, with six classes 55 minutes long and two 80 minute long ones per week, spread out over a morning and an afternoon class. Out of those we need to get the tools and parts out, set them up, and later put them back. We can’t leave things set up for the next work session.

2. Of those eight classes, only five have mentors available, and then only one mentor per class. We have mentors for two morning classes a week and three of the afternoon classes. Thanks, Ron and Norm! Early on, while the students were still building skills and learning how to build an airplane, we told the students that they can’t work on the plane without a mentor. They just weren’t ready yet. But more recently, with the second semester winding down, some of the teams are entirely capable of working autonomously, and this did help.

3. The workspace is marginal. We’re using a computer lab area. It has awkward spacing, poor lighting, and we’ve had a work table limitation from the very beginning. Parts and tool storage are not readily at hand. There is no apparent way to remove the fuselage from the workspace except for removing a window and using a crane or work lift to take it down from the second-story workspace. Hate to admit it, but this is the current plan.

4. The class competes with a robotics lab, which also is a hands-on class, but which offers design opportunity to their students. To some extent this draws interest away and limits the pool of students who may be interested. There is a certain amount of tool sharing between the classes, with the robotics students telling us that we have the best tools. But they have the general-purpose tools that we don’t. Sometimes tools get mislaid.

5. Surprisingly for me, many of the students in the airplane class needed very basic instruction. Things like which way to turn a screw or how to measure something were wholly new to them. Naturally, this tended to slow the initial effort of coming up to speed.

6. We had enough practice kits, thanks to Ernie, but not really enough mentors to teach them. This is the phase that really needs hands-on instruction and plenty of similar tools. Partly for this and partly because “about right” wasn’t good enough, a number of students dropped out of the game. They had an alternate path: electric drone model airplanes and flight simulators, all offering the immediate satisfaction that the actual airplane didn’t. Of course even us experienced builders sometimes need that sense of immediate results; I bake bread and cookies, for example, and I know others who do similar things. Can’t blame the teenage students, but maybe we could have taught them differently. The mentors generally had RV experience but not teaching experience.

7. The high school had somewhat minimal support, and the poor work bench issue is an example - we had to supply our own and did, thanks to Gregg. Worse, there are no pre-established curriculums; what we came up with were put together as we get started. I did try to provide a sense of how the work would flow, but it wasn’t a curriculum. I expect that some of the students joined the class with expectations which were considerably more ambitious than the actual project entails.

Still, after all that, we have three of the afternoon students that I’d trust to build an airplane by themselves now, and two of these became good team leaders. However, one of the initial team leaders never quite got the hang of leading and eventually became one of the part-timers. One of the better team leaders is a junior with another school year to go, that one will take on mentor responsibilities next year as well as being a team leader. Unfortunately for use, the other good one is graduating this month. Frankly, I hate to see him go. I never really got to know the other fourteen or so afternoon students nominally in the class that never contributed to the project.

Two of the better qualified students are taking the class next year too. One of them, a current team leader, will become a mentor. The others are graduating this month.

If any of you have recommendations, please let us know. Thanks!

Dave
 
I was involved in an RV-12 high school build in 21/22 as one of the mentors. In our case the project was split between several high schools across Australia to try to speed up the work and allow as many students as possible to participate.

Our school did the fuselage, and so had the bulk of the work. We had about a dozen mentors in total at the school, usually rostered 2 to 4 per work session. Not all mentors were available every week due to work and other commitments, and let me say at the outset that many others contributed far more to the project than I did.

There were typically two one-hour sessions per week with from 3-4 to perhaps up to 12-15 or so students in each session. As our project started in one year and finished in the next, we also had two lots of new students who had to learn the basic skills. We experienced many of the same issues that you describe.

1. Limited class hours and needing to set up and clean up reduced the time available to do productive work. All tools and parts had to be cleared away at the end of each session. Also, the students were not allowed to do some jobs such as priming and fiberglassing due the chemicals involved. Finding parts in storage also took quite a bit of time.

2. We had enough mentors for each session but training the students in the basics took time. Also since we were only working on the fuselage, as time went on there were fewer tasks that could be done simultaneously, so that plus loss of interest gradually whittled down the number of students who regularly participated. Only a handful were enthusiastic enough to see the project through to the end. Of those, only one was outstandingly keen and motivated to get it finished.

3. We were fortunate as the project was stored in a purpose built shed that adjoined one of the technical trades classrooms, so we had good, although not large facilities.

4. In the second year the class was split between the build group and a drone/aviation related teaching group, and that seemed to interest many of the students more than the slow process of building.

5. I was also surprised at the lack of basic manual skills and coordination that some students seemed to have. These were typically 15-16 year-olds. Just using a hacksaw to separate a couple of parts seemed to be a major challenge for some.

6. Our students didn't have practice kits, so teaching the basics of deburring, drilling, measuring, riveting, checking plans and the importance of accuracy was a challenge. We had a couple of girls in the first year, and they were better than the boys. They were careful and thorough and had good skills, whereas watching some of the boys working on parts was very stressful.

7. The school staff was very supportive of the project - for example they had a large lockable shed built to house the project and store the parts. They also sourced tools and equipment, although a number of mentors also contributed or loaned various items.

The project was funded by the SAAA (Sport Aircraft Association of Australia), and on completion the various components were shipped to their headquarters for final assembly. It was a nice project to be involved with but it takes a lot of organising and the mentors have to be pretty dedicated and patient. I know that quite a few RV-12's have been completed in the US as high school projects, but it's interesting to hear that your experience to date seems to have a lot in common with what we, or at least I found. Unfortunately I don't have any good recommendations for how to improve your project, but maybe others do.
 
Last edited:
The new school year has started and we have 24 students. Last year there was a morning and an afternoon class, but this year there's only a late morning class. Unfortunately the changed class hours preclude every mentor except me, and make it quite difficult for me to show up.

The good news is that two of the better students from last year were Juniors then and are taking the class again this year. I assigned them to be mentors, knowing that they are capable. So far they are doing a superb job. So is the teacher, who was as new to this as the students were last year. Now he's entirely competent as a mentor.

Last year, we set up teams for each plans section, and that team was responsible for all the processes for those parts. One of the student mentors is concerned that this is slow and only involves a few students. His suggestion is to have everyone deburr all the parts first, and then the construction will be faster. We'll give this a try and see how it works out.

A number of our tools have disappeared and we're reconstituting that stock. We also lost our workbench and are making a new one per my plans in another section.

Right now the students are learning the practice kits. They haven't started work on the plane yet.

Last year's morning class worked on the wing and I spent some time assessing their progress. There were a few rivets that needed to be redone and others that needed more squeezing. I took these parts home to do all that. Wasn't a big deal.

I'll post more as we make progress.

Dave
 
Laser Parts Update for Our Kit

There are four part numbers affected by the laser parts issue on our kit. Only one of the them has been installed to date, but another one or two are coming up shortly. We are ordering replacement parts for all of them. The installed parts, the control horns on the Anti-Servo tab, should be easy enough to replace.

Dave
 
We got lucky. Two of the parts still have their tags and the manufacturing dates show that they are okay. The parts that are installed are also okay, per inspection.

The remaining part is clearly affected by the laser issue and we have a new one on order. As it happened, that's the next to be installed.

The new school year included two students from last year. They are competent and became mentors. I'm the only adult mentor right now, and I'm only there two days a week.

One of the new students quietly went to work on her practice kit and finished it. She was the first to complete, and was so low-key about it that I didn't even realize that she was done. She'd never asked for help. She had done a very good job on it, too. The aft bulkhead in the tailcone is a relatively complicated assembly, so I asked her if she'd take the lead on that. She chose one student to help; he also had done a good job. They are building that.

There was another student who unfortunately ruined his second try at a practice kit. He's now building us a second work table and doing a decent job with that.

One team is starting to prep last year's stabilator frame for skinning.

Dave
 
The teacher seems to have ordered all four, or perhaps shipping all four parts is standard for Van's now. Anyway, they came in. I was a bit surprised since I expected an indefinite delay.

Dave
 
As soon as the school's staff found the funding to pay for unordered kits, I persuaded them to order them. We did. Unfortunately, the powerplant kit is still unshipped, although the other kits have been delivered. I expect now that Van's has filed for Chapter 11 that we'll need to pay a lot more to actually obtain it, and I don't have insight into the money available for that.

In more positive news, the stabilator team is beginning to skin the stabilator. The tailcone team is very close to assembling that and did remember that Service Bulletin, thanks in part to my reminding them often. And the new team leader I referred to earlier is doing a very good job on that aft bulkhead and it should be ready for the tailcone assembly. Her team is actually doing a better job on the AN426AD4 rivets than I've managed.

Right now we have some darn good builders and three excellent team leaders who are developing management skills as well as technology skills.

I've got to come up with stuff for the stabilator team and the bulkhead team to do when they finish up. Leaning towards the flaperons for the bulkhead team, and the wings for the stabilator team, since the wings got started last year. Both of these will be relatively easy to store. Any other recommendations?

Dave
 
I told the three team leaders what they'd be working on next and gave then authority to sign off work on the things another team is building. That way they get a second pair of eyes on things.

All in all, I'm pleased with the progress. We had to order another pneumatic squeezer and are getting some more pneumatic pullers. The students prefer them to the pricey Milwaukee portable electric ones.

The reason for the second squeezer is that often we're finding that someone's working on a practice kit and someone else needs it for the plane.

We sure need to find another mentor or two. Right now it's just me.

Dave
 
Van's announced that the main spar channels of the stabilator are red LCP. This was an update. Since the high school students had just finished riveting the skins on, we sent off an email to support asking for clarification whether our channels are among the affected ones. Then the team, headed by Elizabeth, the teacher and I got together. The students felt that if we had to take it apart to replace them or inspect them, that we'd probably damage a few parts and take more time than if we started afresh building a new one. We stopped work on it pending Van's update.

That team is going to transition to the wings, which were started by last year's morning session.

The team headed by Ari, building the tailcone's aft bulkhead has that nearly complete. They will replace the control horns on the anti-servo tabs and then start the flaperons.

The remaining team, with Mack as the lead, is just about to start the assembly. All the prep work is done or very close to that. Ari's aft bulkhead will be complete and on hand.

Surprisingly, we still have a few students plugging along on their practice kits. I'm glad to see that they haven't given up. One of them is a transfer student, though, so it's her first taste of this.

Dave
 
I advised the teacher, the project's student team leaders and the local mentor community (such as it is) that I'd finish the semester mentoring only one day a week, and that this will be my last semester.

I'd been out for more than a month due to health-related issues, and although I'm back now, that time clarified some things.

Dave
 
Back
Top