Empennage tip fairings

As i write this, it's already August. We both just got back from our holidays, which were of course not very productive rv-wise ;-) This update covers lots of work done before we went on vacation. Also, we've been very busy dealing with vendors and suppliers in the U.S. as well as with UPS but more on that later. Anyways, the crates should be shipped by Van's yet this week and we hope they don't take too long to arrive.

After the rudder tip had been completed, we matched the VS top tip to the rudder top. The VS tip then was riveted as well. For the face, a rib was made from balsa wood and epoxied into the tip fairing. Finally everything was plastered with microballoon slush filler to be sanded evenly later on.

You can find out how we constructed/attached the balsa rib to the horizontal rib further down.

The last three pictures were taken with the new K750i cell phone from Sony Ericsson. Forgot the camera at home but that did the job very well. 2 megapixel cam with autofocus about the size of a fingertip!

Next up were the elevators. But before the fairings could be installed, we had to work out our weight bug of course...

We balanced the left elevator and checked how much weight was required. We ended up adding exactly 200g to the wrongly grinded counterweight.

We decided to make up a mix of epoxy and leadshot as many other builders we have found on the internet have done with similar goofs. We drove 3 screws halfway into the current weight to give the epoxy something to hold onto. Additionally a balsa rib glued into the fairing should prevent anything from moving backwards in the unlikely event that something comes loose. We'll always have an eye and ear for this area during inspections.

The leadshot we got from a model airplane retailer ;-)

Mixing the epoxy with the leadshot... Unusually heavy, but intended that way :-)

Fits nicely.

In the next picture, you can see the fairing already put on as well as having been glassed to the aluminum. For the inside of the counterweight arm, we decided to close it up nicely as well, for aerodynamic, aesthetic and bad weather reasons. We made a strip out balsa wood for each web of the rib which is glued on and holds onto the rivet shop heads via cutouts.

On top of these strips mounts a plate of balsa cut to shape. This forms the base for the epoxy filler then going into all cracks/levelling the surface.

To make sure the strips hold well to the rib web, lots of clamps came in handy. The painted rib was scuffed and then the balsa glued on with 5' epoxy which proved to hold up very well...

And the second fairing is on (after having grinded the correct weight down per plans).

We're still experimenting with how to speed up the process of glassing and sanding. Wether to put on way too much filler and then grind everything down, or to use many repetitive steps with less filler to get a good result. Anyway, we want it to be beautiful, so it doesn't look like it will be done by fillering twice only ;-)

The frosting's on the cake...

Then comes a lot of sanding. Note the dust on the floor. Probably 1/4" thick!

But it pays off in the end... that's just after the first pass... More to follow.

Now to the rant about UPS.
First, i have to say, we've always got our stuff and that being in decent condition.
BUT with a high rate of delays or detours. Starting with some tools that took a round trip to Swaziland last December because they couldn't tell Switzerland apart. This time we ordered lots of stuff from different vendors, the biggest shipment being 4 packages from Aircraftspruce in California to be delivered to Van's in Oregon which would then pack it with our QB crates.
Of course there was a reference to our builders number with some text as well as Vans' address on the address label. But someone, who must be hardly literate, took our builders number as the destination zip code... So everything went on its way to Humnoke, Arkansas 72072!!! Fortunately there's online tracking, so you can see something being on the wrong path.
But when you call them, you end up in a long queue, then they are unable to hold back a package at a processing facility and recheck the label :-( It must be misdelivered to Humnoke first, before they reroute it, thereby losing a couple of days. Long story short, our kit could be on it's way for about a week already... I ain't no business manager, but it looks like a brighter (and maybe more expensive) workforce could pay off ;-)

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