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N264JP - The Tail Feathers

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Tail Feathers

Here we are at the start of this project. I started this endeavor November 91 in a small garage in California City, CA. Cal City is a small town just north of Edwards AFB in the high desert of southern California and miles from anywhere.. It's pretty much in the western side of the Mojave Desert which is to say it's pretty desolate. Below is a picture of the shop as it stood when I began the Boredom Fighter.

Note the minimal tools here. Big table, and a bench sander. The ribs are actually from the Acro Sport II that I had started at an earlier date.

rudderwetbend.jpg (139138 bytes) Layout and lamination of the rudder trailing edge. First real part for the BF. The tail feathers were carefully drawn on a 4x8 sheet of plywood then built on top of the ply. 
rudderjig.jpg (145163 bytes) This is the rudder laid out on the table. The L-shaped blocks are used to assemble the rudder, vertical and horizontal stabs, and the elevators. Since all these surfaces are symmetrical and not flat, you have to build them off the table surface. 
rudderinjig.jpg (124119 bytes) Here you can see how the rudder is loaded into the fixture. Once you figure out the drawings, it's really pretty simple. These are only a small number of the total clamps you'll need, both 2 and 4 inch. 
rudder_sideview.jpg (118520 bytes) Side view of the rudder loaded into the fixture. It's all clear now....
rudderdone.jpg (131015 bytes) Finished Rudder and first major assembly!
vs_wetlbend.jpg (124743 bytes) This is the wet bend of the spruce parts for the vertical stab leading edge. Soak in water for a long time then bend and clamp. When dry, laminate and shape as required. 
le_cutter.jpg (115192 bytes) This shows the leading edge shaper I made from a razorblade and a 2x4 block. The blade is shaped to the leading edge shape and the block is split to accept the blade, then clamped together. This is then pulled across the leading edge to form a consistent curved shape. The trusty "Workmate" has proved indispensable and is still around today, none the worse for the wear.
vsframe.jpg (147107 bytes) Here's the vertical stab frame loaded into the fixture. 
vsinjig.jpg (145099 bytes) More of the vertical stab in the fixture. As I mentioned, you can never have too many clamps!
rudder_vs_assy.jpg (137161 bytes) Completed rudder and vertical stab. A big moment. 
elevatorotbdedge.jpg (161010 bytes) Here's the outboard edge of the first elevator being laminated. 
elevatortrailingedge.jpg (157408 bytes) Elevator trailing edge glued for laminating. The T/E was a lamination of four strips of spruce. 
elevatorparts.jpg (142820 bytes) After the outboard and trailing edges were complete, the inboard and spar get cut (routed) and are in the process of being fitted.
elevatorinframe.jpg (137534 bytes) First elevator frame in the fixture. 
Elevatoralmostdone.jpg (148222 bytes) Once the major parts are glued, the elevator is removed from the fixture, joints cleaned up, and gussets applied.
elevatordone.jpg (137043 bytes) The first elevator is complete and the second is going together. Outboard and trailing edges were shaped the same way as the vertical stab. 
HSleadingedge.jpg (161445 bytes) Horizontal stab leading edge gets the lamination treatment. At six feet, this is the largest part of the tail assembly. 
HSframe.jpg (136612 bytes) HS in the process of assembly. You can see that all the tail feather parts are assembled in the same manner. 
HSinfixture.jpg (140161 bytes) Another view of the HS as it progresses.
HSalmostdone.jpg (153432 bytes) Almost done with the HS. Just finishing the application of gussets.
HSfinishing.jpg (140861 bytes) Finishing the stab. Note the Dremal tool which proved invaluable. I thing I went through two of these during the course of the project. 
tailfeathersdone.jpg (136254 bytes) Completed tail assembly woodwork! On to the fuselage!
tailfeatherscontrolhorns.jpg (159569 bytes) Tail feather control horns in work. The metal work has been done and the birch ply is being laminated to the sides per plans.
fuse33.jpg (151011 bytes) The stabilizers are mounted for fitting. You can also see the hinges that are used. Instead of using the machined parts called for in the plans. I substituted AN eyebolts which have proved to work well.