Jerry Nibler, an Alaskan Long-EZ builder/pilot tells us of an experience he had near an area known as "the trench ". He encountered heavy rain and low visibility while trying to fly north so he did a 130' turn to where there were breaks in the cloud cover and climbed up on top. Climbing through the freezing level at 8000 feet, he noticed the ailerons getting stiffer and stiffer until he could hardly bank the plane at all. This scared him rather, to say the least, so he did another 180' and descended below the freezing level where the ailerons returned to normal, much to his relief. Jerry thinks the rain water got into the hinges, did not have time to dry out completely before he climbed to the freezing level where, of course, the moisture froze.
He advises to stay below the freezing after flying in rain or taking off covered in dew the airplane has a chance to completely dry out. This is a good point, one we have mentioned in the CP before but one that should be repeated because it can really scare you if it happens to you. We have had it happen to us in a Long-EZ as well as Burt's Defiant. We found we could control the bank angle well enough to continue by using the rudders and, eventually, the ice sublimated away and we were able to break the ailerons free. We suspect that water runs across the bottom of the wing, bridges the gap between the bottom wing skin and the leading edge of the ailerons, then freezes there. You can help this a little if you keep the ailerons moving left and right as you climb through the freezing level. Thanks for this report, Jerry. This is the kind of thing that can really help out a fellow EZ pilot. By the way, Jerry ended his letter by saying that his Long-EZ is the most valued of all his material possessions and has provided him with more shear pleasure than anything else he can think of (yes, even more than that! he says).
Friction in the pitch control system of an EZ can make it very difficult to fly. In fact, it can flat-out make it so uncomfortable to fly that you won't enjoy it at all! Friction in an EZ's pitch control system is easy to avoid and must be avoided. There are so few parts involved t a@it is simple to check. Disconnect the pitch trim springs, push the stick forward and aft, or grab the trailing edge of the elevator and move it full travel up and down. There should be no perceptible friction. It should not hang up anywhere,' it should easily flop all the wsy up and all the way down. If it feels stiff or tight anywhere in the full arc of travel, find out where it is binding and fix it before you attempt to fly. Check the rod ends at the stick and at the inboard ends of the elevators.
Check the stick's pivot points. Check every one of the elevator hinges. On the original GU canard, it is easy to get one or more hinge points too tight. The washers at the hinge points should easily spin. The bronze bushing should be lubricated and should be a nice easy slip fit on the AN525 screws which are the hinges. Check that the mass balance weights are not rubbing or chafing inside the slot in the canard on each elevator. Lastly, put a saw horse or chair under each canard tip (well padded, of course) and have someone push down on the nose or center of the canard. Apply enough weight to bend the canard at least 3 or 4 inches up at the tips, then check all of the above for friction or binding or chafing under load. There should be no perceptible drag in the pitch control system (with no pitch trim springs installed) in any of the RAF designs VariEzes, Long-EZs, Defiants or Solitaires.