An MQ-9 Story pt. 4 – Empennage

By Bob Kreutzer

The fitting of the empennage.

After fitting the motor, the empennage needed to be installed. As the factory was advocating just gluing the empennage onto the airframe and I realized that that would not work if I ever wanted to remove that nicely tucked-in motor I would need to make the stabilizers removable. This was easy enough with some hitch-pins and some more graphite rods.

Note the little copper L-pins I used for set-up. These were replaced with the proper sized hitch-pins.

Note also, the tight linkage set-up. This factory set-up was a disaster and the controls clashed with each other at full deflection. Yikes! What you cannot see is the severely misaligned dihedral of the stabilizers .The dihedral was off by almost 1 inch” I guess the poor Chinese worker was distracted on that day. I don’t think this is going to fly straight.

It took a little minor surgery to correct this.

Next up: the elevator linkages.

Oh, wait. The supplied elevator ball link is split!

Imagine that, the rudder link is split too . These early production run models had a history of falling out of the sky. I bought all new hardware.

Here is the factory set up with new hardware. This is when I found out the elevator was going to crash into the rudder on full up and full left. I had to cut off the rudder and cut down the wire and re-bend about an inch lower and re-install it. That took care of it.

This is the final flight worthy result. It is a bit busy in the back. Here you can see the final hitch pins that allow the elevators to be removed for motor servicing.

Here is the final result. It is starting to look like a real MQ-9!