bending the sticks

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bending the sticks

Postby gme9261236 » Fri May 16, 2008 11:43 am

Been pretty busy with new topics around here lately, must be the spring push.

The sticks in the airplane do not sit right and we are going to change them. As it stands now with the straight control sticks to go full forward stick you have to lean forward in the seat and while flying neutral your arm is outstretched fully and does not rest on anything which is not really condusive to any sort of precision or duration flying. The only position that is comfortable is full aft which you are only at for 1% of the flight, during takeoff and landing and taxi.

We went to the local home depot and bought some EMT 3/4" tubing which looked like it would do the job but turns out that the OD is a little bigger around than what is in the plane currently. Does anyone know what kind of tubing is in there? Is it chromoly and where can we get around 10 feet of it? I want to put it in a pipe bender and do 2 opposing 45 degree bends to get the postion of the grip roughly 5-6" further back at least. We have access to the bender just not sure where to get the pipe.

Ordering stuff online is getting pretty old so it would be great to find it nearby but we will do what we have to do of course.

Thanks again, we would all be lost without this site.

-shawn
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Postby scubarider2 » Fri May 16, 2008 2:14 pm

Same problem here....I am 6 feet with long legs.  I had to move the seat forward enough so that my hand and arm rests on my leg and is comfortable in all positions from there.  Legs are not too cramped but would love to be able to move the seat all the way back.
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Postby stede52 » Fri May 16, 2008 3:19 pm

I did the bend in mine also because of my long legs, the tubing size for the control stick is OD:7/8", wall: .058", ID:.759", Wicks P/N# R7/8x058-T6, Aircraft Spruce P/N# 03-36400

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bending the sticks

Postby taildrgfun » Sat May 17, 2008 1:00 am

I'm new on this forum. I know some of you saw my Highlander on a couple short field hilltop videos I put on YouTube.  Must be some good people on here being pilots and flying these super fun planes. We took about 6 mos and finished building ours in April 05.  I have 880 hrs on it so far and most of it is doing what I think is way fun stuff like is in those clips on YT.  I just have a blast doing that kind of flying.  
 I was not comfy with the straight sticks either.  Mine are alum and I have a TIG welder so I cut and welded them so they were offset back a little over 2 inches.  I have short legs and like the seat all the way up. Had I offset the stick any more I couldn't get full up elevator.    Sorry this kind of all runs together, I fly MUCH better than I type.  :wink:
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Postby gme9261236 » Sat May 17, 2008 6:00 am

First of all. Taildrgfun...that is a great video and we are glad we found it. It is a breath of fresh air when we start to see people such as you and Lynn who actually put a plane through its paces. We will be done with ours and ready for inspection next weekend and we will follow suit.

Secondly. Being as patient as we were my father and I went on a tubing mission yesterday and ended up at our home airport in the hangar of an A&P who plans builds aircraft for customers. It just so happened that he stocks tubing. After two trips to find the right size we ended up with a piece of 7/8" OD chromoly tubing. We would have gone for the aluminum but there was none available without ordering and the very small tradeoff in weight was outweighed (no pun intended) by the added strength.

We borrowed a 3/4" EMT tube hand bender from my electrician friend and bent both sticks on one piece of 52" tubing because we figured that once cut down to size there would be no leverage to bend the tubes. When the first bend was done we traced it on the welding bench as a template to match the second. After the whole tube was bent with both sticks it will resemble a dirtbike handlbar. We then cut the tubing in half to begin fitting them in the plane. We cut the bottom down to maybe 2" after the start of the curve to fit on the nub and then cut the top down to a comfortable height to still clear the bottom of the dash.

The end result was nearly 5" of travel change with the stick in the full aft position it rest just infront of your stomach and then in the full forward position it rest just before reaching the lower part of the panel. Neutral now sits at a much more comfortable position. Although it was not perfect as far as resting your arm in cruise it is much closer and in a better and more natural position. When I get back to the shop today I will take some comparison photos and then some of them mounted so you can better see what we did.

stede, thanks for that link if we were not able to track some down at our local airport that would have certainly been the next step. As we all know though it sure feels good to not have to order a part for once.
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Bending the sticks

Postby Roger » Sat May 17, 2008 12:34 pm

A friend of mine over in Moab Utah, who has since passed, got his chrome bent sticks from Kitfox up in Caldwell Idaho. Very good looking sticks too by the way. Not sure if they still produce them, as this was two and a half years ago. Might give them a try though.
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Postby gme9261236 » Sat May 17, 2008 1:26 pm

Here are the photos of the completed project. The one with me in it shows the new resting position with the elevator neutral, alot more comfortable than previous. Thanks for your help and quick responses guys. I was a little to impatient and ended up just going on a "bent stick tangent" before being able to take some of your great advice. DO NOT BOTHER CLICKING TO ENLARGE BECAUSE I FOR SOME REASON MADE THEM OVER 1200X1600 RES.
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Sticks

Postby Roger » Sat May 17, 2008 8:44 pm

Hey Shawn:
Your sticks look awsome. Great job. Nothing wrong with those.
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Postby Dave Krall CFII SEL SES » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:07 am

Those look great! We've been bending the same tubing and can only get to about an inch from the complete bend before the tube kinks. We've tried heating the tube to no avail. How the heck do you do it??
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Postby gme9261236 » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:29 pm

we just used a 3/4" emt bender and just bent the whole tube as one piece. The finished product ended up with both sticks bent into one long piece of the tube which we then cut to size. Picture a long bike handlebar and that is what the finished tube bends looked like before we cut it in half and then down to size. Nothing special we just bent it by hand with alot of weight behind it and then fine tuned them to get them to come out fairly even.

The finished sticks are not exact to eachother but darn close.
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Postby Johnny C! » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:55 pm

Great upgrade Guys!

It's now on my must do list!

Thanks!

John
There are many things that happen really fast when you are
flying an airplane. There is no sense in rushing any of the others.

I would much rather be looking down at the runway, than up at it.

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Postby gme9261236 » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:50 pm

It has been a great "must do" upgrade. When sitting in the plane with the factory sticks in level cruise position your arm is straight out and not at all in an ergonomic comfortable position. In addition to that to put the stick full forward you have to lean forward in your seat with your arm outstretched. The bends take care of that problem and my forearm now rest on my leg in level cruise.
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Postby Johnny C! » Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:17 pm

Hey Guys!
 I got a ride with Troy yesterday in a Highlander,
and I found I had my forearm on my thigh, & was
able to comfortably hold the bottom "ring" of the
foam grip with my thumb & index finger.  I will
keep in mind bending the sticks if I need to, but
I was also consider shortening them about 3".
That should allow me to hold the whole grip
with all four fingers & my thumb...

I'm 6'-1-1/2" with thick thighs, and thick
everything else to go along them.

Flying in and out of the factory strip is a hoot!

John
There are many things that happen really fast when you are
flying an airplane. There is no sense in rushing any of the others.

I would much rather be looking down at the runway, than up at it.

Duane Sorenson & Rick Norton Gone West 6/8/09. Godspeed
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