Homepage/Builder's log for Blevins' RV7A Build


Ch 6 - Empennage
Ch 7 - Wing
Ch 8 - Fuselage
Ch 9 - Canopy
Ch 10 - Landing Gear
Ch 11 - Engine
Ch 12 - Cowling
Ch 13 - Paint
Ch 14 - Weight and Balance
Ch 15 - Flight Testing

Chapter 6 - Empennage

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Empennage - em​pen​nage | \ ˌm-pə-ˈnzh
From the French word empenner meaning "to feather an arrow"

In plain English - the tail section of the airplane consisting of the horizontal stabilizer, vertical stabilizer, elevator and rudder.

The Van's Aircraft RV7A is constructed from front to back in four sections, the empennage, wings, fuselage, and firewall forward (powerplant and propeller). 

So it begins......

Here are the empennage parts laid out:

First task - HS-609, Horizontal stabilizer rear spar stiffener.  You get two very raw pieces of aluminum, and have to shape and finish them equivalent to a "400 grit finish".  After about a useless ten minutes with a file, I got out the orbital sander and multi-tool. 
HS609Raw   HS609Finish

Next is the first rivetting job.  VA-146 Elevator support bearing.  Also the first priming job.  I've chosen to prime all the parts inside and out before final assembly.  Its optional for Alclad parts, but given this aircraft could be parked in coastal areas, I'm taking the extra steps now to avoid corrosion issues later.  I taped over the bearing pressed in the center of VA-146 and will leave that until final assembly to protect the bearing from dust and metal chips.

VA146Prime  VA146Prime2

The first 6 rivets, and a finished part.  Only about 15,802 rivets to go.  Learning moment - some parts are "pre-painted", particularly the HS-411 steel brackets on each side of VA-146.  If you are going to prime or paint over them, you have to scuff them up, or the primer will not stick.

VA146Rivet    VA146CompVA146Drill

After a lot more filing, trimming and fitting, the horizontal stabilizer starts to come together with HS-702, HS-603 and all of the ribs. 

HS702    HS7021






And finally, we have something that looks like it goes on an airplane.  Now to disassemble it all, prime it and put it back together permanently.



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