Empannage Done!

Time: 6 Hours

Today I had one goal, to finish the elevators and essentially finishing the empannage. All that remained was to roll the leading edges of the left and right elevators. So I started by setting up the pipe rolling jig that I used for the rudder. I decided, based on the results from the rudder, to go up to a 1″ diameter conduit from the 3/4″ I used for the rudder.

I also decided to try a different approach at where I taped the pipe to the skin. On the rudder I taped the pipe right along the edge of the skin. When the bend was done I had a small gap between the skin at the top of the rudder getting wider as you got to the bottom. On the first elevator I taped the pipe at the outboard even with the skin. I then took a measurement from the spar to the pipe. I matched this measurement at the inboard section. This angled the pipe in a little at the inboard section compared to the outboard. I then rolled the skin giving me a really nice roll.

I then flipped the elevator over at set up for the opposite skin.

By taping the pipe at a equal distance on the entire length of the skin the gap that resulted was pretty much equal for the entire length. I had to massage the skin a little in the middle section to get it to lay perfectly flat.

I then I matched drilled the holes and pop riveted as per the plans.

I repeated the process with the right elevator.

I then placed the electric trim in the left elevator and hooked the linkage to keep the trim tab from flipping around.

With those leading edges done the major building points of the empannage are done. The only pieces left are the fiberglass tips which are really finishing parts.

You can wait to do these parts when you finish the aircraft or any point I between. I think that I will start the elevators and the top of the rudder. The bottom will have a light in the tail section and I will work on that later in the build. So now I have around six weeks before the wings get here to study up on fiberglass and the techniques. So I cleaned up elevators and brought them into the house for safe keeping and to be on display.

Big accomplishment for me! Next up learning to fiberglass.

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