Re-Fitting, Sandblasting, Priming and Storing the Tail Parts

Preparing Tail Parts for Covering
With the tail parts re-attached to the fuse it was time to re-check control movement of the elevators, trim tab and rudder.  When this checked out, the elevators and horizontal stabilizers were removed for sandblasting and priming.  A strobe light bracket from Univair was welded on the top of the rudder and later wired with a quick link harness prior to fabric cover.

The vertical stabilizer remained attached to the fuse and all the remaining tail parts were then hung from the rafters until the rest of the fuse was ready to cover.

Finishing the Turtledeck

Fabricating the Turledeck 3 of 3After the metal fabrication and system testing of the lift and lock mechanism was complete it was time to finish and protect the metal.  A backyard sandblasting set up was used to clean and prepare the metal for paint.  This set up was used for all smaller parts like tail pieces, rudder, landing gear legs, etc.  I found out that sandblasting is very messy and its impossible to recover used blasting material when you do it outside. All future sandblasting was done by Southwest Sandblasting in Grand Rapids who do an outstanding job.

After the turtledeck was sandblasted it was cleaned with MEK and hand brushed with a 2 part epoxy primer from Randolph Coatings quickly followed by a 2 part epoxy J-3 yellow finish color.  The 2 part epoxy paint protects the metal from corrosion and is impervious to MEK and all other Poly Fiber chemicals used for fabric attachment and finishing.

Because the inside fabric of the turtledeck can be seen when it is raised I used untinted Poly Brush to avoid having pink brush marks visible.

Preparing the Fuse

Fuselage on RotisserieThe newly purchased fuselage was attached to a homemade rotisserie fixture on wheels.  The fixture supported the fuse and allowed it to be turned and held in place for welding parts on, attaching floorboards, installing components, and for fabric covering and painting.

The fuselage stayed on the rotisserie for 4 years until it was removed for sand blasting and painting.  It was then re-attached and the rotisserie was motorized for easier turning. It stayed attached for another two years for fabric covering and painting until it was finally removed and let to stand on its own wheels.