5 Sept 05 - Starting the Empennage Tips


As of today, we have some sort of plan: we're planning to attend the Sportair Workshop on painting in the middle of October. If we're able to get the empennage and wings finished up completely before then, we'll have a bunch of stuff to paint right after we get home. There's not a lot to finish - pretty much just the tips of all of the empennage, and then some wiring in the wingtips.

Of course, this means that we'll have to go back and paint the fuselage later, which means that we'll have to build a paint booth twice. This is potentially a pain in the rear, but by the time we have to do the difficult stuff (like the bottom of the fuselage), in theory we'll know what we're doing.

Given that, full speed ahead on the empennage tips and the wingtips . . . at least until the engine comes in at the end of the month.


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Working on the clearance between these two - before this, it was pretty rough - too narrow in some places, and some places it actually touched. There's supposed to be 1/8 inch of space between these, and we're getting closer.
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Here's a problem: the edge distance on the fairings for the elevators and horizontal stab are pretty much uniformly bad. Keep in mind that we still have to countersink this, so there's not going to be a lot of material holding this on. These were actually drilled awhile ago, but we hadn't paid any attention to it until it was time to do something with it. What to do?

The idea that we had for the edge distances was to glue a strip of aluminum to the back of the fiberglass. Because of how this goes together, you can actually let the metal strip hang over the edge (at least a little bit) and it still fits just fine. This will be just fine for edge distance, and will be plenty strong.

This idea isn't particularly creative, but I thought the idea was new with us until I went and checked Dan Checkoway's website and figured out that he did the same thing. He seemed to have less of a problem with edge distance, though, and just did it for additional strength.

Oh - also, the aluminum strips that we're using here were originally parts so that you could do this same thing in the wings if you were attaching them with blind rivets. We used nutplates, so according to Van's directions, you don't have to use the additional metal strips. There we go - spare parts!

For what it's worth, we're just using hardware store style 5-minute epoxy for this. Should still be plenty strong, I think, but I guess we'll find out.


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Curing. Notice how the metal strip intentionally sticks out the bottom. Not by much, though.
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Parts ready to go.
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While those are curing (we'll let them sit overnight), there are other parts to work on - this is getting a bit closer, but is being trimmed incrementally. Trim, fit, trim, fit . . .
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Fairing for the rudder: time to break out the dremel to cut to the blue line. The weird cut in the back is where it runs into the wedge that is the trailing edge of the rudder. It's this part right here.
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Ah-hah! Now it fits in there!

Tomorrow we'll try to rivet the horizontal stab and elevator fairings on.




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