A long overdue update

Two months ago my wing kit got delivered. A few details on one of the boxes but everything inside was ok. A couple of hours of inventory and some extra time to place things on their storage area and I was ready to start building the second kit!.

I’m always surprised of how Van’s is able to fit some many things in such small boxes, and also give them enough protection that they have a good chance of surviving shipping.

Once everything was ready I started working on the spars. I’ll try to write about progress so far on a couple separated posts.

First Kit DONE!

Fiberglass work was actually pretty interesting and fun. I was a little bit afraid of how it was going to work, but I feel the results are good. I started by trimming the horizontal stabilizer tips and filling the rear part of them. Now after it is done, I feel I could have created a narrower gap between the tips and elevators.

Fitting the elevator and rudder tips was pretty simple. I used my heat gun to adjust them on some places, and a little bit more may be required once all parts come together on the airplane as I saw some minor misalignment once I riveted them in place.

The last piece I worked on was the rudder bottom piece. I decided to go with the flyleds DIY nav/led/landing lights kit. As a result I just bought the tailight/ strobe and fitted it in place. I also used epoxy to secure the support inside the fairing. The last thing I did was add extra fabric and epoxy inside at the join line between the too halves of each fiberglass tip fairing for a little more support.

The final result:

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Rudder – 2

Once the trailing edge was bonded I followed the instructions on how to back rivet the trailing edge. The process was very straightforward and took arround half an hour to complete. The results are decent, but I still need to find out why I’m leaving some marks on the skins that I did not get on the stiffeners. I think that it may be related to having the epoxy under the skin, but not sure.

The last step was to get the leading edge done. I started on the smaller part towards the tip of the rudder. It took me three tries to get it right, but once I built a small tool to bend inwards the 1/4″ on the border of the top skin I got pretty nice results.

Empennage

Finally after all the prep work I was able to order the empennage sub-kit. It was actually pretty easy and it only took 5 days to arrive from Oregon to Texas. It came packaged in two medium size boxes.

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Empennage as unloaded from the FedEx truck

After inspecting the boxes for damage I decided to open them and take a look at what was inside. It is really amazing how all the parts can fit on such a small pair of boxes.

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Box with all the big Aluminum pieces

Once everything was out, my wife and I spent around two hours and inventoried the parts. After everything was counted and in order only one small nut was missing. Van’s ask the builder to check the inventory within 30 days of receiving it to make sure that everything is right. If parts are missing they will get them to you.

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Bags of small parts

Everything was put back together, and will be stored in the next couple of days. I’m still waiting on some tools, and working on some small details in the shop before I can start the building process.