Tailcone – Part 3

So I’ll start off saying that I had a lot of camera issues this that are leading some some funky transitions due to lost footage or the camera turning off without me noticing.

Anyway, Starting off I got some help from my wife in flipping the tailcone over and getting it positioned in the garage so I could continue mounting the parts and pieces for the second side skin.  I keep “double-checking” how some of the parts overlap to make sure I am doing it correctly.  While mounting a few of the rear-ribs/bulkheads, I realize that a few of my J-channel stiffeners are actually just a little short of where they should be (edge distance in the images below). This was a bit crushing and required me to contact VANS support for advice.  I actually also did some searches on VAF and was glad I wasn’t the first one to make the same mistake :).   While I waited for Vans to get back to me, I went ahead and mounted the remaining J-channel pieces that were cut correctly and the second side-skin mounted and drilled.

Good edge distance Marginal edge distance (I elected to fix this) Unacceptable edge distance!

My e-mail back to Vans describing the situation (with photos) and a proposed solution using some excess J-channel that was previously trimmed, I got permission to execute as described.  This basically is cutting back the already short J-channel by 4-5 rivet holes, and cutting a new filler J-channel piece to that it will overlap the original channel by 3-4 rivet holes.  My new mantra is cut all pieces slightly long, then do your final trim  / sand once dimensions are verified on the plane (where it makes sense).  But in most cases there are ways to repair or re-order parts if you really do mess up.  Don’t get too scared.

I then cut the J-channel patches from my cut-off pile, as well as trim the other original J-channel to accept the overlapping patch.  I ended up needing a second set of hands to drill the last J-channel and my wife was nice enough to assist once again.  She is such a good sport for helping me out.

Once all the J-channel has been match drilled, I get my levels out to ensure that I don’t have a twist in the tailcone and match drill the rudder stop stiffeners.  Then it’s on to installing the F-1006 bulkhead, followed by cutting and cleaning and countersinking the bellcrank rib angle.  Install the pieces and match-drill the holes in the angle.  Then I fabricate the F-1010B spacer followed by installing the longerons and the Aft Deck

Seeing the Longerons fit perfectly into the tailcone was a milestone for some reason.   It’s such a minor step, but for whatever reason it validated that I was right on target with my bending and assembly so far.  (I will probably have another moment like this when I finally attach the VS and HS to the tailcone!)


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