Elevators and Tailcone


With the worst of this awful winter behind us, RV-14 progress has started to pick up speed again.  We had something near 60 days with temperatures below zero this winter, with quite a few days below -10 to -20F, some reaching into the -30's.  I decided that with the price of Kerosene (my shop heat source) being $5/gal, it wasn't worth working when it was below about +15 or +20 degrees F.
The first picture below was March 10th...the day I had been dreading.  Once again sidetracked by other things, the first warm snap dropped all the snow off my garage and into the driveway.  You have to get that moved right away, before it freezes, and you have to move it to get in to park.  With the worst of the temps gone, and that mess cleaned up, it has been time to start making progress again.
RV14140310-162818-001.jpg RV14140317-190021-002.jpg RV14140317-190034-003.jpg RV14140317-190048-005.jpg
The elevators have more complexity and parts in them than most of the kit so far, if you divide the wing kit into sections.  It was almost a bit depressing at times that it seemed to take forever to get through them.  When starting the elevators, I saw a sale on some Zinc Chromate primer and decided to give that a try, because there were going to be many times when I'd have to stop progress and prime small parts, so I thought that would be more convenient.  Also, my supply of Akzo was starting to run lower, and I was contemplating alternatives.  After this experiment, I wish I would have just stuck with the Akzo.  The Zinc Chromate is one of the best protections you can get for corrosion, but it isn't nearly as tough as the Akzo 2 part primer.  The Akzo's only downside is the 30 minute wait for the induction phase of the primer after you mix it, and the fact that you have to estimate how much you're going to spray so you mix the right quantity.  Although the Chromate wasn't as tough, it worked out ok for the elevators though, and it did keep the process moving forward.  It isn't as nice looking either, but it works ok and you can retouch areas easy.
RV14140317-190052-006.jpg RV14140319-185345-007.jpg RV14140319-185352-008.jpg RV14140319-185358-009.jpg
As I was saying, there are a lot of individual parts to work on and keep track of when doing the elevators.  An interesting diversion from the RV-10 is that the RV-14 only has one trim tab, and the trim mechanism is stored within the elevator itself.  This seems to be a pretty good way to go when you only have 1 tab to run.  You can see the cutout for the trim actuator in some of the photos.

If there is one plans thing that was pretty poor in the elevator, it is the fact that it isn't pointed out if the counterbalance skin goes over or under the elevator skins until AFTER you get the parts together.  So, before you rivet the counterbalances onto the elevator, read ahead in the plans so you get this right.  Other than that, the elevators aren't too bad to build and understand.  I did decide to use proseal for the trailing edges, since you have to use that for the foam ribs anyway.
RV14140320-184819-010.jpg RV14140320-184823-011.jpg RV14140320-184832-012.jpg RV14140327-204120-013.jpg
RV14140327-204126-014.jpg RV14140331-072031-015.jpg RV14140331-072557-016.jpg RV14140331-181747-017.jpg
As we got to the end of March, it was time to start on the tailcone.  The snow photo above is from March 31st...yes, we still don't have the whole road free of snow yet, and March is over.  For the tailcone, I noticed by reading ahead in the plans that there were quite a few times when you stop and prime parts, so to save that hassle, I decided to go through each section twice....the first time I would just prepare the parts, deburring everything, cutting any parts that need fabrication, and then priming them all.  I'd still prime the skins in sequence but at least the skins would be the only thing I'd slow down for.  That worked out real well for me.  I warned the kids early on that the Tailcone, if anything like the RV-10, would build really fast and we'd be done with it soon.  As it turns out, that's right.  It was only about 12 days total, with many many days that I didn't work on it at all.  Just a few building sessions.
RV14140405-122124-018.jpg RV14140405-122127-019.jpg RV14140405-122133-020.jpg RV14140405-122135-021.jpg
Plans wise and parts wise, the tailcone has been the worst of the sections I've found so far.  I've found quite a few missing things in the plans, or places where either you should or shouldn't dimple, that weren't called out.  There were some nut plates that weren't included with the hardware that were in the plans, and there was a bag of hardware that was listed in the inventory but not included.  So building the tailcone you will want to pay a closer amount of attention to future pages so that you do things just as they need to be.

It takes almost no time to get something that looks like a tail of an airplane...this section is very rewarding that way.  And, it was great to finally get ALL of the parts out of storage and get everything put together.

For riveting the side skins on, I had great help in one of the girls.  We flipped it upside down so I could rivet from the outside while she bucked them on the inside.  That worked really well.  See the above and below photos for that.
RV14140405-154033-022.jpg RV14140405-154039-023.jpg RV14140405-154044-024.jpg RV14140405-154051-025.jpg
RV14140405-154059-026.jpg RV14140405-171804-027.jpg RV14140405-171813-028.jpg RV14140405-171819-029.jpg
During the installation of the side skins, there are a couple of places where you have to stop and install wiring first.  I still have mixed feelings regarding the amount of wiring included with the kit on the RV-14.  On one hand, this will be a really easy kit if all the components I intend to install, and my intended grounding methods are used.  On the other hand, it's a waste for some things if I intend to use other components or do anything slightly differently.  For the most part though, when it comes to the tailcone, I'm pretty impressed with how well it was done.  A couple wires were too short and they sent an extender kit when they knew, but they are still too short, so I'll have to do that myself.  Also, I plan to mount my ELT antenna a bit differently and I may use Cat Whiskers antennas for NAV.  So there are a few potential changes I have for the wiring plan.

Below is a photo of a couple of nut plate locations that aren't called out to be filled with nut plates.  I decided to put them in anyway, despite them coming later in the plans.  One catch though is that you do not want to fill the forward rivet hole in the forward nut plate until you attach the top skins, as that hole is filled with a rivet when you do the skins.
RV14140405-171834-030.jpg RV14140406-220309-031.jpg RV14140406-220313-032.jpg RV14140409-071410-033.jpg
Woo Hoo!  April 9th and we're finally able to see the edge of the asphalt on the road!

Attaching the rudder I still marvel at how well everything fits.  Van's does an EXCELLENT job in designing these kits.  It is truly amazing to see these parts come together with such computer-assisted accuracy.  Truly amazing.

One other area to pay attention to in this section is that I don't think Van's used proper rivet length callouts in some of the spots.  Basically I find that everything that rivets to the longerons needs at least a -4 sized rivet...and they're called out as -3.5.  In fact, a -4.5 would probably be better than a 4 in most cases.  And, where you have skin + longeron + bulkhead tab, you'll probably even want a -5.  So, be sure to look at the locations and use the rivet that really is best for that area.  If you are a first time builder, order a good sized bag of -3, -3.5, -4, and -4.5 rivets so that you have extras, and personally I ordered even longer sizes to keep on hand as well.  I also bought a rivet cutter and I've used it a few times on this kit so far to get the right length rivet cut from a long one when I wasn't supplied the right sized rivet.
RV14140412-104312-034.jpg RV14140412-104321-035.jpg RV14140412-141031-036.jpg RV14140412-152341-037.jpg
After a few short days, I have a completed tailcone, complete with rudder cables, and some antenna and other wiring run.  Now all that's left to do is install some fiberglass fairings and do the wing bottom skins and wires and pitot mast before I am stuck waiting for the fuselage kit.  That should give more time for spring chores and early summer activities.
RV14140412-152349-038.jpg RV14140412-152356-039.jpg RV14140412-152409-040.jpg

Previous  |  Site Home  |  Next