"My rudder is too stiff and it's the bungees' fault", and other urban legends

So I keep seeing blog posts discussing how the 601 has a stiffy, rudder that is, and the only way to resolve the burdensome issue is to buy a magical metal bungee , which will magically transform your rudder smoothness to greased like butter. I call b$&&@h$t. !!!
Let's explore this shall we ? Refer to 6-b-23. In your plans, and look at your rudder and most importantly the main front strut and how it is linked way up front. The part everyone needs to focus on is the 6g-1 Main gear as it fits into the 6-g-2 bearing. That bearing grips the main, with a death grip. It is holding that gear and preventing it from wobbling as you go down the runway at 40mph, and for some, 80mph. The bearing to main tolerance is tight. Super tight, and that friction directly translates to your feet as you push the rudder left and right. It is also effected by the cables attaching the rudder to the foot petals. The balance between cable tightness and the tight bearing on the main, translates to calories burned with your feet.
If you need to loosen the load on the foot pressure, you need wet sand the part of the main in contact with the bearing, sloowwwly..don't go crazy!  keeping in mind 2 inches above and below to consider the throw as the main goes up and down. Up and Down! That is all the bungee cushions. It is there to be a shock absorber for us three point landing guys.    Grease the main bearing connection a between the contact. Move the main by hand and as you sand and reposition you will feel the release of pressure. After install and when connecting the cables, do not over tighten the cables. Refer to the tension charts and use a cable tensionometer. Don't over do it. This should easily resolve your rudder foot work and ease the pressure on your feet. I  did this  sanding and greasing twice. Once when building it. Then again after 20 hrs flying. Try it and save your self the money on  some other add on but not needed item.

The rudder system on the 601 is very well designed been around for decades,  on lots of planes,  and pretty trouble free. If you don't kill your landings on the front gear, the bungee should last quite a while.

Go forth and Fly Dudes!! 

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keep in mind guys,  there are folks on this Forum,  that own product companies that sell to the Zenith flying community.  They are experts in marketing.  The Bungee issue is a perfect example.  Link an issue to a non event,  and suggest a product.  I am all for options,  but when the issue has been created by a product company to create demand for their specific product,  lets call it out.  When I put the suggestion to look at the bearing /rudder relationship,  immediately someone chimed in that Viking Steel Bungees were the only solution.  There in Lies my rub.  Feel free if you want to go steel bungee.  Frankly its a nice option.  But I don't like it when companies come on here trying to steer people to their product by creating an unsubstantiated problem.  This happened a while back with people and companies trolling this site and the old email site,  bad mouthing Zenith,  and when you dug further,  they were promoting competitive LSA aircraft.  See it for what it is ,  then make your choice. 


Good points - I try mightily to keep the commercialism out of the Forum and lately, have had fairly good cooperation.  If anyone has a business interest in a product, they definitely should state that in their post so people can take it for what it's worth. However, if they are a consumer who has bought and tried a product and have objective positive (or negative) things to say, that's OK, too. I put far more stock in consumer testimonials and informal reviews (which I occasionally do) than in vendor's sales pitches.

I "think" we're on the same wavelength - not all Zenith aircraft need the steel bungee, but if builder's can't get a smooth rudder despite your insights or simply don't want the bother of periodic bungee replacement, it's definitely an option!


(Zenith.aero Forum Moderator)

I understand and agree with your sentiments.

I really don't have a stiff rudder on my plane but would like to get out of frequent bungee changes and have to admit I never want a bungee to crap out in a rough terrain landing. Bad day.

I keep thinking about how I can improve the front gear to give more prop clearance and make it a better rough field aircraft without adding a lot of weight. Maybe a trailing link setup or something but at this point still thinking about it and checking that bungee. Scheduled to install my new one in the next week or so. .

Take care and fly safe.

I have an 801. It HAD stiff notchy rudder and bouncy nose gear. Until the bungee broke during a bouncy landing and I flipped and totaled my plane. Now I DONT HAVE an airplane anymore.  It had only seen 2 years of service and had been closely inspected only 2 months prior.  I am building my own steel bungee set up. I bought a brand new fresh bungee to put on my new one before I even fly it home. Losing money, getting banged up, and being pursued by the FAA just isn't worth it.


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