Saturday August 28, 2021
Fiberglass Elevator Tip Installation
(2.0 Hours Left Elevator, 2.5 Hours Right Elevator)
4.5 Hours Total

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I got the elevators down from storage this morning and started working on the right elevator. Installed and torqued these two screw/bolts that secure the lead counterweight.

Then I started trimming the first of the molded fiberglass elevator tips. You have to trim off the forward flanges where they interfere with the counterweight.

These tips come from Van's with some extra material on the edge where I assume the mold joined. I sanded this off.

Then, I trimmed the flange so it would slide in against the metal flanges of the counterweight arm rib.

Then I drilled the elevator to the tip and countersunk these holes. The edge distance is less than ideal on some of these holes, but I'm going to adhere the entire flange surface with epoxy, so it should be fine...and this isn't really structural.

I mixed up my first batch of West systems epoxy and put a small film on the joining surfaces, then pulled these blind rivets. I also laid up a few strips of glass where the tip wraps around the counterweight...there was a 1/8" or so gap there and the plans instruct you to bond the counterweight and the tip to each other.

A little while later, I mixed up some epoxy and microbubbles and applied a (probably too generous) glob to the seam between the tip and the elevator. I'll have to sand this tomorrow and likely apply some additional coats.

Then, I trimmed the tip for the left elevator.

I drilled and countersunk it.

Finally, I laid up some glass where the tip will mate with the counterweight to fill a gap, put some epoxy mixed with flox on the mating surfaces, and blind riveted the two pieces together.

Epoxy is sticky and messy, but dealing with the fiberglass parts was not nearly as scary as I had feared. I was too scared to mess with it when I first finished the tail pieces so many years ago. Of course most of the sanding is ahead of me, so we will see.

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