Wings Back On

Time: 6 Hours

We have been busy getting all the things done in the new home to make it ours. Like ripping up old ceramic tile to make way for new hardwood. That was not a fun project but it’s all ripped up and ready for the installers. In-between that work I have been doing little projects in the hangar to get it organized. I also got my hands on the RV to start building again. One of the items I was unhappy with when I put the wings on the first time was the length of the wire bundles coming out of the wings. I found them to be a little short to work on with the tight space you end up with when the wings are on. So since I had the wings off again I decided to add 12″ to each of the bundles to give me plenty of length. I also figured that I would finish up the little bit of fiberglass tasks to the control surfaces, the rudder and elevators. I just needed to fill some pin holes and smooth the transitions out a little. A composite pro I am not and hope to get some help when it comes painting time to make these perfect. I used some filler primer to identify the holes and used Super-Fil to make the corrections. With the rudder pin holes taken care of and a coat of primer on I put the rudder on the vertical stabilizer and bolted it in place. I also put the AeroLED tail light in as well.I then spent two hours putting in the new close tolerance bolts in to secure the wings…again. The process was just the same as before, I froze the bolts and used LPS lubricant. The rivet gun at low pressure worked to drive them into position. The hardest part of the whole ordeal, as before, was to torque the bolts. I worked one bolt and then took a little break as leaning over the side wall of the fuselage even with padding was not very comfortable. So that’s a good start to being in my very own hangar that’s ten feet from my back door! I can not wait to be able to just walk out and go for a flight or a trip.

Empennage Fairing Work

Time: 2 Hours

In between different tasks I work a little on the empennage fairing. Basically I sand and add fiberglass/balloons to sand the next day. Each time I get closer to a perfect fit and a complete fairing. So far I pretty happy with the shape and fit now. Today I did a lot of sanding followed by adding a layer of tape to the lower right side to beef it up a little. 

Make no mistake about it this thing still needs a lot of work to be complete. There is still some shaping to be done on the leading edge as well as a million pin holes to be filled. 

Empennage Fairing

Time: 4 Hours

I started the empennage fairing modification which is a big challenge for me since I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to fiberglass. I watched a bunch of videos and read several blogs to get the idea of what I needed to do. The plan is to add to the stick fairing so that it extends under the HS and reduces the need for all the screws to hold it in place. So after watching and reading up on the subject I went for it. The plan was to tape off the area with packing tape, create a mold with modeling clay and cover it with wax as a release agent. Then I modified the stock fairing at the leading edge to accept the new fiber glass. I also trimmed up all the edges to the final shape, that’s a dusty job! 


To hold the faring in place I match drilled to the nutplates underneath using a flashlight to help guide.


I then marked off a leading edge for the cut to help make the transition.

While at it I marked off the aft end for its trimming as well.

With everything done and trimmed I mixed up some epoxy and coated four pre-cut strips of fabric for the layup. After applying those I added ply peel to help keep it smooth after curing.

So that needed to cure for 12 hours and it looked like a mess! It’s gonna take a lot of work to make it look really nice. While that was curing I moved on to some fun stuff, avionics! I had ordered one Dynon back up battery, I will need two, but only need one to mark out the attach screw holes. I then drilled all four and attached the battery. 

I then added my second COM radio and powered it up. 

Next up was the coolest part, the 10″ Dynon Skyview Touch screen. I have been waiting for this for a long time. I will also have a matching 7″ but that will come later. 


There are just six screws to hold it in place. I connected the 37 pin connector and a 9 pin network connector. 

So with a flip of the battery master switch it came to life. 


There is still a lot of configuration that needs to be done as well as add the attitude & heading reference modules (ADAHRS) so that it knows it position with reference to level and the GPS antanae so it knows where the heck it is. I will also be able to customize the screen and where items will be. I also bought some travel chocks to hold the RV still now that it is on its wheels. 

So that’s it for now, we will see how the fairing turns out. 

Empennage Fairing Work

Time: 2 Hours

I got a couple hours in the shop tonight and since I’m at a standstill on the canopy waiting for parts I decided to move on to another step. The empennage fairing that Van’s sends covers the space left between the horizontal stabilizer and the vertical stabilizer creating a nice aerodynamic and clean look. The stock fairing only covers the top and a gasket filled the bottom side. The fairing is supposed to be held in place by serveral screws on the VS and the HS. I found that these tend to cause the fairing to “pucker” at each screw and doesn’t look good. I decided to follow Glenn’s lead as well as other builder and add on to the stock fairing so that it covers the top and bottom, basically creating a U shape that slides over the leading edge of the HS. I’ll get more detail on the actuall fairing later. One thing that this allows is for only a few screws to be needed to hold the fairing in place at the rear. There will be two screws on the top, one on the HS & one on the VS. The bottom will have five total screws. Tonight’s task was to drill out several of the skin rivets and replace them with nutplates. 

They went pretty smooth and the hardest part was getting my hand in between the parts with a bucking bar. The last aft screw on the lower side will be in the very aft portion of the longeron. I don’t have room to put a nutplate there and a nut was just too tight. So I tapped this hole so that a #8 screw would fit. This isn’t structural and is just helping to hold the fairing on.  The one just forward of it will allow the screw to go through the inspection plate as well. 


I received a package from SteinAir with my Dynon #2 COM radio, one back up battery (so I can drill the attach holes) and my 10″ SkyView Touch screen! I will install these tomorrow in between my fiberglass work on the fairing. 

Even just two hours in the shop is a good thing and is progress! 

Fiberglass Tasks and Engine Mount

Time: 4 Hours

The next little (relatively speaking because I hate fiberglass) task I want to finish up before getting too deep into the finish kit are the rudder bottom cap and the HS tips. The rudder bottom had one side filled but not sanded so that’s where I started today. 

I used various tools like the finish orbital sander and my new fine work sanding sticks I got from Cleaveland Tools at OshKosh. 

These tools allow me to get into the sharp corners and get a nice clean edge. 

I used them to get inside the HS tips as well. 

So once I finished that little bit of sanding, there will be tons more, I decided to venture into the finish kit. I decided to do the engine mount first since I had just taken the top skin off to work a little easier on a wire. With the skin back off I have good access to the firewall where the mounting bolts go. First up was to enlarge the holes I drilled way back when building up the firewall and forward area for the 3/8″ bolts. 



I used good drill bits and plenty of Boelubewhick helped to drill though the tough stainless steel. Even with that I had a nasty burr on the stainless. The best way to clean that up was with a Dremel and a carbide tip. Once those were done I put the engine mount in place with the bolts, washers, nuts and a temporary cotter pin. Surprisingly it fit perfect without having to tweak steel at all!