Are You Ready For Real Engineered Gust Protection for your RV ?
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The "Gust Buster"
Outside of a hangar, nothing protects like the
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The "Gust Buster" is an engineered "gust control system" for light aircraft. It is not a "gust lock" but rather a gust control system that absorbs the energy of high wind events protecting the control surfaces from damage. It is used in the cockpit making it safer for the pilot, passengers, paint and structure. Unlike external devices, the Gust Buster is safer for the pilot and passengers because forgetting to remove this device before flight is highly unlikely.
Why Not Lock the Controls?
A number of airplane owners have experienced damage due to locking devices not providing adequate protection during high wind events. This is understandable when you realize that a 50kt. gust produces approximately 71 lbs. of wind load on a RV-7 rudder, a 60kt. gust about 102 lbs. of wind load. Since gust lock devices usually lock the flight controls near the hinge points of the control surfaces, they keep the control surfaces from moving in light winds, but in high wind events they can contribute to the damage. As my partner says, "It's like putting the dead bolt of your homes front door on the hinge side of the door, not a good idea." In fact if your controls are locked at or near the hinge points the only question that remains is what gust velocity and direction will it take to bend them. This is particularly true of the rudder do to it's vertical position. Reports from RV owners who have experienced this type of damage to their rudders reveal that damage will occur during gusts of 50 knots or more.
See the videos of the tests we did using an RV-6 rudder on the "Informational Video/Picture" page.
The Seatbelt ?
The seatbelt around the stick seems like a handy option for the ailerons and elevator and is adequate in light winds, however, we know of at least two RV's that have suffered serious damage to their elevators during high wind events while using this convenient method. Having the elevator in the full up position during high winds is trouble waiting to happen.
How the Gust Buster System Works
The Gust Buster system utilizes compression springs balanced for rudder size and high density bungee cord to hold the control surfaces in their neutral positions in light to moderate winds, but allows them to move and "unload" prior to bending in high energy gusts events, as the system absorbs the energy and shock of the gust. The goal, of course, is to protect the airplane not just lock the control surfaces in some position.
The Typical Damage Scenario
Of course when flight control damage occurs it's when you are some distance from home. Most likely you will need to find other transportation home, leaving your airplane on the ramp where it was damaged in the first place. Then order a new rudder and or elevator kit. Build the new part or parts. Transport them to the airplane and them. Fly home, remove the new rudder/elevator for paint if you haven't already done so and reinstall. If you haven't got a Gust Buster you haven't done all you can to avoid some rendition of the above.
Check Out the Real World Test
The Gust Buster has been real world tested in wind gusts up to 45mph on my RV-7 with the tail directly into the wind (the tail wheel was off the ground to simulate an RV-7A rudder situation). This video was impromptu. We will have a new video later which will include a wind readout in the video. As you watch the video below, notice how the control surfaces move during the higher gust events. This allows the the airplane to "unload" the gust as the gust control system absorbs the shock.
The Aero Gust Buster is now available for the Van's RV-6, 6A, 7, 7A, 9, 9A and will be available for other RV aircraft in the future starting with the RV-8, 8A, 10 and 12.