vertical stabilizer


I started with this so I would have the chance to improve my skills working with aluminum, something I don't have much experience with. The tail structure is very simple and straightforward and gives a good warm-up to the more advanced structures of the rest of the airframe. At least that's what I hope for.



Above is the layout of the stabilizer framework. It's pretty simple. I drew the dimensions out on a sheet of paper on the workbench and aligned the pieces to that.


I started skinning while the frame was still clecoed. Here I was drilling pilot holes into the ribs and into the hinge. The skin is hanging over the edge of the table.

I had read on some builder sites that their stabs had come out warped after getting the skin on them. After I had drilled one side of the frame through the left side skin, I laid the skin on the table and drilled through several holes so I could cleco into the bench to hold the assembly flat while I pulled the skin down on the right side to pilot drill into the ribs. The blue hash marks on the inside of the skin mark where I drilled into the bench so I could find the holes easily.

After the spars were cleaned, de-burred, and primed, I put the tip ribs on and started to fit the fiberglass tip. Up to this point I had not drilled the tip rib through the skin.

I started fitting the fiberglass tip after I had the skin clecoed on. After the tip was fitted, my son and I started the fun part, riveting.

Here's my son Chris taking a break to admire our riveting progress, and of course, the obligatory test fitting on the bones of the horizontal stabilizer!