Horizontal Tail Fins (4 hr)

Trimming, drilling, deburring and riveting: all things that after 4 years I may have the hang of. Let’s go then.

On the back of the plane there are two fins to cover up the cabling and, I would think, add a bit of aerodynamic airflow. The forward fin clecos into one of the existing holes used for the stabiliser attach bracket – and surprisingly not yet riveted.

The cutout in the fin is not enough to clear the tail so there followed much snipping and re-fitting until I got something that would work.

Once I could get both sides in properly, I made sure that the fin was mostly aligned to the centre line of the fuselage and I backdrilled through the fin into the top skin for the first round of drilling.

For some reason this led to a bit more trimming being needed before I could go up to the final hole size.

I won’t rivet this until the control cables are done just in case I need to get back into the hole that it covers up – right now I need in there for the rudder cable fairing install. Note also that the stabiliser has to come off in order to rivet underneath it.

Another reason for not riveting this now is that the hole underneath the fin needs a fairlead for the elevator cable, so I removed the fin, drilled the holes in the plastic fairlead, pilot drilled onto the fuselage and then riveted.

What a horribly blurry picture. Anyway, note that the cable is off to the side in this picture so that it wasn’t in the way for drilling and riveting. When attached to the elevator it will be centered on the fairlead.

An earlier picture glossed over some minor excitement. This was the first time all of the tail components had been put on together and I have to say that I was more excited by the view than when the wings were on. Somehow the bird looks more ready to fly when she has her tail feathers on.

The rear fin slips under the forward fin and attaches to the aptly-named attachment angles. I laid out a rivet line on each of the angles and clecoed the aft most hole to some new holes I drilled into the stabiliser.

Slide them inside the forward fin, clamp them up against the sides and backdrill.

After riveting them in place I drew some lines on the fin to mark the position under the forward fin, and where to put some rivets, and trial fit the fin in place.

Looking good but the astute among you might be wondering how the rudder is going to move as the fin seems to be in the way. And, not pictured, the elevator won’t go up either because of the rudder. Not for today, but it looks like the rudder is going to have to shed some skin.

A pretty good today, felt like I showed some commitment to the project and I got things done.