Tailcone

06/24/2011
Hours: 2.5
Tailcone: 99.3
After getting some advice about access not being a big problem and realizing I would need as many 3/32 clecos as possible for the wing kit, I decided to finish the last pieces of the tailcone that I said in the last post I would wait until assembly to do. That means that the aft top skin is now riveted in place and after I get some more primer shipped here, I'll get the battery and bell-crank bolted in place.  Next steps will be to find a place to store the tailcone.  It's not going to fit through the door to get into the "airplane room" where all the other pieces are waiting.  I'm thinking I'll either build a loft in the garage to store it or stand it up on its fat end on a platform in a corner.  We'll see.
Other than that, I am happy to report that we have ordered the wing kit and expect it sometime in early to mid August.  Until then, I may do some things like buy and install the static air ports, maybe install a NACA vent, maybe order an autopilot servo bracket and install it, an external battery port.  Or maybe I'll do nothing.  Time will tell.

Tailcone

06/20/2011
Hours: 5.0
Tailcone: 96.8  --  Complete**

We're going to call the tailcone complete at this point.  Technically, the aft top skin still needs to be riveted on and some parts bolted to the frame, so according to the plans, I'm not quite finished with the tailcone.  However, the forward top skin is intentionally left off until we're ready to attach the tailcone to the fuselage (according to the plans) and I've decided to also leave off the aft top skin for the time being to allow better access for things which will be mounted back there later.  For example, there are some sensors for the avionics which will go back there and some wire runs for lights, etc.

In other news, I mentioned in an earlier post about a spot I dented in one of the stiffeners.  I decided to reinforce this portion of the stiffener and there are pictures of before and after.
I've also had an inspection from an EAA Tech. Counselor.  Ralph Hoover of EAA chapter 186 (among other places) came to the house and spent a couple of hours looking over my build so far.  His comment was that it was above average workmanship and that he wishes he saw more work of my quality.  That made me feel good.  I'd prefer "excellent" workmanship, of course, but considering I'm a first-time airplane builder, I'll gratefully accept "above average".

One of my concerns was the "oil-canning" in one spot in one of my elevators (that's the cha-chunk sound like when you squeeze an oil can) but he thought nothing of it.  I suppose even I knew it was fairly mild.  And that corroborates the comments I was given from the Van's tech support people (Van's are the people who make the kit).  Another concern I had was that the trim tabs aren't perfect because some of the hinge joints are not perfectly aligned.  This causes a little squeaking on one side and a little movement where normally there shouldn't be.  Ralph felt that it was fine, that I should just pull the hinge pins and do what I can to straighten any of the joints and to just keep my eye on those joints after we're flying to make sure no cracks develop.  He didn't seem to think they would develop cracks, rather, he said after I start flying, in time they would wear a little and loosen up naturally, but just to be aware and keep an eye on them.
Then he invited us all to the airport for a bar-b-que and so I brought Zach, Daniel and Audra with me.  While there, Ralph showed us his RV-7a (which has been flying for a few years).  It's a real nice airplane, too.  Zach took a real interest in the engine area (the cowling was off) and asked a ton of questions, which Ralph very patiently and enthusiastically answered.  It was a lot of fun.  Scott and Laura were on a weekend trip, so they missed out.
At this point then, what I need to do is order the wing kit which I'm planning to do this week (or maybe next week, probably) and then start researching some of the options available.  Several things get mounted in the wings like auto-pilot servos and pitot tubes and landing lights, etc, so I have to know what those things are and in some cases have them in hand when I start building the wings.

Tailcone

06/05/2011
Hours: 8.5
Tailcone: 91.8
Making progress toward closing up the tailcone.  The tail section where the empennage attaches is just about complete.  Some tough sections in there getting a bucking bar into tight places.
And just a few extra pictures.  One of Audra wearing my shoes and the other of Audra preparing for when the pool gets set up (which it now is).  She doesn't like getting her face wet so thought she'd practice in a big bowl of water.