Monday, May 27, 2019

Rudder Pedals - a new approach

Ok, I think this subject warrants its own post.  I've never really liked the way Van's does their rudder pedals.  They get the job done and they are relatively inexpensive to install.  Thats all good news and part of the reason the RV series is so popular...they work well and they are not super expensive..or they don't have to be anyway.  But...I don't like the fact that the brake master cylinders are on the front side of the pedals, and I don't really like the looks of the plastic brake lines.

It turns out I'm not the only one who feels that way.  Paul from ControlApproach created a beautiful set of pedals for the RV-10 but they are above my budget range for this airplane.  However, he also created a retrofit kit that utilizes the Van's rudder pedal bars!  This is still pretty expensive but I pulled the trigger anyway and boy am I happy with that decision.  The pedals are a work of art and very high quality.  Take a look at the pictures and I think you will agree.

First I decided I didn't want the rudder cables running outside of the tunnel.  This little bar will attach to the rudder bars as you will see in the following pictures, and the rudder cables will attach to it...inside the tunnel.  This is not part of the kit that Paul provides but I think he is working on something similar.
I started with some 1/8" stainless steel bar stock and had a local welding shop tig weld a piece of 1" diameter round stock to the end.  I did have to cut/grind out a nice contour for the round stock to fit into.

Here is the idea.  the cable attach bar will be bolted to the rudder bar and oriented so that it is in the same location as the tab on the rudder pedal bars.

After drilling a hole in the round stock portion I lined it up on the rudder bars so I could drill a similar hole for the AN3 bolt that will hold this together. The bolt goes all the way through the bar.
To prevent the tube from collapsing and causing elongation of the hole due to bolt wiggle I fabricated a bushing that has a #12 hole drilled in it.  The AN3 bolt will pass through this bushing and give some internal support to the entire assembly.  What you see in this picture is the "tool" I created to slide the bushing down inside the rudder bar arms.  Its simply a piece of piano hinge wire that I used a 6-32 die to put some threads on and screw into the 6-32 hole I drilled into the side of the bushing.  This allowed me to slide the busing down to the hole and move it back and forth as needed to align it properly.

This is just a picture of me tapping the 6-32 hole in the side of the bushing.
Here you can see the bushing inside the rudder bar.  I slightly offset it so you could see it.

Hard to see but in this picture you see me sliding the bushing inside the rudder bars.

This is a picture of a few of the parts of the Control Approach retrofit kit.  Look at the quality of these parts!

In this picture you can see the welded tab that is a little offset and does not allow the clamping blocks to sit properly.  I ended up milling down the left side and adding a washer to the right side to get it to fit properly.

Assembled and aft side picture.  Note that I used some washers as spacers.  Thats not going to stay that way. 

Fwd side picture.
Back side view but the pedal on the right is still using the washers as shims and is not yet in the correct position.

And here they are sitting in position.

Slightly angled view.  Notice that the rudder cable attach bars are actually inside the tunnel now.  If you look closely you will see that I riveted a filler piece in where the rudder cables normally enter the tunnel on the pilot side.  The copilot side has a large opening that I cut so that I will have easy access to the fuel pumps.

A close up view of the pedals after I had removed the temporary washer setup.  This is what its supposed to look like with the curved arm on the left pedal mounted behind the bar.  I did have to do a little machining and shimming to get the clamping block on this pedal to fit properly.  The welded tab on my rudder bars was not centered.