Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tail Fit and Fairing Finishing

Last post I talked about the "unscheduled" paint day. I stopped working on the ignition install and painted all of my interior stuff due to some unexpected nice weather. Well I have another "work detour". I have an opportunity to get my non fuselage parts painted. I'll explain...I was looking into having my plane painted, after I was finished building and flying, at a paint shop. They take around 12 weeks to paint the plane. I didn't like the idea of flying around "naked" without paint for the entire summer and then having the plane down for 12 weeks after I finally had it flying. Then opportunity knocks. A friend of mine, Kris, and his Dad, Donny, stop by to check out the plane. Donny has refinished cars and does body work and painting. Well, you can see where this is going, we reached an agreement to have him paint the plane. This works out to my advantage in that he can go ahead and start painting anything that is not attached to the fuselage in his shop and then come back to my shop and paint the fuselage. Saves a bunch of my time and I only lose out on the few weeks it takes to the paint the fuselage. But it does mean that everything needs to be ready to paint. So I changed gears again and went back to finishing up some things I had put off years ago to completely finish everything for paint.

I started back on the tail after almost 3 years. I never finished this before because it takes up a lot of room. I needed to install the tail and then install all the fairings to prepare them for paint. Tail step one...install horizontal stabilizer. After some simple measurements to ensure it is straight, just drill some holes and install.

Shim plates in place and drilled.

Thought I'd show how the elevator horns install into the tailcone.

Elevators in place and in clamped in neutral trailing position to drill holes into the elevator horns that mate up with the control tube inside the tailcone. At this point you ensure you have the needed travel on the elevators. They are supposed to travel up and down a certain amount of degrees. I just used my iPhone to take the measurements, simple, accurate, and effective.

Installed the vertical stabilizer and rudder. Then, after trimming, installed the fairings. I eventually made some pointed guide pins from #10 bolts to help install the rudder. Otherwise it was a pain to get the attach points to line up correctly. You have to install and remove the rudder several times during all of this so I suggest you just make them early.

Here is a picture of the transition fairing sitting in place. It's not trimmed yet. But looks good.

The horizontal stabilizer tip fairings take some fancy trim work to allow clearance for the elevator and its tip fairing through full elevator movement.

After trimming the stabilizer tip fairing, which results in a complex curve on both the top and bottom. I decided to use some scrap door fiberglass material to make the aft closeout. I first taped the closeout in place and then took the tip off the stabilizer. Then fiberglassed inside of the tip using flox to make a bead along the joining corners and then a layer of glass cloth over that. I then clecoed it back onto the stabilizer to ensure it dried in the shape needed to fit.

After drying I just sanded down the mating edges. Done. And looks great.

I trimmed down the intersection fairing and then drilled all the holes and countersinks.

The plane looked so cool with the tail on!

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