Started Rudder Lower Fairing

February 2, 2020 – I started the lower fairing for the rudder that will also hold the tail strobe.

The fairing that comes from Vans was two pieces that they put together. They provide scribe lines on the part that are suggested cut lines. I know from experience that these lines are just guidelines, and that you should do your own fitting.

The first consideration is that the fairing needs to clear the tailwheel spring. I cut about 3/8″ off the top to give the fairing a 1/4″ clearance above the spring. You also have to make cuts to clear the control arm for the rudder.

I also needed to cut the front of the fairing to give clearance for access to the lower hinge bolt.

Then I trimmed the top to allow the fairing to fit along the lower edges of the rudder, where the fairing will attach.

I drilled screw holes through the fairing and the attach flange on the rudder. I’m going to use #6 screws and nutplates, since I want the fairing to be removable for the light.

This all sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?

Well, when I got the fairing fitted, I found that the trailing edge of the fairing was mismatched with the trailing edge of the rudder by about 1/4″.

I figured the easiect way to fix this would be to split the trailing edge of the fairing, remove material from the pulled side, then resin the fairing back together.

It took two iterations of this process to get the fairing aligned.

In the meantime, I made an adapter plate to attach the light to the fairing. The plate is 1/8″ aluminum, made to match the contours of the light. I drilled and tapped the screw holes to directly attach the light. I had to chamfer the edge of the hole where it meets the back side of the light housing.

Still not done. Two problems…

  • The light contour and the attach plate are bigger than the molded area the light attaches to. I’ll just build that area up to make a smooth transition.
  • I figured out that the fairing is now not vertically aligned with the rudder. I sighted up along the rudder trailing edge, and the fairing doglegs off to one side. Hopefully cutting the offending side at the screw holes will bring it back into alignment…

Time: 9:25

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