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. 

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Connector Wiring

Time: 2 hrs

While the epoxy was drying on the vertical stabilizer I started wiring up a few connectors. I decided to use TE mini CPC connectors. The connectors are sealed and lock together. They come in a few pin arrangements but so far I’m just using some 4 pin ones in the VS, 5 pin for the pitch trim and flaps, and 9 pin for the control sticks. I bought these from online-components.com. Their site looks pretty minimal and I was a bit hesitant to order from them, but the items arrived on time and it was exactly what I ordered. Their prices were also much better then Digikey or Mouser (with the exception of the pins… Mouser had the best price for those). This stuff adds up quick so it’s always good to shop around. I was hoping I could finish up most of these connectors, but I ran out of heat shrink labels so I need to wait on putting on the connectors until I can label the wires. 


Some pins done on the tail cone. These are for the tail strobe.


I decided to put in a connector between the VS and the rudder so I can take the rudder off if ever needed. 


All connectors done for the vertical stabilizer/rudder. I put in a female coax for the VOR. 


Put pins on the control stick wires. I’ll be using a 9 pin panel mount connector that will mount under the control stick. The other side will connect to the pigtails of the control stick grips. 

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. 

Vertical stabilizer is done

Time: 2 hrs

Finished the vertical stabilizer today. Will have to get a picture. It came out pretty good. A few small spots that the skins do sit perfectly flat on the frame, even though I checked that all the flanges were level on the frame. 

Primed the the front hinge area of the elevator. I’ve been using the protective plastic to mask the parts I don’t want to get primer on. It’s been working pretty well. Just celco the parts, use a soldering iron to trace the edge of the part then uncleco and remove the plastic. 

 Here’s the process I used for the hinge area on the elevator skins. 

1) Celco the parts


2) Use soldering iron the trace the edge

  

 3) Remove celcos and plastic. Now just prime. You get primer only where you need it.

 

Finishing wiring

Time: 1.25 hrs

Finished up the wiring on the horizontal and vertical stabilizer so that I can put the skins on. I ended up using the tefzel wire I purchased instead of the wire provided with the kit.

I put some heat shrink over the connector for the VOR so that it doesn’t come loose. There’s really no way to get in here again if there’s a problem other then drilling out the rivers and removing the top rib so I don’t want anything to come apart in here. 
   

All the wiring done for the VOR and strobe. I used a 4 wire 20 gauge tefzel wire for the strobe and RG400 for the VOR. Evertything fit well using the 1/8″ diameter grommets. 

 

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 (www.mouser.com) 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 (www.boltdepot.com) 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.

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VOR antenna

Time: 1.25 hrs

Drilled out and filed the holes in the VS skins for the VOR antenna elements. I used a hole punch to punch a hole through some masking tape and used that on the VS rib so that I had a rough idea of where the hole needed to go. I then clecoed to skin to the frame and marked the holes and then did the same for the other side. After a bit of filing I finally got the antenna elements to fit.

 

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Hole punch and masking tape

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IMG_1644

IMG_1645

That should get me close to the correct size hole to drill out

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Skin clecoed and marked

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Allen key hole lines up and antenna element fits

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Still needs a little clean up.