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July 2002
My main focus this month is to get my tail and canopy completed. Body work continues with bonding foam strips and sculpting to fit with a chisel and block sander. A thin layer of glass will be applied later along with a thin layer of micro to get an even, smooth shape and an even gap throughout the span. That's the plan anyway. My rim tab fit was not the best and I added washers to the hinge for a better fit. For the canopy, I got my gussets bonded in on the 4th of July with flox and a cold beer. I continued later on getting the catches and latches complete when the flox cured. I am getting a lot of advice from other builders and began writing a three-part series documenting all the little tips to get the canopy installed effortlessly. Things not mentioned in the manual. Check it out.

A thin layer of glass is bonded to the, near completed, elevator leading edge in order to clean up the foam strips that have been sculpted. Some micro will still be needed, but only in a few low spots. My other elevator still fits too tight and I decided to split it down the middle of the leading edge, create a gap and pull together and bond with a two-bid strip of carbon. This worked great. The rubbing has been eliminated and the gap can now be fixed with a minimal amount of micro. Sanding back the trailing edge of my horizontal or building it up with micro was NEVER AN OPTION. This is the best way to go.

Moving along, I got my strikers installed and was reminded not to forget to cut a notch out so that the nut plate on the striker could clear when removed later after the top skin is installed. The plexiglas is taped up in preparation for bonding clean up that I have also written up in the second part of the canopy series.

The rudder is, again, still progressing. The leading edge continues to get micro here and there. The trailing edge of the vertical gets a little sanding here and there, but I'm getting close to the end. I never liked the way the bottom terminates and decide to do my own little fairing. I got some clear tape and wrapped around the bottom of the vertical then bonded in a three-bid strip of carbon. I used my grinder to get the right shape so that it wraps the rudder and trails out toward the rear from the bottom. It looks great!

Finally the glass gets bonded on and all the extra work taping the four layers on the inside of the glass are paying off as clean-up is a snap. This is all documented in the second part of the canopy series.

I am now getting to a little speed mod that Ron Jones is doing to his Legacy by creating fillets at the root of the horizontal stabilizers. I made a cardboard template to establish the shape I wanted. Not too drastic, but enough to smooth the airflow in the corners. I made a twelve-bid carbon square for the fillets and transferred my shape to it and cut them out. To get them bonded where they need to be I used my old jig blueprint to cut out a paper template. The key is to get the fillet straight in the level horizontal plane. The canopy rail is the level mark and I took a reading with a level from there and transferred a level line to the fuselage near the vertical. To simplify, get the fillets level. Next is to make a smooth transition line from the peak of the vertical top and bottom to the new leading edge. Not a straight line, but a nice, slightly curved one. This will aid in building up the micro. I mixed up a VERY dry batch, wet out and sculpted it with my hands. Everything will get sanded out and a layer of glass will go over when done. I'll have this complete in August. (Note: we spoke to Mark Mahnke and he said that this would be a good speed mod, but hesitated to give it out as it needed to be done correctly).

July ends with the rudder pedals getting assembled and fitted in the cockpit. I am going need to trim the bases in order for them to be level. It's always test fitting everything and coming up with a plan to correct. It's not exactly like a box of LEGOs, but I'm enjoying the build more than I thought and all the problem solving involved. Knowing this plane inside and out will be a major plus later when I get to do my own annuals with absolute confidence and authority.

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