Why do some GA aircraft need weights on the control surfaces?

I've noticed that the Varieze has weights on its canard(elevator), while the elevator on a Zenith CH650 does not.

What determines whether a control surface needs weights?


1 Answer 1


Most will be weighted, but sometimes in a way that you won't notice.

A control surface needs to be balanced around its hinge line. This prevents the control surface from fluttering. Since most control surfaces would be trailing edge heavy, they have weights ahead of the hinge line to balance them.

Control surfaces can also have aerodynamic balance -- an L-shaped extension ahead of the hinge line. This helps to alleviate stick forces, but also helps with the mass balance of the surface.


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