Aircraft Rigging Expectations
What you should expect when having your aircraft rigged by Cessna Rigging:
First and foremost, you should expect your aircraft to make "book performance." It should fly straight & true, in level flight, with minimal control inputs.
Your control inputs should feel "crisp", without "lag" and/or "sloppy" actuation. Control system pivot points & connections should be free of binding, and associated control wheels lubricated with freedom of travel.
Cable tensions and flight control surfaces will be adjusted to Maintenance Manual Specifications.
Elevator Trim: Typically the elevator trim actuator is full of crud and what I refer to as "Aviation Grade" Tar! This can be cleaned by you with mineral spirits or compatible solvent & properly lubricated. To do this, have a helper roll the trim wheel nose up/down while you clean the actuator chain & drive sprocket (located at the elevator access panel) with a small 3/4" or 1" wide bristle brush & solvent. You can use LPS-1 or LPS-2 afterward to lubricate the chain. Doing this yourself is good preventative maintenance and can save up to an hour of time when you bring it in for rigging. If you haven't done it, I will have to! If your aircraft is previously clean and lubricated in this area, then, by all means, thank & keep your current A&P for being in the top 10!
Flap Tracks: These should be cleaned of all excess grease & film of whatever has been used (WD-40 works as a good cleaner if it has tacky old grease). LPS-1 or LPS-2 works well as a bearing lubricant and only needs to be maintained periodically or after rain, washing of aircraft, etc. By the way, this is good general practice for all bearings & hinge points.
Annual: If you are going into Annual anytime soon, there are also several things to do while the aircraft is opened up. Clean out below floor well area so all cables and pulleys are movable and only need to be lubricated while the rigging process is underway. Be sure to remove any F.O.D that may have migrated under pulley supports, this is prevalent below the center console, the forward side of the cabin bulkheads, and the aft side of the baggage compartment bulkhead.
Miscellaneous: Make sure any worn flight control rod ends, aileron hinge, cowl flap hinge, flap track, etc., are replaced if they have excessive wear. This will help tighten up tolerances. Many of these items you can see for yourself if you do a very careful pre-flight inspection. Any worn out items like this could affect the rigging adversely later on if replaced after the rigging job has been completed, so it makes sense to do it before rigging if they are worn.
Special Note: Most of these items are considered "owner preventative maintenance" (except the worn out parts replacement of course); the clean and lube, however, can be performed by the owner. While we can do that cleaning for you, it really takes up a lot of time that we could be using to actually rig the flight controls, instead of getting your airplane ready to rig. Good service habits can easily protect your investment and extend the life of many components with something as simple as lubrication after each exterior wash, every 30-60 days or after flying in rain or humid weather conditions.
Please expect at least a 2-4 day turnaround service, depending upon condition. Your aircraft will be kept in a secure indoor environment. For “owner assist”, expect a minimum full-day service starting early in the morning and an additional half day for any remaining items. This does not include a post-maintenance flight, which can result in minor tweaks and adjustments. It is standard practice to plan on rigging to be a two-day event!
Please remember to bring your Airframe Logbook, Maintenance Manual (if available) and make a note of any abnormalities ahead of time. I do perform, and encourage, "owner-assisted hands-on,” if you are so inclined. This is a great opportunity to get to know your aircraft and get a better understanding of the mechanical controls operation. If you do not wish to participate in the rigging process, that's fine: you may drop it off anytime throughout the week with prior arrangement. Normally, the aircraft will be back to you by the end of the following week, and more than likely much sooner. Also, if you do not have Maintenance Manuals for your Aircraft, please let me know in advance so I can locate these beforehand in the event I do not already have them.
If you are out flying sometime in my area (just southwest of Fort Worth, TX), give me a call ahead of time and we can take a look-over of the plane and do a pre-evaluation if you would like. If you are not sure about the service wear of some of the items mentioned above, just drop me a line and I can try to give some advice to help determine condition.
See you soon!
A&P / IA