Wendell Folks RV-8 Project - Page 18.
April 24, 2006: I worked with Wendell for a
couple of hours this evening to get started on his vertical stabilizer installation.
This photo shows the first fitting of the VS after drilling ONE hole at the bottom
of the VS aft spar and one hole in the last bulkhead at the centerline. I helped
Wendell with the layout of the up-elevator stop, which has to be cut from a suitable
aluminum angle before it can be drilled and installed to the fuselage. This photo is
strictly a "feel good" milestone photo since it is the first time the VS has
been connected to the fuselage. There is still plenty to do to get the VS fully
aligned and secured to the fuselage.
A lot of the time during this evening's session was spent looking at the large prints and getting the precise location of the vertical stabilizer on the aft bulkhead of the fuselage. The up-elevator stop also had a complex blue print that I explained to Wendell and helped him with the layout of the various dimensions for cuts and holes to be drilled. That piece is critcal to the mounting of the vertical stabilizer. It is made from a piece of 6061-T6 aluminum angle. It is different from the similar piece on my RV-9A. As I go further through this RV-8 project, I can see where the design changes were made for faster and easier assembly for the RV-9/9A.
April 26, 2006: I
worked with Wendell in the Wednesday evening session to get the remaining alignment done
on the vertical stabilizer. The aft spar of the horizontal stabilizer is securely
bolted to the fuselage mounting bars from the previous work session. When we were
satisfied with the dimensions from the top of the VS to the ends of the horizontal
stabilizer were equal, the two bolt holes were drilled on either side of the word
"rear" on the aft spar of the VS. The bolts were added to secure the VS in
the upright position laterally. At the upper left side of this photo, you can see
one of four clecoes holding the VS attach bracket to the front spar of the horizontal
Next came the vertical alignment of the aft spar of the VS longitudinally by
adjusting the overlap of the VS front spar with the mounting bracket that secures it to
the front spar of the horizontal stabilizer. If you look at the angle that serves as
the elevator stop in the up direction, it has the center bolts from the aft spar of the VS
bolted to it. There is one washer on each bolt, in between this angle and the spar,
to insure that the two bottom hinges on the VS are "plumb" with each other.
The front spar overlap with the bracket there lines up the top hinge bracket with
the other two. That level has a V-groove in one surface where all three hinge
brackets are aligned in this photo.
With the satisfactory alignment of the aft spar shown in the photo above, we drew some vertical reference lines showing the vertical alignment of the VS front spar with the horizontal stabilizer mounting bracket. We then checked the nose of the vertical stabilizer with a centerline on the top aft skin of the fuselage to adjust the offset of the VS to zero with the fuselage. My RV-9A has a small offset of the VS designed into it, but the RV-8 does not have it. That means that RV-8 pilots need more right rudder on takeoff than RV-9 pilots need.
Anyway, with the front spar securely clamped in the position that set the longitudinal offset of the VS and the vertical alignment of the three rudder hinge points, three cleco holes were drilled through the VS front spar and the forward mounting bracket to secure it. With that step, and the clock already showing us it was after 9 PM, we called it a night.
April 27, 2006: The Thursday night session was about getting the rudder mounted. This required the three rod-end bearings to be installed at the correct depth settings from the front spar of the rudder so they would be in alignment with each other. Before that could be done, the empennage was removed from the fuselage to allow some bolt holes to be drilled where only cleco holes existed. I don't have a photo to show you since we seem to overlook taking them when the work is going quickly. We placed the horizontal stabilizer on the work table with easy access to the front spar and the mounting bracket that will secure the front spar of the vertical stabilizer. At this point, all the holes in that bracket are #30 holes used to secure the bracket to the front spar of the HS and the front spar of VS. We had been using four clecoes to hold the bracket to the four factory-drilled holes in the front spar spar of the horizontal stabilizer. One cleco was removed at a time to drill a #10 hole through the spar, angle doubler, and the VS attach bracket. After each AN3-5 bolt was secured, we moved on to the drilling and installing the other bolts. When all four were installed, the horizontal stabilizer was bolted to the fuselage again. The vertical stabilizer was installed again and the three clecoes that secure the front spar of the vertical stabilizer were again installed.
During the first attempt at putting the rudder hinge bolts in, we discovered
that one of the rod-end bearings was not in the correct location. After adjusting
for the error, the bolts finally went into position and the free movement of the rudder
was confirmed. We checked the clearance between the top of the vertical stabilizer
and the counterweight arm of the rudder to see that it is parallel from the front of the
arm to the hinge line. We also looked at the clearance between the front spar of the
rudder and the aft spar of the vertical stabilizer as the rudder swings from one side to
the other. That test revealed a slight bend in the rudder spar left flange near the
bottom. We put a straight edge along the surface of the rudder spar to confirm how
much it would have to be straightened. Since the bend in the flange is below the
rudder skin, it will be easy to correct it with the seaming tool.
Before we parted company for the evening, I advised Wendell on the drilling the remainder of the eleven holes in the vertical stabilizer front spar where it attaches to the mounting bracket that secures to the front spar of the horizontal stabilizer. In this photo, there are three #30 holes drilled there with clecoes in them, plus the two clamps that secured those parts while we were drilling them. He will need to remove the rudder and the vertical stabilizer in order to drill those other #30 rivet holes. After deburring those holes in the bracket and the front spar of the vertical stabilizer, he will install all eleven #4 rivets with the squeezer.
The rudder and vertical stabilizer will not be put back on the fuselage for now. The next session will address the installation of the throttle quadrant and the rear seat throttle before installing the manual elevator trim cable and connecting it to the elevator trim tab. That is the reason that the vertical stabilizer and rudder will remain off the airplane for now. When elevator trim is working, then the VS and rudder will be put back in place for the attachment and adjustment of the rudder cables.
April 30, 2006: I had some time with Wendell Saturday and Sunday (30th) to get him on the way to the next steps. It has been all about reviewing the various components to be installed next. The throttle quadrant and the rear seat throttle are the focus here along with the elevator trim cable installation. Some of the time Saturday afternoon was spent bolting the throttle assembly into the bracket for the left wall. Today, it was searching for the three steel clevis' that terminates the ends of the three control cables, only to find they are ordered separately (and we didn't). We spent some time on Sunday afternoon figuring out what the dimensions and placement of holes in the bulkheads between the rear throttle control and the main control up by the pilot seat. I also indicated exactly where the holes would be drilled in the bulkhead in front of the engine and prop control levers to pass the cables forward though the gear leg towers inside the fuselage. No photos today, since nothing was drilled or attached other than putting in some 5/8" plastic bushings to install the elevator trim cable.
Wendell finally sees that the instrument panel he wants may not be the one he can squeeze into the panel space available. We worked with my instrument template and a cardboard instrument panel to try two different instrument layouts. The Dynon D-10A will fit OK, but he wants the D-100, and it is just too big. He is ready to order avionics and we will be starting to wire things up soon, right after the throttle and elevator trim cables are installed inside the fuselage.
May 1, 2006: I spent a few hours with Wendell after 5 PM tonight to check on his work with the rear throttle lever installation. After providing him with some guidance on that and the clearance holes to the main throttle quadrant, we sat down at his computer and ordered many of the optional items needed to get the project further along. The elevator trim cable installation should take place soon.
May 4, 2006: I had
another evening session with Wendell tonight with the focus on getting the green elevator
manual trim cable installed, along with the elevator bellcrank and pushrods. Van's
designed in a couple of access holes aligned with the lower bolt of the bellcrank that
calibrates the linkage at the "neutral position" for the joy sticks and
elevators. The two ratchets with sockets on them are keeping the bellcrank in that
position in this photo as the remainder of the elevator connection steps wait to be
accomplished in our next joint session.
Here is the other end of the trim cable and the large elevator push rod
awaiting connections to the elevators. He ordered his Hartzell constant speed prop
via Van's Aircraft this week. I see that I also failed to mention that he ordered
his engine from Penn Yan Aero last week. He is getting excited as the list of things
he needs is getting smaller. He is also getting ready to order his avionics package.
Stay tuned for more...
May 6, 2006: I went over to
work with Wendell Saturday afternoon and here are the results of our session. The
horizontal stablizer was put back on the fuselage after the elevator trim cable was
installed as seen in the photos above. The elevator was put on today, threading the
green elevator trim cable in place as the elevator was bolted on. The trim cable was
attached and calibrated for the middle position setting of the control knob. With
the elevator bellcrank locked in the neutral position, the two elevators were also clamped
in-trail with the horizontal stablizer. The large elevator push rod tube had been
previously adjusted to the correct length between the rod-end bearings. That left
only one thing to do, drill both elevator control arms at the correct locations to bolt
the elevators to the push-rod tube. Then with the elevators locked in place, the
final adjustement of the elevator linkage to bring the pilot's joy stick to vertical
alignment and the elevators are now operational! After that the vertical stabilizer
and rudder were put in place and the rudder cables were connected with some temporary
Here is a photo showing the engine controls and the elevator trim cable knob
mounted to the side of the instrument panel. The longest lever is the throttle with
the rear seat throttle connecting rod attached. The very short lever with the red
knob will have the mixture control cable attached to it. The other short lever with
the black knob will be connected to the propeller governor.
With eight photos on this page, we come to another milestone in Wendell's project. Photos and information from the next work session will be published on a new page.
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