Research: empennage mods

Another two pieces of research on mods the empennage I've been looking at are fitting a camera to the top of the vertical stabilizer and adding rudder trim.

Having flown Cessna 182s with proper rudder trim, I'm spoiled enough that I want one as well :)
I've found several other builders who added rudder trim (link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4). It appears that most of them use the same recipe, originally conceived by Don Orrick, which involves adding a servo inside the rudder to control a rudder trim tab (video of it working):

Image from
Another alternative is the method proposed here, which doesn't add a tab, but rather cuts the trim out of the rudder material itself. Yet another alternative is that offered by Aerosport, which isn't electric but requires no modifications to the rudder itself - it acts directly on the controls. Skunk Works also has a kit which IS electric (they have manual and electric options) and requires no external modifications, so I'll probably get in touch with them to request more info before deciding.

As for the camera, my ideal setup would be some kind of "box" at the top of the vertical stabilizer where I could fit any camera I want (thus allowing for an easy upgrade to newer/better cameras as those become available), yet with the lens sticking out enough that the image doesn't cut off at the bottom by the stabilizer cap. I've seen several builders who modded the cap by adding a hole and molding around a specific camera (link 1, link 2):

Image from Gaylon's kit log
I don't like that, as I really want to add be able to use the GoPro 15, Contour 7 or Virb 9 as they come out in the future, so I'm still looking for another solution (and as a last resource I can design my own).

Another issue is how to run the wires to the camera (at least for power, though if I do use the G3X as I intend to, it supports video input as well). Apparently the easy way is good enough, which is to drill holes through the ribs and run conduits through them, with or without reinforcement plates around those (link 1, link 2). An alternative is to use the lightening holes and fasteners.


  1. What did you decide on for your rudder trim?

    1. No rudder trim in the rudder itself, and instead using a spring-loaded trim in the cockpit - something like this:


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