When I began to re-assemble 56NE in my back garden in March of this year, one of the first things I found when I was doing the tail was that instead of the rudder cables being attached directly to the operating horns, they were each linked by a small stainless steel shackle. These had the effect of slightly extending the lengths of the cables but at the time I didn’t think any more of it.

However, when I started flying the aircraft, I found that although I could safely fly it, the rudder pedals were a bit too far forward for my comfort. And then various things began to link up in my head – I could never properly reach the toe brakes, which wasn’t a problem in the English X-Air that I’d flown, and when I did apply them, they were never effective enough for my liking. Readers might recall that I spent some time trying to adjust them a short while ago, without complete success, I must say.

Then it finally occurred to me. Bertrand, who had been 56NE’s main pilot before I bought it, is very tall, well over six feet, and is very long in the leg. Let’s just say that I’m not. By extending the rudder cables, he had effectively moved the rudder pedals forward to fit his legs in more comfortably, and this is why I was having the problems that I was. Even the toe brake problem I surmised – by tilting the rudder pedals forward, it would make it much more difficult to get your toes on them properly, so if the pedals were moved back, I thought that not only would I be able to operate the rudder more comfortably but I’d also possibly get more effective toe brakes.

And so it turned out this afternoon. I couldn’t just remove the shackles as there are solid steering rods connecting the rudder pedals to the nose wheel that would need lengthening to compensate. Each rod is only held on by two nuts so it didn’t take long to remove them, take out the shackles and reconnect the rudder cables. I ‘guesstimated’ how much I’d need to lengthen each rod based on the shackle size and I turned out to be dead right in one go, so the steering rods were back on in a jiffy. Time to jump into the pilot’s seat and try them out – perfect. And what about the toe brakes? They now felt as though they’d hold the aircraft while I do my mag checks, which they wouldn’t before. So a good afternoon’s work, taken all round. And I even managed to do my washing as well 🙂

By the way, it appears that we enjoyed a high of 28 degrees Celsius today. I think it was probably hotter on the airfield – my car temperature gauge showed over 30 degrees when I got in to come home – and it certainly felt sweaty enough for that while I was working. The weather forecast is now giving 32 degrees by the end of the week (Thursday and Friday) but with an increasing chance of showers at the same time. So it looks and feels just like summer at the moment – and the sky couldn’t have been bluer today. But it can’t last at this time of the year, and it looks as though we’ll be back to a more seasonal 24 degrees come Saturday and Sunday. So I must take the chance to get the capping tiles onto my chimney this week as then I’ll be able to install my wood-burner at my leisure even if there are showers.

2 thoughts on “A good afternoon’s work

  1. Hiya Sean, hope you got my email with my little pics attached as I haven’t got any photos now of those little shackles. I doubt whether your X-Air would have them though as I don’t remember them being on the English X-Air that I worked on for its permit a couple of years ago and I’m pretty sure that they were added by mine’s previous owner. As I said in my email, for you moving the pedals back is not an easy job unless there are adjusters in your rudder cables. If so you can just shorten them and lengthen the nose wheel steering rods. Just take off the rods, adjust the cables, then adjust the rods and refit them. Easy 😉

  2. Hi Roger, enjoy reading your tales from France. Interested in your rudder cable/steering rod changing exercise as I am not exactly a basketball player either! Do you have any photos of the shackles you mean? Not certain if my aircraft has the same but if so I may do what you have done. I can barely keep it still on the mag check.
    I think you need to register a rogerxair gmail address. Currently we are a group of two but it could become global!
    Best wishes,
    Sean.

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