Working at the back (2.5 hr)

The last post ended on a downer but the good news is that I think there is no need to worry as where the two parts of the tail meet there are some washers that should sort the spacing out. At least I think so.

First off, during the week I got an answer from Zenith over the size bolt to use on the front torque tube bearing; they couldn’t find it on the drawings either but they had a plane hanging around that they could just go measure. So I bolted the torque tube bearing to the fairlead.

Note that the bolt heads go inside so as not to interfere with the rudder cables.

I realised that there is are a pair of rudder fairings to install that should really have been done before the top skin went on (as in the video) but can still be done (according to the photo guide) while you have access to the top hole where the elevator cables will come through. So, following the photo manual I mounted the rudder horn by just putting a bolt through the mounting location

To make sure I got this the right way up I held the rudder up to it and I was overcome with a little nostalgia to think that this part that I made almost 4 years ago was nearly ready to become part of a plane. Aw, a tear?!

I then searched around for something to use to simulate the rudder cable. In the end I used some 5-wire electrical cord and duct tape.

This lets you see the approximate angle that the cable will come out in and lets you orient the fairing appropriately.

I trimmed the bottom of the fairlead so that it fits snug up against the bottom of the skin and then clamped a fairlead behind and marked some rivet locations (there are some more not shown)

After pilot drilling the holes I trimmed both pieces to roughly match each other and trial fit the fairing to the skin, drilling the rivet holes into the skin.

I’ll tidy those pieces up before final install, I promise. The last thing to do is to file the groove in the fairlead (hmmm, no picture of this) so that it is angled to match the cable coming out. Once again, despite all the tools in the hangar I could not find any way to do this. So I set it aside for another day and went back to the tail.

Before that though, Teri and I did a little rearranging so that we could move the plane forward to give more room at the tail. We also hit upon the idea of getting the nose on the ground by putting a saw horse under the back – so obvious I don’t know why we didn’t think of it a long time ago (and before wasting money on a large bag of rice that wasn’t heavy enough).

The holes in the fuselage were already at A5 so I opened the holes on the HT attach brackets and clecoed them to the fuselage.

I then carefully lifted the horizontal stabiliser into place and lined it up with the brackets. A quick go with a spirit level and everything looks like it will fit just nicely.

A couple of the brackets slightly overlapped the nose skin so I trimmed (or rather hacked) a corner off.

Next I took the HT attachment gussets and lined them up near where they will be installed and marked an area on each which needs to be trimmed for the stabiliser to clear the top of them.

I did this for each of the four and trimmed to size (it took a few iterations).

I removed the stabiliser and clecoed the gussets in place and opened to size A5. It was at this point that I noticed that the two front gussets were on the wrong side. I had failed to notice that there was a left and a right. I had lucked out at the rear but the front two should have been measured and trimmed on the opposite side. I will be ordering two new ones on Monday!

Been making a few mistakes here and there, seems like I am going way too slow as it is but maybe I need to slow down some more from here on out. Anyway, it was pretty exciting to see the fuselage with some tail feathers on, hopefully have all three parts on in a couple of weeks.