How do you identify aircraft rivets? Using a computer, you can tell whether or not one of them has been installed by an airplane technician. First, identify the rivet shop head by looking for a tipped or loose head. If the rivet is not listed or loose, it’s probably improperly installed.
Identifying the Shop Head
Aircraft rivets are classified according to the head they have. Depending on their purpose, there are three basic types: the universal head, buck-tail, and shop head. Each has a different head and requires different handling methods. Identifying the shop head of aircraft rivets is crucial if you want to keep your airplane’s airframe in top condition.
To identify the shop head of an aircraft rivet, first, you must know its diameter. It should be about one and a half times the rivet’s diameter. The head should also be at least a half-diameter longer than the rivet shank to avoid compromising its integrity. Another way to identify the shop head is to check the edge distance. This distance is the distance from the edge of the material to the center of the rivet hole.
Looking for Tipped or Lose Rivet Heads
Identifying aircraft rivets starts with the shape of the rivet head. A soft rivet is much broader than a structural rivet. While there is a slight variation between the two types of heads, you should always check for the dimple on the head of a structural rivet before drilling it out. However, if the head of a structural rivet is too narrow for its surrounding area, it’s probably a soft rivet.
Another essential thing to look for when identifying aircraft rivets is the length of a solid rivet. A rivet with too long of a head will bend and form a bad shop head. Likewise, a rivet with a small charge will be loose. The manufacturer should have kept the head of the rivet the same as when it was manufactured. When identifying aircraft rivets, you’ll want to look for this dimple.
Looking for a Smooth Aerodynamic Surface
When you’re looking to repair an aircraft, you want to ensure that you’re using the correct type of rivet for the job. Start by checking the aircraft’s engineering data. You can also contact a manufacturer, FAA certificated airframe mechanic, or airworthiness safety instructor to obtain repair recommendations. Also, check the relevant commercial manuals for your aircraft and refer to FAA publications, such as the airworthiness and design regulators. Aircraft riveting repair is also part of the initial training for an FAA-certified airframe technician.
Aerodynamic surfaces are designed to minimize skin friction drag. Flush-mounted rivets have a smooth filling and prevent skin-friction drag, while round-headed rivets are used on trailing sections. The smooth aerodynamic surface of the wing will help keep the plane’s airflow laminar. The laminar flow boundary layer will become turbulent once several inches from the leading edge.
Checking for a Tipped or Loose Rivet Head
When performing an aircraft repair, it is essential to check for a tipped or loose rivet and, if necessary, replace it. The rivet pattern must match the aircraft’s maintenance manual and other relevant documentation. If the rivet is not damaged, it is still intact. When attempting a repair, it is important to use a jig to hold the part in position and distribute the load while it is done.
Two reasons may cause a tipped or loose head on aircraft rivets. First, the rivet must be strong enough to meet its design purpose. This can be done by following the guidelines for rivet installation in aircraft construction and repair data. If the rivet is loose, it is not safe to fly the aircraft. If the head is loose, you should check the rivet head to ensure it is still intact.