I flew a jet! And it was awesome! Flying the Eclipse Jet 550 was quite a bit easier than I’d imagined and not all that unsimilar from flying my Cirrus. This flight when straight into my logbook as my first turbine time and my first multi-engine time. How cool?!

How, you might ask, did I get to fly a jet? The fine people at Elite Flight Training, whom I’ve recently started working with, simply offered me a ride. It was a demo flight of course. Eclipse is trying to sell jets. But who am I to turn down the opportunity to fly a jet? I’m only human.

Back to the build… Most of my time today was spent deburring. Or should I say deboreing? During this time I did some calculations in my head regarding the amount of attention required by a single rivet hole.

  • Drilling: 10 secs - Each hole is drilled twice. Once with a smaller size 20 bit (I think), then updrilled to a 1/8” or size 40. I estimate 5 seconds per drill.
  • Clecos: 10 secs - I find that parts have to be clecoed together several times. One or more times to figure out how that parts fit together. Once with the silver clecos. Then copper clecos when updrilling. Then again when reassembling after cleaning parts. So that’s at least 4 times clecos are used to assemble parts (5 secs/cleco), but they also need to be unclecoed (3 secs). (5 + 3) * 4 = 32 seconds per hole. Now not every hole get’s clecoed, as you can see in the last pic below. Maybe only a 30%.
  • Rivets: 8 secs - The pull rivets are simple. Inset rivet, grab pneumatic puller, place on rivet, squeeze trigger, wait for shaft release. Being the final step of assembly, a bit more time and care is dedicated to ensure quality.
  • Deburring: 24 secs - This is the killer. Every time a hole is drilled, it needs to be deburred… on both sides. And there’s at least two layers of material. So that’s 4 deburring actions at roughly 3 seconds/debur if you get in a rhythm. With each hole is drilled twice, there’s at least 8 deburring actions per hole, assuming only two layers. 8 * 3 = 24 seconds.

Grand total: 52 seconds per hole. Or roughly a minute. And you can see hole many holes there are. This is why the tail is taking so long. it has hundreds of holes.

Eclipse Jet Me Flying Jet Reassembling Tail Clecoed Tail