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Old 09-04-2021, 12:26 AM
RV3Kev RV3Kev is offline
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Traralgon Australia
Posts: 46
Default RV3 Rudder Fiberglass Mounting Strips

On the rudder, in order to mount the base fiberglass a strip of needs to be added to the bottom flange. Its not shown in the plans but it's often mentioned on build sites.

a) What thickness. I have made two sets one in 0.025 and 0.032.
b) I made the width to project 1" beyond the flange.
c) What's the best methods for attaching the fiberglass to the aluminum sheet. Screws and nut plates or pop rivets, other ways ?

Any comments would be appreciated

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Old 09-04-2021, 10:26 AM
RWoodard's Avatar
RWoodard RWoodard is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Brighton, Colorado
Posts: 477

I've now seen fiberglass tips attached via 2 different methods. I think the more common method is to attach an aluminum flange to the aluminum part and then make the fiberglass part meet flush against the aluminum part (in your case, the rudder). If using this method, you may want to add a shim under the flange so that the fiberglass part can be a bit thicker than the rudder skin and still sit flush.

The other option is to just tuck the fiberglass part under the edge of the rudder skin and accept that the part won't fit exactly flush because the thickness of the aluminum skin will sit on top the fiberglass tip. I recently messed with my vertical stabilizer fiberglass tip and realized that the original builder used this technique. I have to admit that the thickness of the skin protruding on top the fiberglass piece wasn't (isn't) objectionable at all and is actually hardly noticeable. Using this technique, the fiberglass piece just needs to extend far enough into the vertical stabilizer to allow for fasteners.

No matter which technique you choose... an innie or an outie, I'd suggest installing nutplates for ease of access/maintenance in the future. My rudder bottom has a tail light in it and the top of the vertical stab has a strobe. I just recently replaced the strobe and I'm happy that I didn't have to mess up the paint on the VS to replace the strobe.

Here's an example where the fiberglass piece sits inside the Vertical Stabilizer. There are nutplates installed inside the fiberglass piece and the VS skin is dimpled to accept normal flathead (flush) screws.
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Rod Woodard
Brighton, Colorado (CO12)
RV-3 IO-320
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Old 09-04-2021, 06:39 PM
sf3543 sf3543 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 1,093
Default Here’s how I did mine

I used a metal flange and a spacer to allow for the fiberglass thickness and blind riveted the fairing on.
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Steve Formhals
A&P, Tech Counselor & Flight Advisor
Legend Cub
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