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Getting the Tail On

Its time to put some more wings on.  This time I am going to work on the horizontal stabilizer.  The date was in early January.  First thing is to get the HS situated on the tail in the correct orientation.  This took two of us as I had to wiggle it this way and that to get it just right.  Eventually I arrived at a position I like so I clamped it in place.  From there we measured to several locations around the fuselage to make sure everything was true.  I am happy that them measurements are within a 1/16″ so I called it good.

The first holes you have to drill are in the forward spar.  I deviated from the plans because I was super paranoid about the location of the hole I was going to put in the longeron.  So I drilled that hole first using a #30 after measuring a bunch of time to makes sure that I was getting it right.  I then had my daughter climb into the tail and drill up through the longeron and forward HS spar.  First with a #30 then with the final bit 3/16″ (I think).


20170102_175258img_20170128_145813The two outer holes are a bit further aft then I wanted, but they are still legit.  The two inner ones are perfect.

Once everything was bolted on the measurements were still perfect.  Now the rear spar.

Mounting the Brakes and Rudders

I assembled my rudder and brakes over a year ago.  It is something you do on the bench since it has lots of parts to track.  When you finish they tell you to to put it all away until you are ready to put them in for good.  That is what I did today.

I started with getting the center support installed.  I have been waiting for this because I made the part a long time ago and am sick of having to keep track of it.  I also decided to drill some new holes to move the rudders about an 1.5″ closer to where I will be.



This is the center support bracket for the rudders and brakes.

I got the bolts tightened and torqued to the proper setting.  The rudders move very well, with very little binding.  Next it was time for the brake plumbing.  It took me about an hour to find all the parts.  Again, I am hampered by the move and not being able to find all the pieces where I think they should be.

The process isn’t really well described.  They plans show you how everything should be assembled, but not the finer points.  The FIRST thing you need to do is slip on the ferrel and the nut.  If you forget to do this first, you’ll be remaking the tube.  There isn’t much spare, about enough to remake two lengths.


They suggest hot water to help get the little brass inserts into the tube.  This is a great idea.  All I can suggest is that the water needs to be near boiling.  The hotter the better.  You will also need some lube.  I used a lithium grease paste that I have.  This worked very well.  You dont need much just a fine skim on the the sleeve.


HOT HOT HOT Water…..

20161226_20212120161226_202131Once you have the sleeve started, I pushed hard against the side of my work bench.  You can see all the marks from previous ends.   Sometimes it took me a second soaking in hot water to get the sleeve flush with the end of the tube.

Once the sleeve is on you have to convince the ferrule to slip over the sleeve and tube.  This is tough.  More lube…dont use pliers or some other direct way of coaxing the ferrel.  ANY damage to the ferrule can cause leaks.  I used a vice grip around the tube behind the nut and I pulled the ferrule onto the sleeve.  You have to move it up just enough so you can get the thread on the nut and fitting to catch.  Then you can use a 1/2″ wrench to draw the ferrule into its final position.


Finishing the Fuel lines

Inside the fuselage consists of fuel lines between the wing tanks and the engine.  As I already posted, my vents are complete and were relatively easy.  Just eyeball and bend.  The supply lines are not that easy.

For the first time bender I have some advice.  Learn to bend correctly and accurately with your equipment.  I think I mentioned this before, but do not skimp on the bender.  The Harbor Freight bender is absolute trash!  Spend more and get one from Spruce.  I did and am very glad for it.  It came with instructions and between that and some YouTube videos I got smart on how to bend.  I bought some cheap tube from Tractor Supply and practiced until I was ready.

I bought flexible tube from TS Flightlines for the run between the tank and the valve.  Tom does such a great job.  I am also using the standard Vans fuel valve.  I decided I can find other things to do with $400+ other than buy a valve from UK.  I cant see how the supplied one is bad.  My first bending was done on a simple tie in between the fuel filter and pump.  Two 90° bends about 3″ apart.  It was pretty easy and lulled me into a false sense of security.  I then tried bending the bit from the filter to the valve and made lots of scrap in the process.  It consisted of 3 90° bends on two different planes all in a  very small space.  Tom saved the day, again.  I packed up the whole kit and sent it to him.  He turned it around in the same day and easily made the piece I needed.  After this experience I decided to hit the books (videos) and figure out the math behind bending.  As you can imagine once you know the ‘secret’ it is pretty easy to accomplish.

Quite a bit of time lapsed until I was able to construct the last part which is the line from the pump to the firewall.  When I did get to it, I ended up making three different versions of the line.  Each version would have been OK…and maybe wouldn’t have leaked, but the third one was spot on.  I tweaked my measurements until I had it as perfect as I can make it.


Various trys and failures.

I was smart and didn’t forget to put the AN fittings on the any of the lines.  It was my biggest fear…measuring, cutting and flaring perfectly and then fogetting the AN fittings.


The line standing up with the open flare is the one Tom Swearingen made for me.


Line from the firewall to the pump.  As perfect as I think I can make it.  

One warning.  If you are building and RV7/7A and plan on an IO engine, then you need to reference the optional plan 32.  You can find it on the plans DVD or if you dont have that, call Vans, they can get it to you.  The information needed for the firewall passthrough is on that plan.  Also, the AN fitting, nut and washer are part of the FWF kit, so you wont have it in the fuse or finishing kit materials.