From Wikipedia – A flaperon (a portmanteau word) on an aircraft’s wing is a type of control surface that combines the functions of both flaps and ailerons. Some smaller kit planes have flaperons for reasons of simplicity of manufacture. The Kitfox Phoenix uses Flaperons for this very reason. Simplicity of use does not necessarily translate to simplicity of assembly. As with most things on the Phoenix, this was an area that required a good amount of patience to complete.
I arrived home in July to find Florida was in the middle of a drought. No rain in the afternoon translated into high heat all day long. Working in a metal hangar in this Florida Summer heat is like working in an oven. The meager fan I have in the shop barely provided any relief. Still the work must go on and my goal for this month was to get the Flaperons installed and tested.
The first item on the list was to create the flaperon wing tip. This was accomplished by shaping a wood base and covering it with two part epoxy. It was attached with more two part epoxy. The epoxy was then sanded and reapplied until the wood-epoxy piece was seamless with the aluminum flaperon. Then, the counterweights were added. These balance the weight of the long flaperon assembly so that input in either direction is equal.
Following the counterweights I installed the flaperon connecting arm. Each wing had a different angle of attachment so this was a bit of a tricky process. The picture on the left shows the attach point of the left wing while the right picture shows the angle difference between the left and right flaperons.
Using clecos, I reattached the flaperon connection points back onto the wing. I then was able to hang the flaperon onto their perspective wings and install the bushing assembly and connecting rods. Voila! All my control surfaces now work using the control stick and rudder pedals. That’s why they call it a stick and rudder airplane!
The last step in preparing the wings involved the installation of the pitot tube. The pitot tube is used by the airspeed indicator. This works by sampling the clean air pressure near the wing and comparing it to normal static air pressure. The difference in pressure translates into air speed. The pitot tube that comes with the kit is essentially a bent tube and nothing like the one in the picture. I will be installing Garmin’s G3X Touch screen system, so I wanted a pitot tube that was more appropriate for this system. The folks at Kitfox had just the thing, and sent out the upgraded pitot tube used in Garmin/ Dynon installations.
The installation of the flaperons was the last section of the wing chapter. So there you have it. With the fuselage and wing chapters complete, the Kitfox Pheonix is now ready for fabric. All I have to do now is disassemble the entire plane back to its original components…… Waaahhhh!
Before I do that I do want to double check all the work I have done so far. I am calling on my friend Buck, the Space Shuttle Quality Inspector, to go step by step through the instruction manual and revisit all the work I have done to this point. The purpose is to create a punch list. There have been certain sections of this build, such as installing the seat belts, which I have put off for a later time. I want to review all the chapters, and create a punch list of all these items. I can then decide if I wish to complete the work before or after I skin the plane. Having Buck review everything will also give me a better feeling that I did everything correctly.
That’s it for this entry. I’ll be back in October to continue on. Hopefully the weather will be cooler and I will be able to put a dent into applying the fabric. Oh wait! There is one more thing I forgot to tell you. I successfully completed my Private Pilot checkout. Yep, I can now legally fly my Cessna 172 with passengers. Yeah…I love Flying!