Making sure we have the perfect fit

After everything had been running smoothly last week, we began to notice an increase in movement and creaking of the air frame on the rig which we wanted to investigate.

Our client came in to also see what was going on and together we both decided to take off the wings of the Game Bird for a closer look. We re-looked at the bushings in the wings and realised there were a few tweaks we could make that would hopefully solve the unnecessary movement and creaking sound so these were changed and re-installed.

We also noticed on there wasn’t quite a perfect fit on the pin used at the front of the rig which was contributing to the unnecessary movement we had been experiencing. This was because it had been laser cut, which has the tendency to be a bit rough around the edges!

To solve this, we bored through with one of our lovely machines to make a bigger hole and fitted a brass bush so we could just push that onto the rig and the pin would go straight through it. Now we have a nice, tight-fitting pin which has reduced the creaking, so we are very pleased with the outcome.

All in all, everything took us about a week to complete but we are now back up and running.

Mission controller for the project, Shane, describes the plane running as “beautifully” so we have a very happy office. The alterations have made a great difference to the control so the movements are more progressive.

Shane decided to leave the aircraft to run through the night and has a webcam which is used to check the aircraft when it’s left to run alone. Unfortunately Shane has been checking it constantly through the night, much to his wife’s despair!

The plane did indeed run beautifully which was great news and this greatly increased the speed at which we are progressing through the fatigue testing cycles, having now completed 50,708 out of 71,000!

Here’s a quick video of the Game Bird aircraft during fatigue testing on our new and improved quieter and smoother rig…


We are going to run it through the night again which means we will be fast approaching the end of the fatigue testing cycle, when we will have another ultimate load test at high temperature to complete. Stay tuned for more news!


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