Strobe Light Rewire

Time: 0.5hrs

Yesterday I finished up the rudder and VS, but the way the wire runs out of the VS and up into the top of the rudder top has bugged me for a while. I saw on Peter V’s site that he reran it inside the rudder and out through a grommet in the hinge area of the rudder. Unfortunately I can’t do that without drilling out rivets and pulling some of the rudder skin off. After a bit of thinking I came up with a compromise. The wire still runs outside past the hinge and into the top of the rudder, but it now runs through a grommet in the hinge area so that it’s a more direct connection into the VS and makes for a more secure run for the cable. The cable no longer has to flex back and forth around the hinge when the rudder turns and now works more like the elevator to HS connection. 

Drilled a 3/8″ hole below the last rivet in the hinge area of the rudder. I also added some sheathing to the wire just in case there is any rubbing against the metal. 

Cable has been rerouted through the grommet. 

The cable joins up in the same place in the VS. I’m still thinking  maybe I need to add one of the lightening hole mounts to be able to tie wrap the wire to it after the rudder is connected. I’ll have to see if you can even get in there with the rudder attached…. I don’t think so though. 

Vertical Stabilizer and Rudder Finalized

Time: 3.5 hrs

Today I finished sanding the rivets on the rudder and VS. I also finished up the Wiring for the connectors that attach the strobe/nav light through to the tail cone. The VS and rudder are now done. I also took a look into the poor alignment of the elevator and HS. I was pretty careful when I built the HS to make sure the ends  were level, but I guess I wasn’t careful enough. From the look of it one end it about 0.7 degrees off from level. That may be why the elevator was off. After a bit of deriveting and reriveting I managed to get it to 0.2 degrees.


Right side level

While left side is off a bit. 

Got it to 0.2

Strobe connector wired up. 

Strobe connected to the rest of the wiring. 

Strobe mounted and all wiring/connectors fit fine inside. 

Rudder with rivets filled, sanded and connectors done. 

Finalizing Empennage

Time: 2 hrs

Things done today:

  • Test fit vertical stabilizer onto fuselage
  • Test fit rudder to vertical stabilizer
  • Removed top of rudder and seal with sikaseal
  • Filled rivets in vertical stabilizer and rudder

Well I thought I had a photo of the vertical stabilizer fit to the fuselage, but I guess my phone didn’t take the picture. Oh well… At first it looked like the vs was going to fit and I know a few other builder had commented that they had some problems with fitting the vs.  I was trying to horizontally slide the rear of the vs into the mount on the back of the fuselage, but the way the skins taper in prevented it from fitting. I then tried sliding the vs down vertically from the top of the opening and with a little effort the vs fit nicely on to the fuselage.  Yay, big relief. 

I didn’t have enough ceiling height to test fit the rudder while the vs was on the fuselage so I took off the vs and did the fitting on the bench. I was mainly concerned that the brackets might not line up or that the rudder may be tight to turn, everything fit fine. 

Next I removed the rivets from the top of the rudder so that I could apply some sikaseal inside so that water doesn’t get in. I also removed some of the primer so the sikaseal would stick better. 

All sealed up and no mess leaked out from the top. I also enlarged the hole for the strobe wires so the connector that I’ll be installing will fit through. 

Filled all the rivets in the vertical stabilizer and rudder… now just need to sand them. 

Rudder is done

Time: 4.75 hrs

Yay!!!! Rudder is finished. I also fitted and riveted the composite end piece. I had noticed that other builders had an issue getting the rivet gun along the bottom near the control horn plate. They came up with ingenious ways of getting the rivets pulled. I just left the plate off until the skin was riveted in place.

 This is me happy to have finished another piece of the plane. Can you see how happy I am?  
The part to the right is the one I left unriveted until the skin was done. I just made sure to cleco the area that needed to be held together. 

End piece fit me riveted. Don’t forget the pull wire for the strobe.  

Grommets for VOR antenna wire

Finally received the grommets for the VOR antenna wire. I purchased these from Waytek ( along with some other supplies. It was a quantity 50 minimum order so I hope I need to use this in a lot more places. The grommets are 3/8″ panel and 1/8″ bore diameter so the RG400 wire fit very well. Glad I waited for the right part and didn’t try to fix it with adding heat shrink to the cable.


Rudder skin

Time: 1.5 hrs

Did a test fit of the elevator skin then deburred, cleaned and primed the inside of the skin. Everything fit well, only a few holes needed to be drilled out. Will rivet it later this week after the guys at the Airplane Factory check my work so far. 

Electrical work

Time: 2 hrs

The RG400 cable finally arrived from Aircraft Spruce so I ran that through the grommets in the VS and terminated the cable. I need to add something to where the wire runs through the grommets so that it fits a bit tighter. Maybe some PVC tubing or heat shrink will do. Also did a final test fit of the VS skin, cleaned, deburred, and primed the inside of it.

On the rudder I crimped on the Faston connectors I purchase from Aircraft Spruce for the strobe connection. I want to keep things simple so I want to use the same connectors for most of the wiring (where applicable). I found Faston joiner terminals on Mouser Electronics ( which I think will work well. I’ll just put some heat shrink over them and that should also make sure the connectors stay together and insulate them, not that they seem like they will be coming apart. I mounted the strobe to the rudder tip with some stainless steel bolts I found at Bolt Depot ( which is a great site for finding all sorts of bolts. The bolts are tapered so they fit into the counter sunk strobe light screw hole. All this will have to come apart when I fit the tip to the rudder, but wanted to get this done while I could.

IMG_1685 IMG_1686