F4U Corsair: The Tail Feathers!
My original plans for the tail section was to figure a way to conceal the rudder linkage inside the tail assembly. I came up with a good way to do it, but with the advise from my good friend Tony/LiCobra, I shelved the idea when the issue of the Corsair being a bit tail heavy arose. Knowing I was going to be installing my workable tail wheel assembly, I decided against this mod in lew of that. I did install a small square CF spar in the tail end of the rudder assembly base because that area seemed to be a bit weak?
I did re-hinge both the rudder and the elevator with CA live hinges. My previous attempts at this mod on the P-51 & P-47 proved exasperating because I couldn't retain the CA from spreading onto the flexible part of the hinge, thus making them rather stiff! This time I took a different approach. Knowing I was going to be re-painting the plane anyway, I decided to install the hinges in their slots, then take a small bit and drill a hole into the foam and thru the hinge material. That way, when I shot the CA in the holes it would spread evenly through out the hinge material. Doing this procedure I was able to keep the CA from spreading to the hinging parts of the live hinges. Once everything was done, I filled the holes with Squadron White Putty.
Once the rudder was done, I started on the elevator. First thing was installing a .080 joiner rod in both control surfaces to eliminate the need for 2 servo linkages. I did this before I re-hinged the elevator so I could retain the correct alignment on both left & right surfaces. Once the joiner rod was epoxied in place and confident everything was secure, I then did the re-hinge process on the elevator.
Because the elevator on the Corsair is a bit longer and thinner then both the P-51 & P-47, there have been reports of warpage along the outer sections. Mine too had a slight upward bend on the port side. To solve this I clamped the elevator onto a board to straighten out the bend and slowly applied heat evenly along the entire surface of the port side with a hair dryer. Once the elevator had cooled down. I removed it from the board and everything looked fine.
Still not confident that the elevator will retain it's shape, especially during those hot summer days with the sun bearing down, I decided a spar was going to be necessary. Once I determined a proper location for the spar, I set up a guide/jig with a piece of 1/4" board and 2 end stops. I have a handy little tool that adapts to the Dremel 200 that works much like a plunge router. Using the guides/jigs I was able to route a perfectly straight groove deep enough to accept the .220 x .090 x 17" Carbon Fiber flat rod I was going to use. I glued the spar in with GG, covered it with masking tape to reduce the expansion rate, and once again clamped everything in place. 12 hrs. later I took the clamps off, removed the tape, cut off the excess glue, and sanded the surface smooth. The elevator is now solid as a rock, and I expect no future deflections!
I do believe this is a "MUST-DO" mod!!
NOTE: I would suggest holding off installing any control horns until after the spar mod is done so not to interfere with the jig. Also, clamping the end stop jigs will prevent the entire jig assembly from moving while routing the groove.
Up-Date 1/23/2011: I found that the inner sections of the elevator control surface's had to be widen so they would clear the tail body of the fuse in the down inclination. I shaved 1/8" off both ends to achieve clearance.
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