Trevor & Dewey's RV-7 Construction Log

Empennage - Fiberglass Tips

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Date: 10/11/2009
Task: Started fitting the fiberglass tips on the HS, VS, Rudder, and Elevators.

I will start by making it known that fiberglass is really a PAIN to deal with. Its messy and takes a lot of work to get shaped and fitted correctly. I started by fitting the HS tips. There were no holes in the skin so I had to measure in 5/8" from the edge and mark a straight line. I then measured in 0.5" from the leading edge and marked in 1.5" intervals to get 4 holes. I drilled the skin #45, enlarged to #40, then match drilled the fiberglass tips. Using cleco clamps, I clamped in a 0.5" x 4.5" aluminum strip that I match-drilled for reinforcement behind the tips.



Next was the vertical stabilizer tip. The skin had predrilled holes, which made it a lot easier. I had to trim the bottom flange up to 0.5" to ensure a proper fit with the lip against the skin. I then fabricated two pieces of 0.32 reinforcement strips for the pop rivets to go through.


Lastly, I traced the VS tip onto 3/32" balso wood I purchased at a local hobby shop and cut on the bandsaw. Next I will mix up some of our West Systems epoxy to glue in place the balsa wood and reinforcement plates. It only needs to hold long enough to lay a few layers of fiberglass down and hold the slurry of 3M glass bubbles and epoxy mixure for filler.