Another RV-10 Site
Tail Cone



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This page includes:
Tail Cone: Construction from baggage compartment back.
Empennage Attach: Bringing the VS, Rudder, HS, Elevator and tail cone all together for fit check.
Fairings: Fiberglass work for control surfaces.


RV-10 Tail Cone



Dwg, Steps

Notes and Photos

5/4 to 5/17/08


10-2 to 10-11

So far this has been a massive amount of easy work. No working in tight spaces, tiny pieces or prosealing trailing edges.

This section starts with fabrication of the bulkheads and frames. Mainly some machine work and deburring parts. Next comes cutting the J-channels for stiffeners. I recommend cutting everything 0.25" long. There is plenty of room and this will allow a cut tolerance.

Assembly starts upside down with attaching the bulkheads and frames to the bottom skin. Then one side skin is attached. The tailcone is then flipped over and the other side skin is attached. Then the ritual of cleco and match drilling begins.


Up side down

Az Temps just hitting 100 deg F

Side Skins Attached

5/18 to 5/24/08


10-12 to 10-17

Match drilled 1,428 holes.

While I had frame together, I installed static ports, a mount for strobe power supply and fabricated a rib for an aux battery shelf. All things off of the script but am thinking ahead. This will minimize having to crawl around in the tail and install these things later.

Have completely disassembled the tail cone, deburred, dimpled and primed all parts of the internal structure. Priming took three sessions due to the massive amount of parts. Still have to debur and dimple 1,428 skin holes. Then assemble begins.

Top Skins Attached

Click any pix to enlarge

5/25 to 5/31


10-17 to 10-20

I cleco'd the structure back together but left off one skin for easier access to the bottom. I then started with the bottom stiffeners using a back riveting technique. This take time to set up but then the riveting goes quickly.

I then back riveted the side stiffeners to the skins using back riveting as well. Then the aft most skins were attached to the bulkheads using conventional and squeeze riveting. I then riveted the side skins to the frames and bulkheads.

All the easy riveting is done. Only the hard to do ones are left. I still have to join the side skins to the bottom skins. My arms are not long enough to reach around for conventional riveting so it will either have to be back riveted or 2-person riveted.


Back Riveting Stiffeners

6/1 to 6/8/08


10-21 to 10-24

I was able to do all the side and bottom skin riveting alone using a combination of back riveting and contortionism. Low point of the TC project was finding out the back riveting plate was not in proper position and having to drill out a line of 7 rivets. Overall, it came out very well.

Had my first EAA tech counselor visit this weekend. He didn't tell me to convert it into a canoe so I guess I am doing OK.

Took the time to add the static ports and hose up to the first tee. Also permanently installed the strobe power supply mount. All things I am glad I did now so I don't have to crawl in the tail later and do it.

Top skins to stiffeners was done using backriveting and was pretty easy although there were some I could not reach alone by any technique. High point of the TC project was having Wendy come over and help me drive the last set of rivets I could not reach alone.

The plans were missing page 10-22 from a printing error so check yours if you are a builder. I called Van's and they said this had never happened before and seemed to be pretty sure it was my fault somehow.

Only remaining task on the tail cone is to finish my auxiliary battery mount tray and the solenoid bracket. Then it is finished!

Sides and bottom skins finished

Top skin in place

Strobe mount and static ports installed

Battery mounts




Finished making brackets to hold the cross-feed bus solenoid, and the master solenoids for the main and auxiliary batteries. They are in the 'to be primed' pile now and I am declaring victory on the tailcone. Unfortunately, I am finished on the exact day that Van's issued a Service Bulletin for the tail cone requiring the aft deck to be lifted and a set of doublers added to one of the bulkheads. If it had only been issued two weeks earlier I could have incorporated it in the build.

Arizona temperatures are just getting into the 110's and I am losing my evening build time. May be restricted to weekend mornings for the next couple of months.

Finished Product

288 Project Hours
99 Hours Tail Cone


RV-10 Empennage Attach



Dwg, Steps

Notes and Photos

6/18 to 6/28


11 all sections

Finished SB 08-6-1 compliance and then went on to empennage attach section of the plans. This section starts with mounting the HS to the work bench and then mounting the left elevator. After drilling the horn to center flange bearing, the left comes off and the right goes on for drilling. Then the right comes off and both go back on for drilling the horn flanges for the control push rod fitting. Then both come off for mounting the HS to the tailcone.

Temperatures hovered around 115 degrees F all weekend but it only felt like 113 because of the breeze. One good thing about Arizona is that the temperature almost never goes over 120.

Placed the HS on the tailcone and match drilled to the bulkhead brackets. Then mounted the VS and match drilled to aft most bulkhead. Both controls are bolted in place.

The elevator pushrod was fabricated, installed and adjusted. Then the elevator up/down travel was checked to specifications.

The elevator trim servo motor was assembled, installed and given a functional check. The rudder was mounted in place and checked for right/left swing.

Elevator Attach

Attaching to Tailcone


RV-10 Fairings



Dwg, Steps

Notes & Photos

6/29 to 7/11/08


12 all sections

The elevator and rudder top fairing were the easiest and just needed to be trimmed, drilled, countersunk and riveted in place. The rudder bottom fairing needed to be drilled for the aft strobe light and then needed some mechanism for holding the light in place. I floxed standoffs inside to accept screws.

The HS fairings needed to be closed in and required some custom fiberglass work. The VS fairing was the absolute worst as it was about 3/8" too short and required considerable fiberglass work to extend and close it.

I started the fiberglass work as a complete novice but and getting better at it as I go along.



I mounted a navigation/strobe light to the bottom rudder fairing. I used flox to hold stand-off nuts in place to anchor the light. I ran the wires out in between two VS mounting bolts at the top of the tie down bracket and into the rudder fairing. The only fairing I have not secured yet is the VS top because I may put an antenna under it.

This completes the entire tail kit.

347 hours project total



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