Part 2: Installing the "Upgrade Package" to our Zodiac CH 601 XL: Drilling our the top wing skin rivets

In part two of this installment, we drill out the Avex blind rivets in the top wing skins. (Click here for the first post in this series on updating our Zodiac XL demonstrator per AMD's Safety Alert / Directive).

See the video clip at the bottom of this post for a good view of how we drilled out the blind rivets.

Removal of the wings and drilling out the skins as shown below can be started anytime, without needing to have the Upgrade Package parts on hand.

Starting along the main wing spar rivet line, we drill off the rivet head, without re-drilling (and enlarging) through the original rivet hole. The domed Avex blind rivets have a nice center-hole to center your drill bit, making the head quick and easy to drill off.

We use the same tools to drill out rivets than we used for assembly: A good hand drill and a lot of clecos.

Once the head of the rivet is removed, we use a 1/8-inch (#30) punch to push (punch) the back end of the rivet through the hole releasing is from the skin. Check out the video clip below to see how this is done.

After drilling out all the rivets along the main wing spar, we drilled out the rivets of the top nose ribs:

Next, we drilled out all the rivets of the rear top skin (along the rear ribs and rear spar) and removed the top rear skin.

Here's a clip showing us drilling the rivets to remove the top skins:

Next, we'll start drilling out some of the conventional wing spar rivets.

I invite you to comment below. However, if you have specific questions please email them to me rather than using the comment box for this.

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Comment by Kenneth Lilja on November 13, 2009 at 3:46pm
Get a pair of flush cut diagonal pliers for electronics. About 6" They work really well for removing the shop heads.
Comment by Bob Pustell on November 12, 2009 at 3:40pm
David, if you watch the video closely, towards the end, you can see where several times when they were using the punch to push the rivit through at a wing rib (instead of the spar flange) the punch only penertrated slightly instead of popping all the way through into the hollow wing. Then, when they were lifitng the skin off the wing, there was a pop or two as they dislodged the skin from a shred of rivit. Finally, at the very end, they were using a pair of diagonal cutters to extract rivits from the rib flange.
It looks to me like, on the more springy areas, they just used the punch to pop the drilled rivit below the surface of the skin and then extracted the rivit from the rib flange AFTER the skin was removed. Maybe this technique would help prevent what you are describing.
Comment by Jay Carter on November 12, 2009 at 12:19pm
You can use a small punch and knock out the mandrel first. Then drill off the head.

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