Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gust Lock

Weather day. Gusty winds, overcast and rain is not a good mix for VFR flying so I knew I would be staying on the ground. But I had work to do. As I arrived at the airport I could see the carpenter was working on the hangar doors. I had hoped to see new doors being installed, but instead he was hired to repair the old ones. Still an improvement I can appreciate. I made sure I wouldn't be in his way, then pulled the cover back and opened the canopy. About that time I heard rain on the roof. I smiled at the prospect of working on my plane in a covered spot.

This appeared to be a simple installation. Two holes were to be drilled in the bottom of the panel to accept locking studs held in place with 5/16 hex nuts. So, how to position myself to drill the holes? Memories of working on my car as a kid came flooding back. Upside down in a bucket seat, flashlight in my mouth while squeezing my hands under the dash to to some wiring or whatever. A teenager can do it in a snap, if you're over fifty its not so easy. I positioned myself in the copilot's seat and kind of rolled inverted into the pilot's seat (making sure ALL tools were within reach) and used a center punch and a ruler to mark the hole location. Slowly, carefully I drilled the holes making sure I wasn't going to hit anying vital. Next I used all three of my hands to hold the nut, thread the studs and hold the flashlight while tightening the assembly with an open end wrench.

I'm very pleased with the results, however the lower left side of my back is still reminding me that unusual attitudes do not come for free anymore.


  1. I met the designer of the lock, Dick Russ, at Sebring and Sun n Fun this year. He was the chief engineer on Apollo 8-11! He has a 2010 Piper Sport that he loves. He now sells the lock for other LSA's as well. The lock should have come with measurements/instructions to aid in installation. Enjoy!