Got the emp fairing done, or at least as done as it needs to be, for now. It needs paint, and maybe another round of micro, but it looks OK as far as I can tell. I had to install the elevators to figure out the control horn cutout, but smart-monkey was in charge instead of impulsive dumb-monkey and I got them perfect on the first try. I got the fairing countersunk, then got the platenuts installed on the VS and HS. Oh, and packing tape sucks. The packing tape I had on the aluminum to protect it from epoxy sticking there did its usual trick and ripped apart when I tried to take it off. A little bit of cajoling with the heat gun and making sure to stop and pull it all off evenly helped. Then I took the tail pieces off, but of course, I forgot to do the lower emp fairings, which I currently can’t find. Next time.
Aircraft Spruce, for some reason, has twice screwed up getting me my foam that I need to do the empennage tips. OK, fine, plenty of other stuff to do. Like the empennage fairing. This is a fiberglass piece that fits over the place where the tail section is bolted to the fuselage. In theory, you have to pop this on there, drill the holes you need to drill, and fill in whatever gaps are left with flox or some other structural filler. The problem arises when the fit sucks so bad the part looks like it belongs on a different airplane. The only recourse at this point is to start hacking up the fairing and making it fit. Fortunately, fiberglass lends itself very well to this. I had to excise a whole section where the curve of the fairing conflicted with the vertical stabilizer and threw the fit of the whole thing into the toilet. The other thing that had to be done was the part had to be split into two pieces at the front vertical curve. Now it fits. Oh, also, there’s a scribe line around the edges of this part that’s a guide for trimming away the excess. Wish I’d seen that before I started butchering the fairing. With the excess cut away, the fit might have been good enough to just fill the gaps along the edges. I’m tempted to order another fairing and start over. Either that or I’ve bought myself a good 10 extra hours of fumbling around with multiple layups and a crapload of sanding.
But I have to go out of town for five days on business, to rainy, possibly snowy Vancouver BC, so the next chance I get to mess with this thing will be next Monday.
I need five uninterrupted hours to do the glassing. I’m not going to get that.
Not much today. I did the elevator tips, short of the wet work on the ends. I have to do the counterweight balances before I can rock those out. I’m in the middle of trimming the rudder bottom so it fits right on the flanges, but that’s not getting riveted until the connections are made for the strobe and pos light, and THAT’s not getting done until the light is installed. The rudder bottom will probably have to wait until just before the trip to the airport.
Last night was one of those “what’s there to do in an hour” nights. Enough time to get something done, not enough time to make a big ol’ mess.
I got some 2″ hose clamps a couple of days ago, so I decided to finalize the cabin vent tubing. OK, as final as anything is on this project. The 2″ black tubing connects the NACA vents on the side to the SteinAir eyeballs at the panel. You twist them one way, air blows out. Twist them the other way, nothing. Just like the ones in airliners. I tested them, they both work and they dont’ seem to leak, but I need to check that. Cold drafts (draughts?) at altitude are bad, because they’re an annoyance that can make a flight suck for a non-rugged-individualist passenger.
After that, I trimmed and drilled the fiberglass tip for the vertical stabilizer. These need to be closed at the back end with some kind of filler, but I didn’t want to make a fiberglass/epoxy mess at 9pm on a weeknight. The crap part is, the filler needs to be put in place while the tip is in place, because there’s no other way to ensure the proper shape due to the tip’s flexing when not pinned down. The VS might have to come off for this, but before it does, I’ll drill the hole necessary for the tail and strobe wires.
I’m trying to get back into the rhythm of doing something, anything, once a day. On my list of odds and ends has been the fiberglass empennage tips, and I’ve been avoiding it because I hate fiberglass and there was always something more important to do. This morning, I did the easiest of the 6 empennage fiberglass parts, the rudder tip:
Easy enough. Cut off the excess with a Dremel, drill, countersink for CS4-4 pop rivets, rivet on. There may or may not be later stages of filler, but at this point, it’s done, it’s on, and it won’t come off. The other tips will need a bit more work, since there’s trimming, and a need to reinforce them. The elevator tips need to be covered up and filled once the counterweights are drilled for balance. But then that’s DONE, and then it’s all about wiring and firewall forward.