When discussing rigging in the context of aviation, one is referring to the adjustment of moveable flight controls situated across the fuselage and structures of an aircraft. These include wings, stabilizers, rudders, and other various devices. To conduct rigging, one will set the cable tension for surfaces, adjust the limits of flight controls, set travel stops, and much more. To ensure safe flight conditions, pilots must guarantee that rigging is performed correctly, and this can be done by following the specific requirements set out by the aircraft manufacturer or component manufacturer. In this blog, we will discuss the basic methods of conducting aircraft rigging checks so that you can better understand how it is typically conducted.
Prior to checking the position or angle of any component, one must first ensure that the aircraft is properly jacked and leveled for safety. Then, one should always keep in mind that the position or angle of a main structural component is always related to the longitudinal datum line that is parallel with the aircraft center line, as well as the lateral datum line being parallel to the line meeting up with the wing tips. For smaller aircraft models, fixed pegs will often be connected to the fuselage with positioning that is parallel to the datum lines. To see if the aircraft is level, a spirit level or straight edge will be situated across the pegs. Oftentimes, larger aircraft models will also follow this similar method of level checking.
To check the dihedral angle of the aircraft wings, special boards provided by the aircraft manufacturer will need to be used. If you do not have the manufacturer provided boards for checking the dihedral, then a standard straight edge and inclinometer may be used instead. With either tool, one should follow manufacturer instructions for proper positioning as each model of aircraft will differ in the design of its wings. Additionally, some wings or horizontal stabilizers may feature horizontal sections, and in very rare instances, anhedral angles.
To check incidence, one will need to conduct a reading in at least two separate areas of the wing to guarantee that there is no present twist that would detract from flight. Incidence checks are generally conducted with a specialized board, though the choice between boards will often come down to a number of factors as there are various types available. One example is boards with a stop at the forward edge, allowing for contact to be established with the wing’s leading edge. In other instances, specialized boards with location pegs may be relied on to establish a fit in specific positions. To keep any board clear from the contour of the wing, short extensions are added. Whenever an incidence board is placed on a wing, an inclinometer placed on the board should read zero if everything is good.
Fin verticality should be checked after finalizing the rigging of the horizontal stabilizer, and the check will entail a comparison to the lateral datum. To get such measurements, readings will be taken from a specific point at the top of the fin to another point on both the left and right horizontal stabilizer surfaces. If readings fall within the standard range as specified by the manufacturer, then everything is good. If the rudder hinges need to be checked as well, the rudder should be disconnected so that a plumb bob line can be passed through the hinge attachment holes. If the line passes centrally through all holes, then alignment is correct.
Beyond such examples, there are various other checks that one may conduct such as for engine alignment and basic symmetry, and pilots and operators should be familiar with the various tools and methods that they can take advantage of for their particular aircraft model. If you need any rigging check tools or aircraft components, we at One Click Purchasing can help you secure everything you require with ease.
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