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June 2002
I'm getting back to basics with now test-fitting everything and assessing how to correct. The elevators fit great everywhere except for the bottom inboard area where they rub during down-travel and there is a slight bow that I took out using heat and clamps to bend out. (Great fix and easier than body working). The elevator trim is near perfect, but the gap between the rudder and vertical is still a bit too large in some spots. To fix it I bonded on a two-bid strip inside the vertical using clamps and a straight edge. It will be block sanded later for a perfect fit.

I prepped my horizontal-to-vertical lay-ups with #40 grit paper. I have discovered excess epoxy from the non-prepped areas will chip off. I use a chisel to remove the excess before sanding. It's funny, if I sand this excess it appears bonded well, but with the chisel it flakes right off. I prep all my areas now using this method to keep from sanding into the glass. When doing lay-ups making a paper template is good for getting the exact shape when trimming the bid.

Bonding on my rudder leading edge close-out was a bit premature and it's costing me a lot of cutting and re-glassing over to get it right, particularly when I discovered my middle hinge was out of alignment. The best way to bond it, however, is to use screws and lots of them. The close-out does not want to lay down flat, but with the screws it will, and insures a solid bond. Since the close-out fits in the top portion and rubs in the bottom, I cut a groove up the center, pulled together the gap with clamps and finished with three-bid fiberglass patch to hold. The template provided for cutting the hinge holes is so inaccurate I threw it away and center on each hinge for making my cuts. The swing of the rudder will dictate how much to trim for clearance of the hinge. When the rudder reaches its stops I'll mark where to trim for the bolt access slots. Of course, body work and test-fitting continues.

I am still fitting my tail light fairing and since the light will be recessed, I will have to bow-out the fairing to accommodate the light. I will do this by setting a cleco on the top and leading edge, push up from the bottom of the fairing and clamp to hold the shape, drill cleco holes and set them in. I've gotten the fairing to bow-out in the middle, the light fits and next is to bond it permanently with flox.

My Legacy rolls inverted for the first time allowing me to stiffen the upper deck with a six-bid lay-up. My daughter Chelsea helps with the prep and brushing on the dacron cloth over the lay-up. I also did the belly lay-ups and reinforced the spine with a three-bid strip.

The tail light fairing gets bonded in and I continue to work the rudder leading edge to get a perfect fit. I am using foam, bonded on with micro and held in position with clear tape to close my gaps and save weight. It's much easier to sculpt and when I'm done, I'll use lightweight fiberglass to seal it. The bottom section is the real problem area due to rubbing and I have the choice of building up the fuselage or bringing that portion inward. Cutting out the section and bringing it in proves to be the easier solution and took about three hours to complete.

I am finally begining the canopy! I originally thought this would be the hardest part of building my plane, but in all honesty, it not so bad. I'm getting some help, and lots of advice from several others, and it's been smooth so far. The stiffener gets a scribe line on the outside that corresponds to the canopy joggle then a rough cut was made. The idea is to leave a bit more on to be block-sanded later. The block sanding is a constant fitting, marking and sanding routine, but my son Nicholas is a perfectionist and helps with quality control. I finally get it right after about three hours of slowly sanding away my marks and clamp on the hinges to get the alignment called for in the book. It's important to note that the scribe lines Lancair gives you are somewhat incacurate and misleading. DO NOT USE their scribe lines at all! Trim a little at a time to avoid disaster and you can compare when completed.

After almost two months into my project the most amazing thing is how fast I'm making progress and how much fun it all is, despite several set-backs like hinges out of alignment and the snug fit of the elevators. I removed my cavity lay-ups and the elevators fit great, but all that means is the hinges will need to move outboard and new lay-ups put back in. I'm getting to be a pro at resetting hinges and it is done by reaming the holes in the direction of needed space and bolting them back in where they need to be. Flox is built-up around the hinge to keep it from moving around and life is good again, and so is the fit.

The canopy is progressing with holes drilled for my defroster. Custom nut plates are made because the pop rivets are too short, but then a hundred other builders already knew that. It turns out to be a blessing in disguise, because I made the bolt holes larger and while the flox for the nut plates sets up, I played with the position of the hinge and got it nice and square. After putting the canopy on, it gets clamped, clecoed, bolted and weighted-down to be put in its final place. The rear needed 1/8" strip to be cut out and pulled together. I get the six-bid lay-up in on the top and cut foam for the 90 degree four-bid lay-up to go over. My goal is to have the canopy completed in July! I will do a step-by-step story on how to do yours. More to come on that later.

The tail light fairing is still coming along and will look great with the recessed tip lights later. I made a frame with nut plates for the light. The month of June ends with discovering a twist in my rudder trim tab. Ugghh. 1/4" off. Ron Laughlin has a great tip to correct, but Carsten is working on a new mold and will send replacements upon request. It's still a great plane and everything can be fixed easy enough. You could always spend a whole lot more to go a whole lot slower. I'll take the cool-looking 300mph rocket!

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