Flight Controls

Time: 5 Hours

I got to work on the flight controls this afternoon with adjusting the rod ends that hang downward to connect the control structure. These have measurements from the support to the center of the rod end which is a little difficult to see without a mirror. I installed the pilot and passenger control sticks into the control structure. From there I connected the control tube that links the pilot and passenger control sticks. I will say getting the bolt and various washers in place is a real pain. I can’t imagine doing this without the washer wrenches. Once those are tied together I connected the control tube that connects the sticks to the bell crank. The plans have you do this first before bolting the bell crank in place but it doesn’t tell you to slide the bell crank into the area it will sit as there isn’t enough room to slide it into place. So I took it apart, pain in the butt, and slide the bell crank into the opening and reconnected the tube. Now I could bolt the bell crank into position, which is not very easy as well.I texted my buddy Glen to say I’m glad I didn’t have to remove the bell crank because it was a pain in the butt.  He replied by don’t forget the bolt that holds the autopilot servo! Oops that’s exactly what I did! So I had to undo the bell crank, remove the bell crank,  drill the hole for the autopilot servo arm and put the bolt in place for the servo. This bolt lines up inside the bell crank bracket and would be a real pain to put in down the road.  

               From there I added the aft control tube and connected it to the bell crank. In clamped the elevators in trail so that they were in the neutra position. Before I connected the control tube to the elevator horns I verified that the control sticks were equal to each other. I found that they were a little off based on my digital level. So I undid the rod end on the pilots control stick and adjusted it to get both sticks perfect. Now I connected the aft end of the aft control tube to the horns that were still in the neutra position. The control sticks should now be at 90° compared to the fuselage which I readjusted to level. They were off at 89.7° so I adjusted the aft end a turn and got them spot on.  

       I released the clamps to see my controls and elevators moving in unison which was pretty cool. I did notice that there was a little binding in the middle part of the throw. After some inspection I found that the bolt I put in place in the bell crank for the autopilot servo was rubbing on the rivet heads a little. I have my buddy Glen confirming that I have the washers in the correct spot for that bolt. If I have that wrong I’m going to have to take the bell crank off again for the third time! But I’m getting better at it! After running some errands I got a call from Glen looking at his bell crank and confirmed that he only had one washer underneath the bolt instead of two. The plans called for one washer and a star washer to help keep the bolt from backing out. After a short discussion I decided to remove the bolt and remove both washers and replaced with one thin washer. The thought is that the bolt head is drilled and I will eventually safety wire it after installation of the servo. So off came the bell crank one more time, I’m getting pretty good at installing it!  I decided that was a good time to clean up shop as I would be gone for a couple days on a trip. What better place to protect the parts then when they are in their correct position. I needed to store the VS and writer so I put both on the fuselage.   

     While I was cleaning up parking I grabbed the tail wheel assembly and put it into position. You can see the Bell tailwheel fork that I bought to replace the stock Van’s one. 


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