CHAPTER 55 - Fitting the Tail

The first photo shows the horizontal stab laid on the fuselage, which has been carefully leveled both fore-and-aft and side-to-side. Then the level of the stab is checked side-to-side and adjusted, if necessary. In my case, the shims (photo 2) were sufficient, no other leveling was needed. Those shims simply raise the stab up off the rivet heads in the fuselage structure.

Next, the stab is leveled fore-and-aft using a long level and shims that the instructions call for. Once the stab is leveled (and side-to-side rechecked), the rear spar is clamped and drilled to the fuselage. The third photo shows the rear spar after drilling.

Next the vertical stab is put into place and centered. This is done by using a tape measure to make sure the distance between the stab tips and the vertical stab tip is equidistant (see photo 4). Fore-and-aft centering was accomplished by centering the rear spar on the rear bulkhead and then using a laser level to paint a line from the front of the fuselage and centering the leading edge on that line. Once everything was right, the fin was clamped (photo 5) and drilled.

I discovered that the distance between the spars was 1/8" longer than what the fuselage would accept (I checked the plans, both fuselage and fin are correct, so I'm guessing the plans changed between when I got the empennage kit and when I got the fuselage kit), so I added 1/8 bar stock shims (next two photos). The final step was to drill the tail tie-down in place (next two photos). The last picture shows the completed installation. The fin was then removed so as not to interfere with the garage door.