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!

More Fiberglass Work

Time: 8 Hours

I have been slowly working on all for the fiberglass parts on the wing tips and VS/HS. The forward peices just ahead of the elevators and rudder are proving to be a pain to fill. Getting into the areas between the flanges is a littl tough. I’m using a larg popsicle stick with sandpaper glued to it to get into these spaces. These areas will probably take a couple of try’s to get just right. Man do I hate sanding fiberglass! On a side note I did get my AeroLED taillight from Aircraft Spruce this week. I was planning on using a watertight connector for this light since it will be in the bottom of the rudder and will be exposed to water from time to time. The problem was that the area in the aft end of the rudder bottom fiberglass gets pretty tight before the flair for the light. The issue with that is this peice will be riveted on and I will have to slide the cable in from the front and make it back to the hole. With a large connector it was impossibe. So I just used a small 5 place Molex connector that is easy to slide into place. 

I will figure a way to waterproof it after the connection between the light and harness is made. Maybe a long peice of shrink tube that covers the connector will do the job. While I was letting some epoxy cure for the next day I moved on to a little task on the flaps electrical connection. There is a side panel on the left side of the passenger seat that will cover up the flap motor. This creates a space behind it that I was able to install a two place terminal block to allow easy connection of the flap wires. This block will be screwed down to the floor that will eventually be permently riveted. I located the perfect spot and drilled for two #8 screws and riveted a couple of nutplates for them. 

I removed the terminal block and crimped the terminals on the two wires for the flap motor and the two wires from the VP-X.  Then I connected them for continued use of the flaps without the floor. 

I finished up a few fiberglass filling jobs as well. 

One fill job is on the bottom of the rudder where the fiberglass cap goes around the rudder cable attach horns. 

I have a lot of filling and sanding to go but I’m just going at it one step at a time. A few more standings on the wing tips and I’ll be able to call them done and be able to remove the wings.