CHAPTER 62 – Closing the Tail
So there’s not much left to do at the tail anymore. While I can’t finalize the controls yet, I can do all the bolts to hold the vertical and horizontal stabilizers. Torque-seal everywhere, but there are some places I just can’t reach so I jotted a note to show that all the bolts are torqued. The enamel serves two purposes; showing if a fastener moves but also showing which bolts have been final torqued, which is why I needed the note. I also ran a pair of wires through the fuselage for the tail position light. Yes, I could probably have grounded one in the rudder or back in the tail cone, but this gives me a bit of redundancy at the expense of a few ounces of weight in the tail. Since I have been convinced to go with a constant speed prop due to altitude (better take-offs at 7000’), a little extra weight back here won’t hurt.
Now with everything bolted in place, it’s time to fit the fairing. Everyone complains about this, but I got a pretty good fit right off the bat. Once it was drilled and clecoed, there was a bit of bulging between some of the clecos, but not bad enough to worry about. Later I can put some plastic underneath and lay up a little resin or Hysol under the gaps and then sand the topside even.
The bottom fairings were more difficult; I could not for the life of me get them to match the contour. If I sanded one high spot, it inevitably became a gap. I finally ordered some rubber channel from Aircraft Spruce and marked a contour 1/16” from the stabilizer. The channel filled the gap nicely and I could then move on to adding nutplates, drilling and tapping the longerons, and installing the fairings with #8 screws. Naturally, I then looked at the RV-7 preview plans and saw that this is what Vans did on that model. Maybe I had already seen it and remembered it from my subconscious.
The last thing to do was fabricate and install the rudder stops. The last picture shows the right one clecoed in position. Not much to say here; they were primed and then pop-riveted into place.