Finish Work

Empennage Misc

I started off the night adding some additional fiberglass to the vertical stabilizer tip. Unfortunately with my hands messy with resin I didn’t grab any photos.

Next thing on the docket was to trim the empennage fairing in two places. First I trimmed about half an inch behind the elevator horns to provide clearance. I didn’t need that much, but its a bit tough to get on and off so a little extra was worthwhile.

I also trimmed about a quarter inch from under the front portion that curls under the horizontal stabilizer. This was purely to make it easier to get on and off.

With the empennage fairing almost compete, I turned my attention to the rudder bottom fairing.

I put it in place quickly to check the clearance with the tailwheel arm installed to check clearance. I’m pretty sure all the double-wide RV’s have to trim the bottom fairing per instructions. I’m not able to find any mention of that on the RV-8 plans or sites. The stock part does clear, but with very little room to spare.

I decided to trim just a little bit to give it that nice margin of error. I did about an 1/8 of an inch at the front and tapered to nothing at the back.

The trim came out perfect, and I’m much more comfortable with this clearance.

Next, I drilled a hole for my FlyLeds tailstrobe.

The strobe comes with a little c shaped bracket that to hold the strobe in place. I’ve seen all sorts of different methods for attaching the strobe.


I put it in place without fastening that c bracket in place to start. Took a little wrestling but I got it to line up. I’m happy with the fit and security.

There is a slight raise in the center of the fairing, so I sanded that down. You can see the before sanding gap here.

I debated how to best install this. I could just wrestle with it and leave the c bracket free. It would be perfectly secure once you have the screws in place, but if you take the light out, it might be a sizable pain in the ass to get it back in place. Alternatively, I could build a bracket that gets riveted or secured to the fairing in some fashion. I decided to keep it simple stupid. I mixed up a little bit of flow and held the c bracket in place with the flox. If I need to change it, I can break it out easily enough, and it should hold just fine for removal of the light in the future. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t hold over time, and I’m left fishing for the bracket if and when I have to change or service the light.


Empennage Fairing 4

Fairing installed before elevators

Tonight I secured the horizontal and vertical stabilizers and then temporarily installed the elevators to check clearance and fit with the empennage fairing installed. The result – I will have to trim about 1/4 to 1/2 inch more on the opening around the elevator horns. It fits right now but there is a tiny bit of rubbing and getting it on and off its a major pain in the ass.

I also spent a large amount of time with some tool organizing and list writing as I try to re-wrap my head around what I need to work on next.

Fairing with the elevators in place.

Empennage Fairing 2

Next up in the empennage fairing is basically cleaning everything up and making it a smooth surface. I use Rage Gold body filler for final prep. Obviously the outside needs to be smooth, but I also want the inside to be relatively smooth so that it doesn’t scratch things too badly when taking it off yearly for inspection.Using two saw horses a great way to position the fairing for work.

After filling everything to my satisfaction it was time for a layer of filler primer. This serves two purposes – first its going to need to be primed anyways and fill pinholes, but secondly it also serves to make flaws more obvious. Areas that aren’t smooth enough, are poorly rounded, or aren’t flat will show up much easier under a layer of primer than before.

And there were definitely imperfections, however, not nearly as many or as bad as I though. In fact I was quite tickled with myself how well it has come out so far!


Here’s a good view of one area with some imperfections. The intersection of the new overlap is a bit rough.





After this I pulled the empennage back apart so that I could install the nut plates at the points I plan to attach the fairing.


There are some other things I need to figure out here – such as the back access plate.


And the aluminum horizontal stab fairing.


I countersunk the fiberglass for torx screws. I was super happy with the countersinks, or the strength of small screws through relatively thin fiberglass. I decided to go with the Tinnerman washers (ACS calls them countersunk washers). I actually think they look better with the tinnerman washers installed.


I will have a total of 4 screws on each side. Two on the horizontal empennage upper surface, and then two more back behind the elevator horn. I call that success in my book!