May 29, 2020 – I’m finally satisfied with my tail fairing.
Here’s the original stock tail fairing with the “ears” that go down behind the horizontals. I’ve had a lot of trouble with this partially because I tore the left side and repaired it. (This is actually a picture from when I back-drilled holes into my new solution, but more on that later…)
There’s an RV-14 in my hangar that I walk by every day. I looked at the tail fairings on it, and I thought I’d try to reproduce them. I bought a 2×4 sheet of .025 T3 from Spruce, and a piece of poster board.
I used the fairings and the inspection panel as a unit, and roughly traced the outline onto the poster board.
I cut this out and tried to secure it in place on one side. As long as it was close…I knew I’d cut the aluminum large and final-fit.
I back-drilled the holes from the original metal lower fairing, and screwed the new piece in place. Then I put the fiberglass fairing over the top and back-drilled the remaining holes. That’s the first picture I showed you:
I also marked all the trim lines to have the edges all aligned and clean.
The inspection panels will be under the new fairing. If I need to remove one of these panels, I just remove the screws on the inspection panel and slide it out from under the fairing.
The last step was to joggle the fairing because the fairing does not sit flat against the fuselage skin. This is on the RV-14 fairing as well. I drew bend lines and put in gentle bends on a small brake in the hangar.
Once I did the left side I stopped for the day. I came back the next morning and did the right side. The first one took 3 hours; the next one only took about an hour to make.
The last thing I had to do was cut the “ears” off the fiberglass fairing. There’s a screw hole right in line with the trailing edge of the stabilizer, so I drew an angled line swept aft. That gives it a more sleek look.
Here’s the metal fairing in place (before final trimming). I’m really proud of this: