Fiberglass 101

Hours Worked = 4.5

Fiberglass is something that I have never worked with before. The RV10 is an aluminum plane, so what do I need fiberglass for? Well, there is actually quite a bit of fiberglass on the -10. The parts that I am now concerned with are the fiberglass tips for all of the tail feathers.

Having NO fiberglass experience, I turned to someone who does. My EAA tech councilor Gary. In addition to the -10 that he has now, Gary has built quite a few planes, including a few fiberglass planes like a Glastar and a Glasair that was an Oshkosh award winner. He knows his fiberglass!

So Gary was kind enough to stop over last night and give me a rundown of the basics and help me get started by cutting down one of the elevator tips and getting it fastened up. Between the fiberglass lesson, my hundreds of questions, and just chatting about airplanes and aircraft building, I probably put about an hour of actual work in on the plane!

Today was a different story. I managed to get tip fairings for the elevators and rudders (top and bottom) cut, drilled, and cleco’d in place. I even managed to get a first pass of some epoxy mixed with microballoons (microscopic glass bubbles used to thicken epoxy) applied to a few low spots that were in the fiberglass from the factory.

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Everything will have to sit to let the epoxy cure, and then tomorrow, I will hopefully start fitting the tips on the horizontal stab and vertical stab.

3 thoughts on “Fiberglass 101

  • June 16, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Wow. It’s really looking like an airplane vs just a punch of parts.

  • June 18, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Absolutely phenomenal, these video sequences make it look way too easy….the airplane practically assembles itself as we watch. The dog happily approves of the daily goings on! Is that an aftermarket Firebird decal on the hood of your Trans-Am? it doesn’t look like the factory decal? Perhaps would not have noticed if I hadn’t spent my formative years waxing a few of those…

  • June 18, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Good eye, Billy! It’s not a factory decal… or a decal at all. It’s a custom airbrushed bird that was done in 1975, when the car was only a year old. The original owner didn’t like the factory white, so he had it repainted in pearl white, and hired an artist to airbrush and pinstripe the bird.

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