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Empennage

Bending the elevators

My plans to get the fuel tanks completed before the tank sealant expiry date have turned out to be somewhat unrealistic. I estimate that I will be a couple of months away from sealing the tanks (based on current progress). Consequently, I have turned my attention back onto finishing the empennage and dusted off the elevators.

I set up the bending brake and taped some 4mm dowel to the inside of the trailing edge. Here is a photo of my set up.
Elevator bending brake set up
As a lot of other builder’s have described this was surprising difficult to bend. As the trailing edge was bent around the dowel to prevent a sharp crease from forming, I found that the amount of force required increased. The idea was for the trailing edge to be bent enough that the skin sits flush against the spar without any external force. I could get it to within a couple of cm’s of this but not further. I eventually removed the dowel and carefully bent the trailing edge using the palm of my hands. This got me a little closer but still not enough. I have heard of other builders using their squeezers to bend this edge once the elevator is riveted together. I’ll do a bit more research before deciding what to do. For now, it is bent enough to match drill so I’m continuing on.

I then clecoed the skeleton onto the skin and match drilled all the holes. Here are the photos of both elevators.
One elevator match drilled
And here is the other
So now both elevators are ready for deburring, then riveting.

Build time 3 hours.

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About gstrack

Husband and father of 2. Control & Instrumentation Engineer. Flying nut. Gadget geek.

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