I just finished the right alieron upgrade with the mass balance and the strengthened rear spar. I also changed the flex hinge to a standard piano hinge. The plans, along with the photo blogs were very helpful. I can't believe how nice the alieron moves now and how easy it is to get a perfect balance. I just have to finish the alieron bellcrank and skin strengtheners and I can close out the wing. It's amazing how just a small amout of additional hardware can increase the wing strength dramaticly. I had 19 hrs of flight on the original design and had not problems at all, in fact I grumbled too about fixing a perfectly good aircraft, but I am impressed with how much stronger the wings will be.
I'm at the stage in the upgrade where I have to decide if I want my old aileron skin hinge or make the cuts and add a piano hinge. What made you decide to use the piano hinge? Which do you see as a safer and stronger option in flight and why?
Mathieu, would you also please give me your opinion?
I've gone around and around on this and have never heard anything really definitive on the whys of one or another. Yes, please, Mathieu and others, before we all finish rebuilding the wings, lets have a real in-depth discussion here. What is THE answer?
I really do not have a preference on the aileron hinge type, especially now that we have added the counter weights. The mass majority of the accidents had the piano hinge ailerons but there are also a lot more Zodiacs flying with the piano hinges. Structurally, both are good and the flutter report was done with the hinged ailerons. So I think that its personal preference. Its as simple as that.
The only reason I decided to change to the piano hinge was it would make it that much easier to ensure a perfectly weighted counter balance for the alerion. Plus it does look pretty cool, and moves very smooth.
Custom instrument panels are now available directly from Zenith Aircraft Company exclusively for Zenith builders and owners. Pre-cut panel, power distribution panel, Approach Fast Stack harnesses, Dynon and Garmin avionics, and more.
Developed specifically for Zenith builders (by a builder) these videos on DVD are a great help in building your own kit plane by providing practical hands-on construction information. Visit HomebuiltHelp.com for the latest DVD titles.