Aft Fuselage,  Blog,  Build Log,  Empennage

Empennage Completion

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve made a post so to make up for it I’m including lots of pictures because, well…lots of words are boring. Something about the holidays makes me want to be unproductive in all manner of activities except for those involving food so I didn’t have much motivation to keep up with the site. I did, however, finish the empennage back in October:

Dad cleco-ing the bottom skin to the stiffeners
Two right stiffeners!

A quick note about the picture above. The -L and -R stiffeners for the bottom skin look *very* similar and as it turns out Vans sent me two -R stiffeners. They had the “-L” and “-R” labels, but they weren’t actually -L and -R. I’ve since seen at least one other builder have the same issue, so make sure to check when doing your inventory. A quick call and the very gracious support staff shipped me a -L stiffener no questions asked. Vans really is a great company to work with!

The very important job of babysitting the bulkhead
Mocking up the aft fuselage by whatever means necessary
Side skins on!
I decided to wrap the wiring harness in this flex tubing for added protection, plus it just looks cleaner. That made it a tight fit through the bulkheads!
I’m not super happy about this static kit. The method for attaching the hose to the outside air inlet seems…unsubstantial.
Gotta sign and date your work!
Right top side skin going on
Both top side skins on and riveted!
All closed up with all wiring runs completed.
Attaching the horizontal stabilizer
Vertical stabilizer attached
Big ol’ rudder attached
Ladies and gentlemen, we have the back half of a flying machine!

It really pains me to leave all that shiny aluminum covered! I had a Technical Counselor from my local EAA chapter, #485, come pay me a visit over the weekend to assess my work; all-in-all he was pleased with both the work and the preparation/priming:

I’ll take this review!
Tech counselor checking it out

He did recommend going ahead and priming the exterior. I’ve gone back and forth on that because on one hand I figure if I take it to a professional paint shop they’re going to strip any priming that I do which will add time and cost to the paint job. On the other hand, lately I’ve been strongly considering painting it myself and if that’s the route I go I might as well go ahead and prime everything. I’ve got time, so I won’t rush the decision. Those of you who have painted your own plane(s), I’d love to hear from you: is it worth doing yourself?

Speaking of having time, the next sub-kit should be shipping any day now! Toward the end of the empennage sub-kit my Dad made regular trips over to help me with the build. In order to keep the monotony down and his interest up I decided to skip the wing kit and go straight to the fuselage. I figure there’s enough variety in that to keep the momentum going for him and by the time we’re done with that the wing kit will just be one of those things we’ve gotta push through and get done. Can’t wait to get started!

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