Aileron Gust Lock
Last updated 11-13-04

A simple device to keep the ailerons from flapping in the wind while parked

During one of my cross country flights during Phase I testing, I landed at a remote airport to get one of those $100 hamburgers. It burger was great, but what I found when I came back to my airplane was not! I has simply left the Berkut on the ramp where the line-boy guided me in typical parking style - nose down in grazing mode. What I didn't realize is that I was facing downwind on a rather gusty day. When I came back from lunch, I noticed that the whole plane was rocking from side to side and the ailerons were banging up and down full deflection. I had thought that the trim springs were stiff enough to hold the ailerons steady - wrong! So, when I got home, I searched the web to see what other folks were doing about this - I found nothing. I had seen potato chip bag clips, threaded rod through blocks of foam, bungee cords, and other contraptions at air shows and I wanted nothing of the sort.

What I decided on was something I remember seeing, but I have no idea where or when it was. So, although this is not an original "innovation", I did have to develop it from a very vague memory. I'm publishing it here mainly because I found nothing on the web like it, and thought that some of you might want to know about it too. So, here goes...

The device itself is extremely simple - a small piece of .020 aluminum with two 1.5" long pieces of 5/16" vinyl tubing imbedded in it. A third hole at the bottom is used to attach a "Remove Before Flight" keychain ribbon for added visibility. The unit is used by slipping it into the inboard gap of the aileron and wing root. The vinyl tube allows the unit to be pressed in firmly without damaging the wing or control surface. As you can see, it's hard to miss the ribbon during a pre-flight walk around.

There you go...a simple, lightweight, cheap and effective gust lock. No more bashing and flapping of the least without me being the one doing the bashing!

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