Attaching the Tail and Control Surfaces

With the plane in the hangar now, there are a ton of things we can work on. One of the first things I wanted to do is attach the control surfaces, to figure out what (if any) interference issues we’ll have with the control stick hitting the instrument panel. Here I am working on attaching the ailerons. It’s a little bit of a pain, because each of these bolts has some combination of spacers and different washers. You can also see the flap hanging down in the background. For the flaps, we had to grind down the inboard edges to leave at least a 1/16″ gap between the flap edge and the fuselage when the flaps are up. Back to the tail, we’d already attached the horizontal stabilizer, so here I am working on the vertical. There was a row of nutplates that needed to be attached and a couple rows of rivets that hadn’t been set yet. Here I am working on those. Here’s the actual attachment. There’s a single 1/4″ bolt in front and eight 3/16″ bolts in the back. I was very careful to torque all these properly. Next up: the elevators. In the picture below, I’m using a borescope to ensure the rod end bearings are sufficiently inserted into the nutplates, since I had to extend a couple of them a little more than normal–don’t want these coming loose. Makes me look stupid, though, especially with being under the wing. After the elevators were mounted, the only thing left was the rudder. Kelly thought I should pose with the last main assembly before we attached it. We need to check that each of the control surfaces has the proper amount of movement. For everything but the rudder, we can use a digital level. For the rudder, I used a plumb bob to mark the travel on the floor, then measured it. We ended up with travel of 37 degrees in either direction, which is slightly more than the maximum of 35 listed in the plans, but according to Van’s tech support, this is okay.