Some form of gust lock is necessary on most aircraft when being stored outside. The problem that occurs is that strong winds will push the ailerons, rudder, and elevators back and forth to their stops – sometimes in a very hard and violent way and with significant force. This can damage the controls and that is a very bad thing. Some aircraft are more susceptible to this than others. In the case of my Vans RV-3, it is very susceptible as all of the controls are “free” – that is there are no springs or other mechanisms to prevent them from flopping around in the wind. Given the amount of travel I do, my poor airplane is left outside more often than I care to admit. So, building a gust lock was mandatory. I started with a gust lock for the ailerons. It should be noted that, when tied down outside, I wrap my seat belt around the control stick which holds it back (elevator up) and prevents it from moving side to side (aileron). This is a good start as it prevents these controls from flopping but I wanted an actual gust lock on the control to eliminate the pressures of the wind gusts from being transmitted thru the controls and back to the stick (wear and tear).
I read about this gust lock approach from this post on VansAirForce.com so this obviously is not my idea. However; it is a good one and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so off I went!
I used 5/8″ OD wooden dowel, 5/8″ ID plastic tubing, a couple small strips of aluminum, and two small bungee chords.
The aluminum plate is just scrap laying around the shop. The two holes for the dowels are position so that there is 3/4″ between the plastic tube over the dowels. This causes the lock to sit a few inches from the aft edge of the ailerons.
This is a pretty simple gust lock that keeps the ailerons firmly locked and is easy to build so there is no reason not to have one on your airplane!