October 2016 Issue
Control Rigging 101: Check It Yourself, First
Misrigged flight controls can rob speed, autopilot performance and threaten safety. Before bringing it to the shop, make your own assessments.
The chore of rigging the flight controls—which includes, among other things, adjusting control cable tensions—is a maintenance item that’s often neglected by owners and mechanics alike. After all, what could possibly change if the airplane has not changed? But change it does. Parts wear out and clearances change, cables stretch, brackets warp and maintenance of seemingly unrelated systems can lead to unforeseen rigging mayhem. At a minimum, improper rigging means lost airspeed. At worst, it can mean a lost airplane. In this article, we’ll look at the symptoms and describe a do-it-yourself process for checking the rigging on your own. The legwork could save you some shop labor.
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