Pinning Hinges to Survive Aerobatics
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Home > Articles & Tips Index > Construction > Pinning Hinges to Survive Aerobatics

[Courtesy of John Battershell, September 1998]

Remember to always pin your hinges so that they will not pull out. I have been using the easy hinges in my planes but pin them with 1/8" dowels. Previous to not pinning the hinges, I had both ailerons blow off a 28% 300 during flight after a fast loop into a full roll. Both popped off together when the plane was inverted and low above the trees. All I could do was throttle back and watch it go into the trees. Since then, all hinges are pinned.

My tips on Hinging and pinning:

  1. Cut the slots for the hinges and pre fit all surfaces. Do all construction such as control horn hard points now.
  2. When you are ready for covering stage, cover the leading edge of the control surface with monokote and trim flush with the surface of the aileron etc. Use the base color of your trim scheme. Also cover the mating edge of the wing and trim flush with the surface of the wing or stab etc.
  3. Install the hinges and push the control surface into place. As required , deflect the surface to max to set the gap and then glue.
  4. Chuck up a 1/8" drill in your dremel tool. From the bottom of each surface, drill a hole through the wood and into the hinge. It is not necessary to go all the way to the top side of the aileron. Just drill a little past the hinge. It is important to use to dremel for drilling, a normal electric drill is too slow and will chew up the balsa where as the dremel high speed makes a perfect clean hole.
  5. Install a short piece of 1/8 dowel, a small spot of thin super glue and trim off the excess with a hobby saw. Now all of the nubs can be sanded flush with the surface of the aileron and wing.
  6. Now when you cover, lay the monokote over the whole wing and cover over the hinge line with on solid piece of covering. Stick the covering down around the hinge line and then cut the monokote along the hinge centerline leaving 1/2 for the aileron and 1/2 for the wing TE. Use the iron to stick the covering down into the hinge area and on top of the previously applied monokote. It sticks great and the seam is not noticeable at all. I also think covering the plane is easier because the ailerons and elevators are covered at the same time as the wing.

Hope this was informative to anyone who reads it.

John Battershell (jbattershell "at"

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