2.7.0 Ailerons

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I’m starting the aileron construction process with the right wing. There’s no particular reason for that other than the fact that the right wing was already sitting on my construction table! 

The first step in the process is very accurately measuring the location of the aileron. It’s also a bit tricky since the measurement on the top of the wing is different than on the bottom of the wing. The aileron also needs to be cut out at an angle. In this first photo, the measuring is complete and, using a number of tools including a die cutter and my Dremel Multi-Max, I now have an aileron in its unfinished state!

Right Aileron

After the wings get finished we have to bugger them up by cutting stuff out - like the aileron!

You can see the angled cut in the photo above. The shorter side in the top side of the aileron. The photo below shows what the wing looks like now that the aileron is removed. It’s kind of messy in there but that gets cleaned up later.

Right Aileron Well

The rough aileron well - it needs a lot of work yet!

The aileron well needs to be rounded out to make room for the aileron as it swings up and down. See photos in section 2.7.3 that show the completed well after it’s been fiberglassed. I needed some fairly easy way to sand down the well to make it round, so I went to Home Depot and bought a 1.25” plastic pipe. I glued some 80 grit sandpaper to that and used it to help form the curved surface. It worked pretty good. I eventually also bought a 1/2” plastic pipe and glued some sandpaper to it as well so that I could easily sand the tighter areas. In addition, I used a Dremel tool with a 9/16” sanding disk attached to help grind out foam in areas that the pipes/sandpaper couldn’t reach.

Aileron Well Sanding Tool

The aileron well needs to be rounded out inside the wing. I bought a hunk of plastic pipe and glued some sandpaper on. It works pretty good!

The foam on the backside of the aileron also needs to be formed. The book shows how to make a specialized sanding block for this purpose. The next photo shows this homemade sanding block next to the aileron. I’ve also marked a line on the foam to use as a guide during the forming process. 

The construction manual suggests using a wood form of some sort to hold the aileron in place during the sanding and construction process. Once again, Home Depot to the rescue - a 1”x10"x8’ piece of pine which works perfectly here. The nails are used as a guide to keep the aileron from moving around. All told, it was a pretty easy fixture to make!

Aileron Foam Sanding

Prepping the aileron for sanding. To the left is another homemade sanding block needed for sanding the proper angles on the foam.

The photo below shows a closeup of the sanded foam. The pipe sitting below is the counterweight that needs to be glued to the bottom skin of the aileron. That process begins next.

Aileron Sanding Complete

The foam at the top is angled 70 degrees away from the skin. Some of the foam at the bottom is removed from the skin to make way for the counterweight.

Gluing down the counter weight is a bit tricky since it needs to be placed as perfectly as possible on the lower skin of the aileron. Since it’s round I also need some way to keep the glue from running all over the place. That’s what the plastic is for. It worked well!

Aileron Counterweigh Glued On

In order to keep the counterweight in place while the epoxy dries, and to keep the epoxy from dripping all over the place, I used this plastic sheet to control the process!

Once the epoxy dries around the counterweight, the next step is to embed the torque tube in the foam. This short tube eventually gets attached to a much longer tube that becomes part of the aileron control system. The first step is to carefully remove more foam. Too deep is not good! I used the Dremel tool with the 9/16” sanding wheel to carefully and slowly remove just enough foam so that the tube laid perfectly into the slot. Before gluing it into place, I drilled a hole through the tube and the torque tube coupler (not shown here), in preparation for attaching it later to the long torque tube that runs through the wing.

Right Aileron Torque Tube

More foam needs digging out to make way for the torque tube.

Eventually I need to attach hinges to the aileron. The hinges need a substantial backing plate to be riveted to. One of those backing plates can be seen off to the left in the photo above. That plate will cover the entire torque tube, as shown in the photo below. (The plate is temporarily positioned in this photo. The top lip actually slides between the foam and the top skin when getting glued in.) See below for photos showing how the hinges get attached to the plates.

Right Aileron Hinge Plate

Three hinge plates need to be installed to provide backing for attaching the aileron hinges. This one also covers up the torque tube.

Right Aileron Center Hinge Plate

A small amount of foam needs to be removed in order to keep the hinge plate flat with the rest of foam.

Once the three hinge backing plates are installed, the next step is glassing the internal surface of the aileron. Those photos will be available shortly!

© John Trautschold 2016