A data point: My white-painted RV-12 with unfilled rivet heads now has 650 hours over 4 years. It is hangared and has never been washed (other than the occasional wipe-down with a damp rag and "dry cleaner/wax"). There is no sign of streaking, smoking or residue from any of the open rivet heads or the rivets themselves. Frankly, I am amazed at how well the pulled-rivets remain firmly attached to the skins. Over the years, I have seen many relatively low time, traditionally riveted, aluminum experimental aircraft with loosening, smoking AD rivets. Granted these aircraft are typically sporting larger engines and perhaps operate in more severe conditions than our RV-12s. As for filling the rivet heads, I see it as being cosmetic and IMHO not worth the considerable extra effort.
ps -- If I hook-up an in-flight vacuum cleaner to the wings' interior can I reduce boundary layer drag and enhance airflow adhesion??? ;<)
David Heal - Windsor, CA (near Santa Rosa)
EAA #23982 - EAA Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor; CFI - A&I
RV-12 E-LSA #120496 (SV w/ AP and ADS-B) - N124DH flying since March 2014 - 680+ hours (as of Oct 2018)!
through June 2019.
Last edited by DHeal : 07-11-2018 at 08:34 AM.