Control surfaces are the focus for the Dauntless team at the moment. The Rudder in particular has been receiving a lot of attention. Although mostly original (to a parts donor airframe) the rudder had been taken apart and reassembled at some point in its life. Some of the reassembled parts were not perfectly aligned, and the team at Pioneer Aero has been working to resolve that.

The rudder is very original with most of its components being of wartime manufacture, however the rudder was taken apart and reassembled at some point during the past 80 years. A cracked, non-original doubler was found in the rudder, and this was removed and replaced, and hinge mounting point alignment was also checked. Confirming this alignment makes use of a special fixture that is made to precise specifications, which then has the rudder mounted to it.

Any newly created pieces are prepared in line with the original drawings for the SBD. The piece that was fabricated to complete the rudder features flanged holes and swaged edges. It also had dimpled holes for fabric retention. It was a little awkward to access the tails of the rivets when installing it, but small hands and strong fingers carried the day!

Once the piece was primed and installed, the whole rudder was prepared to receive a strontium epoxy wash primer over all bare aluminum surfaces, which is then overcoated with a spray primer. While these specific coatings are not in line with original specifications, they are modern steps undertaken to protect the aircraft from corrosion and ensure its preservation.