Ted's Aircraft Shop
Step 7. Repairing the Ailerons, page 1
Step 7. Repairing and Covering the Ailerons

Repairing the ailerons proved to be a difficult job, but it was rich with learning.  For whatever reason, ailerons get beat up. They are bent and battered and need extensive rehabilitation.  You can often buy new ones, but the price will be a second mortgage. And buying them used will get you ailerons almost as bad looking as the ones in your shop.  Fortunately, Univair had the parts I needed, especially new leading edge skins.  I thought about beating out the dents, but they would never have looked right. Plus bent aluminum sheet changes dimension and the ailerons might never have fit right.  What I did not know was how to rivet the parts back together once I had them apart.  Oh well, this is one of the thrills of doing your own work.  Sometimes there is no choice but to learn new skills. 


The first step after deciding what to replace was to take the ailerons apart. This meant drilling out the rivets without damaging the underlying structure.  Once apart, I found problems that were hidden such as a torn aileron spar.  “Acceptable Methods” AC-43.13 describes the acceptable repairs to such parts.  And the Cub Clues newsletter were very helpful.  You can see in the pictures the steps of taking the aileron apart and the repair of the aileron spar.  Also shown is the aileron hinge which required hand work to remove the paint and corrosion.  Sandblasting was out of the question because of the aluminum surfaces nearby.   


The most difficult job was fitting and riveting the new leading edge skins to the ribs and spar.  The difficult part was lining up the holes for riveting.  A “strap duplicator” from Avery Tools did the trick.  Here is where I really learned riveting. I learned real skills in using the rivet gun and a rivet squeezer.  And for some impossible-to-reach places, I learned the value of Cherry Rivets which are pulled like a pop rivet but much stronger. 

Next Page
Previous Page
Restoring a Piper Cub J-3
1.  Picking a  Project
2. Organizing and Planning
3. Overhauling the Engine
4. Assembling the Wings
5. Covering the Wings
6. Covering the Tail Surfaces
7. Repairing the Ailerons
8. Painting the Wings
9. Build Out of the Fuselage
10. Covering the Fuselage
11. Assembling and Rigging
12. Flight Testing