Wed Apr 28 2010

Fitting elevators and pitch servo

Well my server died yesterday, and I spent all day fixing that, so no work on the plane. Today, however, I started by trimming the skins on the HS to clear the counterbalance arms. I could have done this long ago, but never got around to it. The the lower right mark is exactly 2" from the edge of the skin. I marked that location so after the trimming is done, I can check how much I trimmed and save some time on the other three trim operations.

I made the initial trim a bit close on purpose, then filed the skin back to ensure 1/8 inch clearance at the closest approach of the counterbalance arm.

The trim location ended up being 55/64 inch from the two inch line I had originally marked.

Some time later, I had all four of the skins notched out for the counterbalance arms.

Now that the elevators could swing, I thought I would check the limits of travel. Ideally I'll have 30 degrees of up travel and 25 degrees of down travel.

With the elevators "in trail", the top skin is angled 5 degrees.

Then at full down deflection, I see 25 degrees for a difference of 20 degrees down travel. That's not good, but I think I know what the limit is being caused by.

Sure enough, the elevator horns are hitting the lower flange of the rear spar. I recall seeing where these flanges needed to be trimmed. Yet another case of a detail of empennage construction I had put off doing until later. I guess there's no putting it off anymore.

With the HS off, I also removed about 1/8 inch from the rectangular hole where the elevator horns stick down through. The right elevator horn was rather close to the edge of this cutout and I thought it needed more clearance.

Here's the notched out lower flanges of the HS rear spar.

While using the cutting disc to notch the flanges, I accidentally nicked the mounting brackets for the center bearing. I'll polish this out and touch up the powder coating with some of the touchup paint that Van's sells.

Plenty of clearance for the elevator horns to travel to the stop now. :-)

...and sure enough, full down elevator reads 30 degrees which equates to 25 degrees of travel. Perfect.

The up elevator travel is at the max...actually just past the max. I'm not worried about exceeding the max, because I don't currently have the up elevator stop installed. This'll be close enough for me to check and set the servo travel limits though.

First thing I noticed when at full up elevator was that the servo pushrod was rubbing the servo arm. A couple washers between the rod end bearing and the arm cured that. However, upon evaluating the servo travel, I could see that with full up elevator, the angle between the servo arm and the servo pushrod was very narrow. If the angle was much narrower, the servo arm could possibly go over center in a high load situation which would result in the servo making reverse control inputs. I decided to adjust the servo pushrod length to achieve the optimal end of travel limits on the servo.

After many iterations, I had about 29 degrees between the axis of the servo pushrod and the centerline of the servo arm at full down elevator.

Likewise at full up elevator, I had 29 degrees between the servo arm and pushrod. Perfect.

In the process of adjusting the servo pushrod, I noticed the top end of the servo mounting bracket was rather close to the bellcrank. Only about 1/16 inch of clearance remained. I decided I needed to clip the corner of the bracket at a 45 degree angle. That change resulted in roughly 3/16 inch clearance. Much better.