Category Archives: Empennage

Added Canopy Pins

Van’s found an issue with the canopy pushing out during accelerated flight, so their solution was to add a pin to an existing canopy so it wouldn’t push out.  I thought it was going to be a real pain, but it wasn’t bad at all.  Took about 2 hours total time.  Here is the top of the pin in the canopy.

IMG_5802This is the bottom of the pin on the canopy.


Here is where it comes down and sits on the side of the fuselage.  Originally I thought that part sitting up was going to be a pain, but it’s really no big deal.


Start Your engines!!!

Today is the first engine start.  While it didn’t start the first time, it did start and ran beautifully.  I even taxied it down the ramp about 200 feet to wear in the brakes a little.  Pretty big RV grin now, I can’t wait to first flight.


Time to move her to the Hangar!

I’ve done as much as I can with the parts I have, so time to move her to the hangar and attach the wings and tail.

Here she is leaving the comforts of my garage for the last time.



Going down the road:


Unloading at the hangar in Hammond.

In it’s new hangar next to a RV-8 QB being built.  An uneventful trip, total time 1 hour with a ½ hour drive.  Great job to my helpers!


Pitch Autopilot

I went ahead and installed the pitch Autopilot.  Garmin sent a solid aluminum rod and it first had to be cut to size.  Then it needed a hole in the middle of it and then it had to be tapped to accept the fitting.  At first I couldn’t figure out how to drill the hole centered in the rod and Van’s suggestion was to use a lathe.  Perfect!  But that’s probably the only tool I don’t own, so I put the rod in a wooden block, clamped it on the drill press and carefully drilled the hole.  It worked perfectly.  Oddly enough the roll install kit comes with a rod that is already threaded.  If this didn’t work, I was going to order an additional rod and use it on the pitch, but it worked great.  Another skill learned!

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Rudder Redo

Since I had the time and was not happy with the rudder, I redid it.  The trailing edge came out perfect.  I used clecos and clamps to make sure the edge was straight.  After I let the Proseal cure for 24 hours, I cleaned it up and reclamped it, then let it cure for another 24 hours.




Counterweight on rudder

There was some talk of the screws on the rudder that hold the lead counterweight in place, coming loose.  Once the fairing is attached, there is no way to get in and hold the nut to tighten the screw.  So I did what some people suggested on VAF and used Proseal on the bottom of the counterweight, then once the screws were tightened down, I lathered the nuts up with Proseal.


Redoing Rudder

I decided to redo the rudder because I was not happy with the trailing edge.  I got all new parts except for the spar.  The advice I had was to fly with it and if it gave me issues, replace after the plane is flying.  However, since the fuselage kit won’t ship for at least another month, I went ahead and ordered the parts to fix it now.  Also if I did that, it would cost me a lot more because of the repainting, etc.  Besides, it gives me something to do besides yard work!

Missed Rivets

There were 2 places that rivets were not called for in the plans.  The first one is at the top of the tailcone on F-01407 and F-14131, which I checked with Van’s and they said I could go ahead and rivet the two pieces together.  Then the bell crank ribs, F01429R&L where they attach to F-01407.  I was able to squeeze the top two, but the bottom one is impossible to get to with the squeezer.  I have a call into Van’s to see if I can use a LP4-3 in it’s place.



Parts put away

Since I am finished with everything, except redoing the rudder, I am putting all the parts away safely and getting them out of the bedrooms.  Here the tailcone is stored safely up above the cabinets.

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J helped me wrap up all of the control services with bubble wrap, styrofoam and packing film.  I originally got the idea from KC.  The ailerons are on the top shelf, the flaps under that.  To the right are the elevators.  Since the counterbalance is on the outside, I put some weight on the opposite side to make sure they stayed put.  Bags of shot used in a diving belt worked good because there is no chance it will damage the skin.  I put the vertical stabilizer behind the flap and the flaps won’t move since the brackets come down through the wire shelving.  Then I put the wing tips on top of the elevators.  The only thing missing is the rudder, which will be built, again, in the next couple of weeks while I am waiting on the fuselage. photo 2 photo 4

Rudder Complete

Today I received a replacement order of pop rivets so I was able to finish redoing the skins on the rudder.  Since I didn’t originally bend the left skin, it was a little wavey.  I made the bend and redid all of the rivets and now it looks better, not perfect, but better.

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Fix for the Nutplate

Well of course it wasn’t a Van’s problem.  I had changed the nutplate from the K1000-06 to the K1100-06 and those nutplates stuck out more, which created the bend in the flange.  I removed the dimpled nutplates and added the correct ones, so I am confident the vertical stabilizer will fit better now.

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Nutplate on Vertical Stabilizer

When putting on the vertical stabilizer for pictures, the nutplates on either side – above the access panel were hitting up against the rear spar assembly.  It was causing a slight bend in the flange.  I reported this to Van’s today and they are checking on it.


Fixing Bend in Rudder

When I initially did the overlap on the rudder skins, I did not make the bend in the leading edge of the R-00901-L-1.  The finish did not look good, so I drilled out all of the pop rivets, which was easy and creased the leading edge with my tool from Cleaveland and it came out much better.

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I ran out of the AD-41-ABS, so as soon as Van’s gets them to me, I will finish this repair.

Fixing Bad Rivets

While I have some time, I am going over some things that are bothering me on the plane.  The rudder had 4 rivets that were sticking up too much.  Not sure how that happened, but it had to be fixed.  First I removed the fairing, then all of the rivets holding on the R-903 Top rib and removed that.  Then I removed the Counterweight to get to those problem 4 rivets.

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Then I riveted everything back together and am very happy with the result.


An airplane happening in our garage

We went ahead and attached the elevators, horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer and rudder just to get a picture.  It was definitely a “wow” moment and pause for celebration.  Now while we wait for the fuselage to be released, it’s time to catch up on some chores around the house.


Assembled Tailcone

We put the tailcone together to get some pics while we wait for the fuselage kit to be released.  I wish I could permanently attach everything, but getting it out of the garage and transporting it would be a problem.  That’s O.K. though because putting the tail together is very simple.

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Left Elevator

I bent the tab too far back.  I tried to straighten it out and redo, but was not happy with the finish.  Sooo… Van’s, Option 2.  Time to spend some more money on replacement parts.


Time to add blood

It is better if you move your fingers out of the way before you drill a hole.  In the end, I decided since I was building this plane, I would leave some of my DNA in the plane.  It’s all closed up in the horizontal stabilizer.