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Rudder Pedals
12/14/2008

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Lightening holes & new tab...

Pedals and more...

I have a set of rudder pedals from the salvaged Skybolt I bought a couple of years back. The pedals are not the plans tubular type of construction, but are made up of flat plate. I am not sure if they are heavier than the tube approach, they are however, well made, with beautiful welds. So, I decided to use them. I also heavily contemplated on drilling lightening holes into the plates, but I know there is A LOT of pressure applied to these plates when braking, and not being an engineer I didn't want to weaken anything. I still may apply some choice small holes, I don't know yet. Meanwhile, I decided to dry fit everything for good measure, then paint them.

The rudder was mounted, fairleads installed, and everything went together well. I had to sit in the cockpit to test leg length for the pedals and brakes, all felt nice and comfortable. Of course, while I was sat there I made a few vroom vroom noises  :-)

I wasn't happy with the travel action of the ruddder pedals, since the forward pedal spring attach points were set in a position were the spring would act as a stop when one pedal was at full forward travel. This seemed to be a fault on the earlier model of the skybolt, which was later changed: The 90's plans show the spring attach point lower down. This would avoid the spring getting in the way during forward travel of the pedal. Also, the distance between spring attach points is bigger, resulting in smoother tension. These unique pedals also have an extra underside spring, I think these were implemented to aid the original short spring. I am going to leave on the underside springs since they really provide a nice feel/action. I will be welding on an attach point lower down and removing the original attach point. This gives me 2 springs at each pedal...some sort of redundancy there, so to speak. For the life of me, I couldn't find  'exact' replacement springs for the underside, so since they looked OK (just grimy) I decided to throw them in my parts bucket that will end up going to the cad platers at some point.

I also noticed I had no stops on these pedals, there wasn't even stops at the rudder. I have applied stops at both ends (see inset pic for front stop).

Everything was media blasted a couple of years back, so now on to paint...I had tried spraying with a HVLP gun in the past, but it was very cumbersome for small parts, lots of over spray, sags and runs etc. I seriously thought about powder coating, but then I decided to buy an HVLP detail gun. I bought one of the cheapos from harbor freight ($39, not that cheap - for them that is). I figured I'd try it out and if I liked it, I would invest in something better for the important exterior stuff later on. Boy, I loved it! This little thing made it almost a pleasure to paint! I got so carried away with it, I decided to get out the mothballed I-struts and a few other parts and prime them. I had almost sent out the engine mount for powder coating, but that too got the primer treatment. For priming I used Randolph Epoxy Primer from AS&S.

Other Stuff

Gas Tank
The main tank has now been fully dry fitted, sender installed, painted with primer, top coated with PPG, and all the straps have been tweaked/test fitted too (including the modified strap over the sender unit). Neoprene U-channel from AS&S was used on the straps. Of course, the channel wouldn't go around the circular modification strap I had made, so for that I used contact cement and cork sheet.  The tank was removed and is ready for mothballing for a season.

Turn & Bank Indicator
I was very fortunate to come across one of these for the princely sum of $100, and it is electric not vacuum. I was going to buy a 'pictoral' solid state T&B, but this price tempted me too much. It does of course have a mechanical gyro as a downside (acro issues), but I figured I could have an isolation switch for it. I know gyros need a fair few minutes to stop spinning, but I figured it wouldn't be 'on' if the flight was acro intended, and could be part of an acro start-checklist as 'off', all other times - on. I am currently making a new face for it in white, to match my other gauges. 


Fixed the "oops"...
Fixed the "oops"...
A tranquil paint scene...
A tranquil paint scene...


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