Control Yoke Maintenance Will Save Your Butt!

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By Richard Zephro

Try to fly your plane without the yokes, and you can see the importance of having them in proper working condition. Often, I fly Mooney’s that have loose yokes. When they become too loose, they will begin to turn prior to the yoke shaft, and eventually leave deep grooves in the yoke shaft, as well as the yoke mount bolt hole, then, eventually could break off.

This applies mostly but not exclusively to the earlier Mooney yokes. I’ve seen plenty loose 201 style yokes too, but the shaft thickness is greater on the later style yoke. There is an A.D. on the old style yokes that insure there is no yoke mount damage.

So, why do I see so many loose ones? Shoddy maintenance, pure and simple.

Many owners don’t know what the mechanic doesn’t himself know or care about. A broken yoke at the wrong time could spell disaster. You want to be certain to check at least yearly, the condition of the yoke and its shaft by removing the yoke. At times there is hidden corrosion in the shaft, so be certain and affect repairs as needed!

After the inspection and replacement of any of the yoke components, it is a good idea to coat the hidden part of the shaft with a light addition of petroleum jelly, both inside as far as your finger can reach and out, including the inside of the bolt mount hole.

Regular maintenance does not have to be expensive. In fact, if you get on a well drawn out program, you will catch things before the failure. The end result will be less expensive maintenance overall, and a much safer airplane.

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