There are all sorts of things I would like to know, but never take the time to learn - so much stuff, so little time... So I figure that some stuff will just have to wait until I need it. Such is the case of just how you mechanize a V-tail. You have two surfaces doing the work of three on a conventional tail - two ruddervators instead of two elevators and a rudder.
The ruddervators work like elevators in that they move up and down to control pitch - but they also move more in one direction than the other when the pilot pushes a rudder pedal. The two surfaces effectively "mix" the inputs from both pitch and yaw controls. Sounds complicated, right? So... how exactly is this done?
Things don't always go the way we want them to in aviation, and at the Reno Races, with metal pushed to the limit, it is unusual to go a week without a few untoward events. Such was the case for previous Champion John Parker in his Thunder Mustang "Blue Thunder" on qualifying day. The engine apparently threw a connecting rod on take-off after an overspeed event, but Parker demonstrated his experience and cool professionalism as he gained enough altitude for a turn-around and executed a safe landing on the runway. He carried the power he had as long as he could to provide as many options as possible. We looked a at the motor afterwards, and the damage is impressive - holes on both sides of the crankcase even with the offending rod, and signs of of fire (notice the smoke in the video) in the same area.
We're sorry not to see Blue Thunder flying to compete for the title, but happy to see Parker safe and determined to fly again. Good job Mr. Parker!
A new how-to video from the Experimental Aircraft Association gives certificated aircraft owners a better understanding of preventive maintenance and ways to save money by personally completing some of the tasks.