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Old 08-11-2010, 08:39 PM
DakotaHawk's Avatar
DakotaHawk DakotaHawk is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 801
Default Yep... Been there and done that!

I dropped a completed fuel tank while moving it from one storage location to another. Dropped it on the inboard leading edge and bent the skin pretty badly! The ding is about 4" by 4" of leading edge real estate.

After the vocabulary lesson I gave myself, I finally got the tank stored in it's new location and gave myself time to think about it. Turns out that the wing root aluminum strip covers about 80% of the ding, and the remaining 20% is visible to me but I haven't ever heard any comments about it.

Glad I didn't have to build a new tank!
Scott "Grumpy" Stewart
RV-7 N957RV (First Flight on Dec 18, 2009)
RV-14 N144P (First Flight on Apr 17, 2021)

Arlington, WA
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:56 PM
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fl-mike fl-mike is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,930

Okay, so you built the trim tab into the rudder. All custom and what-not!
I know the feeling. Pushed my just-primed fuselage out of the hangar paint booth on New Year's Day 2008 so I could put the wings in the booth. Had the fuselage wrapped in "Sharkskin" plastic to protect the paint since it would be a while before I did the finish coats. The firewall was on the rolling rotisseire stand bolted to the firewall and the (heavy) tail was resting on a sawhorse type thing with a rubber pad. Well, it was kind of windy. My girlfriend screamed my name, and I turned around just in time to see the tail sliding off the sawhorse. I guess the wind caught the plastic like a sail. You never heard a more sickening sound. Landed right on the boarding steps. My heart sank as we unwrapped the plastic and saw the dents in the side skins just above the step plates. Inside was worse. It buckled the formers. After lots of explicatives and hand wringing, I (eventually) removed the steps, cut out the damaged section of the formers, got a body guy to work the dents out, and spliced in new sections of the formers. You can still see slight dents in the skin if you look, but nobody has ever noticed unless I point it out. That my friend, was a VERY bad New Years Day.
Mike W
Venice, FL

N164WM RV-6A Slider/O-360/FP Sold 4/2022
N184WM (RV-8) Flying. Titan IOX-370/ CS/G3X. Phase 1 complete.
N184P reserved (RV-8QB) Empennage kit, QB wings, QB fuselage, finish kit, and engine in the shop
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Old 08-12-2010, 08:38 AM
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BSwayze BSwayze is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Molalla, Oregon
Posts: 955

You're not the only one, my friend. I did the SAME EXACT THING as you did. Same stupid idea, too, setting it up for a picture when I should have had an extra hand or two. The only difference is, I saw it falling and I caught it after the first bounce. The lower trailing edge of my rudder looks very much like yours.

I ended up straightening it out as best as I could and filing and smoothing it. The corner was left a bit rounded and there are some small ripples left in the skin that I can't get out. I plan on fiberglassing over it all when I attach the rudder bottom so it will all be covered up and never show. I know that's not an option for you since yours took the second bounce, but you'll find a solution.

As they say... Build on. It's not the end of the world. If this is the last big mistake you make, you're fortunate. You'll be a better builder and much more careful from this point on.
Bruce Swayze
RV-7A Standard Build
First flight November 3, 2019!
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:42 AM
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Brantel Brantel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 7,653

Wow!!! Who would have thought that so many of Van's rudders were damaged by people trying to get the "Emp Finished" pic????
Brantel (Brian Chesteen),
RV-12IS Empennage/Tail Cone In Progress , Wings and Fuselage Kits Ordered!
Serial #121606, N912BC (reserved)
Check out my RV-12IS builder's BLOG
Check out my RV-10 builder's BLOG (Good stuff for those starting an RV-10)
RV-10, #41942, N?????, Project Sold
RV-7/TU, #72823, N159SB Airplane Sold
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:51 AM
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bhassel bhassel is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 998

This is a dangerous site!
Bob Hassel

Subscription Paid for 2022

Awaiting my RV15 kit!!!
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:18 AM
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Bullseye Bullseye is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Wichita, KS
Posts: 557

It's nice to know I'm not the only one to damage one of my precious airplane parts.

After re-reading the SB from Van's, I've decided that I'm not interested in running a flight test program for spin recovery with the smaller rudder. (It's never the intentional spin recovery that will get me, it will be the botched aerobatic maneuver into an inverted spin.) Even if I never ran into any real trouble, what if I ever sell the plane and something happens. I don't want a question of spin characteristics to come up in court.

So I'm going to order the required parts to rebuild mine (I'll probably attempt this during the wing build, when I get tired of deburring ribs.)

Anyway, In the interest of saving others from attempting the "finished emp pic," I am going to set the new standard.

Here is my finished emp pic.

Andrew Z.
Engineering Flight Test Pilot/Engineer, CFI-A, CFII, ATP
RV-7 in work (See my build log.)
Empennage...Done (except rebuilding the rudder.)
Wings...Halfway complete.
2018 Dues Paid
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:23 AM
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Jamie Jamie is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,295

Don't order the parts (yet). There are lots of the "conversion" kits that Van's shipped that are just sitting in peoples' shops. When my rudder was damaged in an unfortunate hangar incident I was able to get one for free here on VAF and build my new rudder.
"What kind of man would live where there is no daring? I don't believe in taking foolish chances but nothing can be accomplished without taking any chance at all." - Charles A. Lindbergh
Jamie | RV-7A First Flight: 7/27/2007 (Sold)
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:56 AM
mlwynn mlwynn is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: San Ramon, CA
Posts: 420
Default Been There

When I read this thread, I just had to start laughing. Did exactly the same thing. Had the rudder all set up. Stood back to take the photo. Gust of wind comes up and the rudder went bouncing. I decided to wait till final assembly to see what I thought. I'm about there now and will probably re-build the rudder. The fiberglass fairing on the bottom just doesn't fit right and the ding is way too obvious. Probably needs a warning on the plans:


Michael Wynn
RV 8
San Ramon, CA
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:12 PM
Bavafa Bavafa is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 4,340

Gosh, I had put my fuse on two sawhorse to lift it to install the landing gear. In the process of installing and reinstalling the main wheel to get every thing right. I had not paid much attention to the amount of weight I had added to those poor sawhorses. I had just finished the last wheel nut and stepped back to look at it and it happened, the very first landing of my aircraft as the sawhorses could not take the weight any more and broke, luckily the wheels were on securely. It was my first and only nose wheel landing with no damage what so ever. And then they say RVs can not take a nose wheel landing
N825SM RV7A - IO360M1B - SOLD
N825MS RV14A - IO390 - SOLD
N258SM RV14A - IO390EXP119 - Out of Paint shop & flying
Dues paid
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