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August 2002
The canopy is coming along and I have reached the final stage in bonding the top skin. It goes quickly, but it is the most difficult step in the process. It does not fit, nor does it lay against the glass, but repeated trimming, grinding, fitting and an unconventional jig for bonding gets it to fit snug. All the extra effort was worth it. I wrote a complete story on how I finished it in my third part step-by-step. Check it out.

I now am concentrating my efforts on getting the tail finished. My goal is to keep filling and sanding and eventually prime the whole rear section of the plane. The lay-up on the rudder cap is tricky to get to lay down and after seeing Ron Laughlin's pictures, I wrap the whole thing with tape. Foam is bonded in the vertical cut-out with micro, squared out and the two-bid lay-up is applied there. Micro gets applied on top after it cures and the tedious process of filling and sanding begins. Making paper templates to use as trim guides for the lay-ups is the only way to assure a perfect fit in complex shaped areas.

The best of building is still meeting other builders and sharing information and tips. I got to meet Valin and Allyson Thorne from Texas (Legacy FB #173) when they were out here on business and got one of their Legacy models. It's great to have this in my shop to show everyone what the plane will look like! The shape and accuracy is outstanding. They have a web site where you can get one at http://www.starflight1.com/lancair/



The rear portion of the top skin is bonded on and the newly-completed canopy opens for the first time. The excitement lasts for a short time as this is the beginning of more body work and patching holes.

I continue fitting, filling and sanding the rudder. I am using the flat perma-grit file to sand out and establish and even gap from top to bottom of my rudder. The gap is very even now and remains even throughout deflection of the rudder. I needed to build up with micro along the bottom and keep sanding to get an even line. My vertical gap is now squared-off and I use a straight edge to mark where excess material needs to be sanded off. It's getting pretty mundane, but I feel I'm closing in on this tail and can't wait to prime and finish this chapter. Even my son Nicholas is losing steam.




The elevators get the sanding this week and I've discovered that the left one is near impossible to put on due to binding of the hinge slot. I made a mark and opened it up a bit on the inboard opening only and it slips in on the first try. It's nice to strive for the straightest, most petite openings, but when the paint gets scratched because of it, what's the point? This little opening made all the difference and does not show, but is essential in getting the left one on.

The elevator gaps are looking pretty good now and very even. I still need to open up a bit here and there with the fla
t file. I have a system of using micro for big filling and Aeropoxy light for the light duty filling. The advantage is that it spreads out nicer on small areas and doesn't require wetting the area out with epoxy first.

The left lower rudder area is still a problem and requires a three-bid lay-up to get a nice transition. I keep checking with a ruler. More sanding and filling...



I get an idea to make some gap seals for my horizontal. First, I pot in foam and square my recess out so there is the proper gap in relation to the counter-weight. Next, I bond-in a three-bid scrap that I cut to shape. Lastly, I do a single bid lay-up over and trim it out when it cures. It may not add any speed, but it looks cool and body work is not so bad anymore.

I am almost done with the body work on the top portion of the horizontal and need to begin the bottom. While I have my plane inverted during September, I will release and hinge my gear doors and body work the entire belly. I am talking to paint shops and getting input on primers. I want to begin sealing areas as I move along.







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