Empennage fairings started

We've been slowly working on section 12 in parallel with other tasks for a number of months.

We started by following the instructions to match-drill and rivet one of the elevator fairings:

Elevator tip fairing match-drilled in place

Elevator tip fairing riveted in place

Of course, only after riveting this first fairing did we realize that we should have removed some of the gel coat in the gap between the parts to make a smooth joint with filler - so we'll need to somehow do that later.

We drilled and trimmed the horizontal stabilizer fairings to clear the elevators:

Horizontal stabilizer tip fairing drilled in place

Progressively trimming the HS tip fairing to clear the elevator

HS tip fairing gap to the elevator


We also did most drilling and trimming of the empennage fairing:

Empennage fairing sitting in place

Empennage fairing with some holes match-drilled

I managed to find and drill the other holes using either the backlight trick (though I had to reduce the garage's lights to 1% for that due to the opacity of the gel coat), or with the strap duplicator:

Using the strap duplicator to match-drill the VS to the empennage fairing




Empennage fairing with all holes match-drilled

I then trimmed all the fairing's edges per instructions, which for the most part matched the scribe lines pretty well.

Empennage fairing with trimmed edges

Empennage fairing aft portion match-drilled to the tailcone and VS

Gap joint underneath the horizontal stabilizer

After trimming the edges, there are still some gaps between the fairing and the skins, which will have to be filled later:

Gap between the empennage fairing and the horizontal stabilizer skin

Gap between the empennage fairing and the vertical stabilizer skin

Since we're installing Aveo Ziptips, we have no reason for a light underneath the rudder. Unfortunately Van's doesn't make a rudder bottom fairing for the -10 without the light protrusion (they do for other RV models), so we had to remove that:

Rudder bottom fairing, with the protrusion marked off for removal

Rudder bottom fairing without the light protrusion

Next steps will include closing that rudder fairing opening, filling the empennage fairing gaps, opening up and countersinking the empennage fairing holes for screws, working on the rudder and VS top fairings (which right now are mounted on the plane, so pretty hard to reach), and laying fiber to close the HS and VS fairing rear openings.

Time lapse:


Total empennage fairing rivets: 22
Total empennage fairing time: 19.2h

Finish kit is here!

The finish kit finally arrived!

Finish kit box in the garage

I was told this box was smaller than usual, probably due to delaying the engine mount (so it can be shipped directly to Barrett for modification)

We of course unboxed it soon after:

Taking out fiberglass parts from the finish kit box

Wheel fairing hat

Doors (or as someone on Facebook said, "oh joy, doors!")

Opening up sub-boxes

Landing gear legs (those are heavy!)

Finish kit box all opened up

And then took some time to inventory and organize everything:

Tons of hardware from the finish kit

Organizing and counting screws by size (why do they have to mix them to begin with?)

I now have little excuse not to keep making progress :)

Time lapse:


Cabin cover countersinking, overhead console started

After removing the cabin cover from the fuselage once again, I worked on the rivet backup strips, which are used to attach the cabin cover more securely to the adjacent aluminum skins:

All backup strips match-drilled and clecoed in place

The aft flange backup strip gets trimmed to fit with the side-skin flange backup strip:

Mid-side-skin backup strip and tailcone-forward-top-skin backup strip

I made a small jig to let me countersink the mid-side-skin and tailcone-top-forward-skin flanges, as well as check the depth while countersinking:

Countersinking jig for cabin cover flange holes

Using this, I then countersunk all flange holes:

Countersunk cabin cover attachment holes


In the mean time, I got a "little package" from Aerosport, with the overhead console plus servo controllers (for the vent tee servos):

Aerosport console, as it was delivered

Aerosport Console, Switch pod and one of the vents

The first step in installing it is, of course, finding the center of the cabin cover (which is also an important step in attaching the center brace). I tried two techniques on the front and back - to use some tape around the edge and then finding its center, then using the center of the center hole on the back, and tracing a line through the center of the door attachment recesses - they all matched up nicely with the tape, so I'm confident I got the right center:

Tape around the cabin cover aft flange for marking its center point

Marking the center of the forward part of the cabin cover

To make the overhead console flush with the tailcone/baggage bulkhead, it needs to be a little farther forward than the factory shape, so I cut off about 1/2" from the side flanges:

Aerosport overhead console, notched to fit in the cabin cover

With the center marking, we could also attach the center brace. It's positioned using a .032" shim below it (plus we had to slightly enlarge the skin opening for it, due to some "fat" welding at the base):

Spacer for positioning the center brace

Filing the skin brace opening a little wider

Center brace on position with spacer

We match-drilled the center brace to the cabin cover, using a drill guide to make sure all of them were at the same angle:

Center brace attached to cabin cover

The holes were then enlarged, and filled with small segments of aluminum tubing - which was initially slightly too long, so we countersunk it all the way until the screws were flush (which actually took a long time, partly because it took a lot of adjustment as the spacers were sliding down with the force of the countersinking):

Spacers in place, sticking out of the cabin cover (they were flush with the bottom side)

Spacers after countersinking

Done countersinking the spacers

Screws sitting flush on the cabin cover

Finally, we match-drilled the forward cabin rib holes into the steel center brace and angle:

Center brace bolted to panel rib

With this, most short-term steps for the cabin cover are done, and the main tasks left in this section are transparencies and actually final-attaching it to the fuselage. We're skipping the transparency steps that would happen now until after the panel is in place, and I even excluded the parts from the kit so I can get the Cee Bailey's version.

Time lapse:


Total cabin cover rivets: 0
Total cabin cover time: 55.6h

Cabin cover holes

I've been very slowly working on the remaining fuselage tasks - between shelter-in-place, losing my 15-year-old cat to cancer (I took July off to take care of and spend more time with him), and a lot going on at work, I've been far less productive on the plane than I'd have hoped.

R.I.P., friend

So, when time permitted, I started match-drilling the metal parts into the cabin cover. First, that involved using some spreaders to push it up/out flush with the skins:

Cabin cover clamped in place and pushed up against the tailcone skin

Cabin cover flush against the tailcone top skin

I match-drilled the side and tailcone top skins into the cabin cover:

Fuselage and tailcone skins match-drilled and clecoed to the cabin cover

Then the bulkhead side channels into the cabin cover door flanges:

Aft bulkhead side channel match-drilled and clecoed to the cabin cover

Wife match-drilling aft bulkhead side channel into cabin cover

And finally the bottom flange of the door opening into the mid-cabin deck and longerons:

Bottom door opening flange match-drilled and clecoed to the mid-cabin deck and longerons

To my own surprise and relief, the holes did line up nicely right at the center of the longeron flange :)

Next was the forward bulkhead side channels, including the bent top portion:

Forward bulkhead side channel match-drilled and clecoed to the cabin cover

Bent portion of the forward bulkhead side channel and gusset

The right side had almost no gap with the gusset in place, but the left side had a significant gap (meaning I sanded too much?). That doesn't matter much, since it gets filled with structural filler later:

Right bulkhead side channel, with no gap to the cabin cover

Left bulkhead side channel, with a significant gap to the cabin cover

It was then time to final-drill those holes to size (#12 on the bulkhead, #19 on the mid-cabin deck), which became significantly easier after I removed the forward top skin:

Door opening flanges final-drilled to the metal structure

And finally, I countersunk the holes for screws to sit flush (contrary to what the manual says, there is room for a countersink cage on the bottom flange):

Bottom door opening flange with countersunk holes for screws

Screw sitting flush on the bottom flange of the cabin cover door opening

Aft door flange holes after countersinking

Screws sitting flush against the aft door flange

The forward vertical flange is where the thickness difference is most apparent, and the countersink is clearly at a slant relative to the gel-coated surface, and those holes required me to at least hand-tighten the screws in order to see if they were really flush:

Screws sitting flush against the forward door flange


Screws sitting flush against the outboard side of the tapered flange

On the side that had a gap, I used a .125" piece of aluminum to make sure the countersink bit had some backing:

Aluminum backing for the countersink bit

I skipped the parts of this section involving the windshield and rear windows for now (I'll get the Cee Bailey's transparencies later), and I'm waiting for the Aerosport overhead console before I drill the center cabin brace. There's still a lot to do here - countersinking all the side and top holes, drilling holes for antennas, adding antenna ground planes, giving it a smoother finish in areas that won't be covered up, etc.

Time lapse:


Total cabin cover rivets: 0
Total cabin cover time: 39.9h