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Shop tip.


I have been flying my RV-9 for 14 years and a thousand hours. You would think that by now I’d have this figured out, but in that time I have struggled with where to put the headsets when climbing in and out of the airplane. Putting them on the seat backs isn’t ideal and with a tip-up canopy, there’s not a good place to rest them as you get in or out. They always seem to be under foot or, er, under bum.

Here’s the baggage door latch on another kind of RV.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, because one day while working on my RV—the ground-bound version—I had an epiphany. Many RVs, like mine, have spring-loaded latches designed to hold exterior doors open. In this case, the latch keeps the outside baggage door from flopping closed while you pack your camping or hiking gear. I wasn’t sure how long I’d been looking at this latch before it occurred to me that it might work as a headset hanger in the other RV.

Normally the base of the latch is oriented laterally but, I wondered, if you turned the latch 90°, would it work in the RV-9? Worth a try. A quick internet search found the latch easily. (You could try searching for “RV baggage catch latch” on Google or at Amazon.) My first attempt netted two white plastic clamps for $8, which has to be considered epically cheap for “airplane parts.”

Countersunk washers used to fill the large holes in the clips (left). One nice feature of these catches is they are spring loaded and close automatically when the headset is removed (right).
If these clips can hold these heavy headsets, they can surely hold your headsets.

Using countersunk washers to fill the screw holes in the catches, I was able to rivet them to the aluminum backed interior panels in my plane. However, there is enough room, with the clip closed, that a #6 or #8 screw head or nut would work just fine. Note that the weight of my headsets caused the aluminum backed interior panel to bend slightly. To solve this problem, I added a small aluminum stiffener with a very small flange bent up the side of the panel to prevent further deformation.

After mentioning these catches to a friend, he discovered that stainless-steel catches can be purchased for $15. Having “catch envy,” I bought a set to replace the plastic ones shown in this article that I’ll install at the next condition inspection. But the bottom line is that these clips, which are spring-loaded closed and have just enough of a nose that you can pull them open with ease, fixed a small but nettlesome problem that I’ve lived with for a decade and a half.


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