A Word About Flying Wires

Wipline floats all use a component to keep your floats square called a flying wire or box wire. The wires can be round, streamline or a combination of both. The most common question I get is how tight they should be. The short answer is: just right. Now most mechanics will not accept that answer, so I will try and explain.

I have only seen two flying wire tension tools ever. The first was a reproduction of a tool manufactured for the Stearman, the other was for the Christian Eagle. What I noticed about each of these tools was the wire that was being measured was of a consistent size and shape. Float wires do a similar job but have some noticeable differences. Some wires have a round section where they intersect the opposing wire. Small floats have thinner round wires ranging from 3/16" to 5/16". If they are round wires with wrenching flats, over tightening them will round off the flats making them nearly impossible to rotate. Using a very smooth and polished adjustable wrench (to prevent nicks and scratches) on streamline wires could over tighten them but usually common sense will prevent this. In most applications these wires are indeed "boxed" to an equal distance from clevis pin to clevis pin. This keeps your floats level in relation to the aircraft. Proper rigging starts with two important facts; that the wires are of equal length and evenly positioned on the threads, and which clevis is the RH threaded end. By starting with equal distance wires, you can turn each one the same amount to line them up, and knowing which side is the RH threaded end will tell you if you are going the right direction. Once you have them equally drawn up and snug, measure from each clevis to make sure you are square. Again, there are a few instances where you can’t use the square measurements but the majority of the installations are of this nature. Once you have the wires snug and square, you can draw them up a half turn at a time to a comfortable setting. Too loose and they will slap and move with pressure on the floats, too tight and you are at risk of damaging the wires or putting unnecessary stress on them.

Once you have them "tensioned", tighten the check nuts and double check your cotter pins. Make your required log entries and you are ready to go. Happy floating!