Information for IF1 Owners, Pilots, and Crew for Reno 2017
TECH CHECK 1: Control Systems
Welcome to the 2017 racing season! It’s going to be ‘one for the books’, so as promised your IF1 Technical Team will be going through a number of inspection areas that can keep you safe and fast.
First up, let’s talk about the Control System on your aircraft, and a few of the things to look for as you check it out. Get in the cockpit and hold each control at center while an assistant tries to move the control surface off of center in both directions. All of your controls should be smooth in operation through their full range of motion, with no ‘slop’ or play; if slop is present then control surface flutter is a real possibility and this system will not be allowed to fly until the issue is corrected. Every fastener and component in the control system should have your eyes on it, be it bolts, washers, nuts, rod ends, eye bolts, or studs. Some of these items may apply to you, some may not:
1: Control cable condition: Have a look at every inch of cable in the control systems of your racer. Even better, take a few cotton balls, place them in the palm of your hand (best to wear a glove here), wrap your hand around the cable, and run the cotton over the length of the cable. Any broken cable strands will stand out clearly. Pay careful attention to the cable where it encounters a pulley, or penetrates a skin.
2: Control horns/tabs/flat stock components: Have a close look at your control horns for cracks in welds where they are attached at both ends of their run, or cracks in the horns themselves. If the horns are off of your airplane, it is good racing practice to use a dye penetrant process such as Magnaflux to ferret out cracks before they fail. Are the holes where the control cables or other actuators attach round, or have they been ovalled by wear? If they have, it is cheap insurance to replace them now.
3: Torque tube fastenings: Look at the connections present in the torque tubes on your ailerons. If there are fasteners penetrating the tubing, are they AN quality bolts? Are the nuts in use locknuts, and what is the condition of the fiber/plastic insert, have they been removed too many times to provide proper retention of the bolt? (Again, this strict standard applies to EVERY fastener in your aircraft). Is the hole penetrating the torque tube round and tight, or has it been ovalled by wear?
4: Hinges: Check every hinge on every control surface. If pins are present, are they correctly retained in the barrels of the hinge? If eye bolts are used, are the holes round and tight, and is the eye bolt seated well to its mount (especially at the end of rod-type controls, and is the weld from the retaining nut to the rod in good condition?).
5: Balance: Are your control surfaces correctly balanced, either statically with weight, dynamically with ‘horns’, or a combination of the two. Have a look at a classic article by Tony Bingelis on the subject at the link at the bottom of the page.
This is only a brief overview of your control system inspection items, engine controls will be looked at when we talk about engine inspection items. As your Technical Inspection Team, we are tasked with enforcement of the Technical Rules, which can be instantly accessed at http://www.if1airracing.com in the ‘Documents’ section. These rules have maintained the rich history of IF1 while providing an excellent framework for successful competition. We want to engage with all owners, pilots, and crew early in the season to help you navigate these rules and processes; we view this as the best way to assure that the best prepared, fastest, and safest aircraft show up in September. 2017 Inspections in all areas will be thorough and in strict accordance with the rules as laid out in the Technical Rules document.
For current participants, it is most important that you make us aware of new modifications that you are working on for the coming season, especially those that may clearly affect the dynamic stability of your aircraft such as new wings, weight additions or subtractions, gear changes, etc. Even if no changes are planned, we are eager to work with you before the race events to clarify rules, verify weight and balance parameters for your aircraft locally, or just talk about the technical side of racing (there are a number of extremely experienced racers on the Technical Team who have already seen and done a vast number of the ‘new’ ideas that come up, take advantage of this)!
If you would rather have a printed version of this letter and the Tech Checks, please contact us and they can be sent to you. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and commitment to keeping IF1 the most competitive and innovative air racing on the planet!
Link to Tony’s article:
Tags: Reno 2017