Empennage fairings part VI

I was either in class or studying for half the weekend, but I got a little bit done on the empennage fairings. I ground down the elevator tip fairings until I got the shape pretty much how I wanted it – they turned out not bad at all. I sanded them down to 320 grit once I got the shape right.

This is why I hate working with fiberglass – dust everywhere.

I removed the horizontal stabilizer from the airplane and laid it out on the bench to receive its fairings.

Trimmed the stabilizer tip fairings to fit and drilled and clecoed them in place:

The plans call for a minimum gap of 1/8" between the elevator counterweight and the fairing – mine is more like 3/16" in the neutral position, or slightly less when the elevator moves through its range of travel. Good enough. I did open up the other side a bit so the gap would be even on both sides of the stabilizer.

You can also see where I'll need to build up the outboard part of the stabilizer fairing to match the contour of the elevator.

I made some ribs for the stabilizer tips out of 3/16" balsa sheet. This reminded me a lot of how I used to build model airplanes as a kid. Actually balsa is really nice to work with. Maybe I'll take up model building again someday… nah.

I epoxied the ribs into the fairings and left them to dry overnight.

Since it was fairly nice outside, I decided to mask off the elevator tips and shoot a coat of primer. This will help me find the low spots and imperfections.

Not too bad. I got the look I was going for, and they turned out pretty nice. I will probably come back and do some more filling and sanding in order to work out a few minor imperfections, but overall I'm pleased.

Before I turned in, I managed to get the tail fairing nutplates riveted to the stabilizer.

All this work on fiberglass fairings, and this guy made his out of aluminum. I can't even comprehend the amount of skill that takes.