The Dauntless team is presently focusing on the control surfaces. The rudder, in particular, is receiving a lot of attention. Although comprised of mostly original components (from a parts donor airframe) the rudder had undergone disassembly and reassembly at some previous point in its life, and some of its components did not align properly. The team at Pioneer Aero has been working to resolve these issues.

Furthermore, the team discovered a cracked doubler (non-original) in the rudder, which they removed and replaced with a newly-manufactured component. They also checked the rudder hinge mounting point alignment in a purpose-built jig. Following completion of the structural work on the rudder, Pioneer Aero personnel painted and prepared it for recovering in new fabric.

Any newly-created parts for the project are prepared in line with Douglas Aircraft Company drawings for the SBD. For instance, the rudder required the refabrication of a sheetmetal doubler near the torque tube mount at its base (see above). The piece features flanged holes, swaged edges and dimpled holes (for fabric retention) as per the original specifications.

Once the new piece was primed and installed, the whole rudder was then prepared to receive a strontium epoxy wash primer over each of the remaining bare aluminum surfaces. This was then over sprayed with primer. While these specific coatings differ from those applied during wartime manufacture, such more modern techniques will provide the airframe with significantly greater corrosion protection and help ensure its longterm preservation.