Home > VansAirForceForums

-Advertise in here!
- Today's Posts | Insert Pics

Keep VAF Going
Donate methods

Point your
camera app here
to donate fast.

Old 02-04-2008, 07:38 PM
andrejv andrejv is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Canberra
Posts: 13
Default RV-10 doors

G?Day all,

I am a 3 time offender (two RV6?s and now a 10). I have about 1400 hrs on RV?s and 2000hrs TT. Never had an incident or accident till about a year ago when my passenger door flew open on T/O!!! I remembered Van?s advice to fly the plane and did a circuit. The passenger managed to grab the door as I turned downwind and applied rudder ? the slip helped close the door.

I sent a very detailed report to Van but no comment or reply. The RV10 is a magnificent A/C but the doors are its Achilles? heal!

Over the past year I put my thinking cap on and came up with a very simple but highly effective solution. I have passed it on to Ken and Richard but still no reply. Thought I might share the solution with this forum as I believe ALL RV10?s should have a similar device. It can only improve A/C safety.

I got to thinking that the bonnet of a car has the same potential to cause total havoc if it were to open during travel. A car bonnet has a safety latch which automatically engages when the bonnet closes.

My door latch works in a similar fashion:

First there is a striker plate that is secured onto the lower cabin frame (as seen below). The fiberglass of the cabin door entry has to be reduced both vertically and on the inside, to accommodate the plate, which is "Z" shaped in cross section, so as to provide some undercut on the inside of the door jamb (which engages the latch on the door). The striker plate is pop riveted and epoxied into place - an easy retro-fit.

The top of the plate is at the same level as the edge of the lower cabin frame.

Next the door latch was made up - I cut a hole in the inner door skin and made the latch as seen below. The latch pivots on a U-shaped bracket secured to the base of the door and there is a powerful hinge spring that ensures that the latch engages the undercut of the Z-plate. The name "Staniforth latch" is to honour the poor victim who was sitting in the plane when the door unexpectedly opened!!!!! I recently asked him to come for a fly (and to see his latches) but strangely, he refused!!

The wire spring can just be seen in the photo below.

As the door closes, the spring loaded latch lifts over the striker plate and then drops down and engages the undercut of the striker plate. Very simple, works every time; it cannot not work!!

Both the striker plate and latch are made of stainless steel.

Note the undercut on the latch in the photo below.

It also has a rod that exits through the outside door skin (sticks out about an inch) so that it can be deactivated when opening the door from outside.

The latch has three functions, one expected and two not:

(i) once the door closes, there is an obvious "clunk" as the spring loaded latch engages the striker plate and drops into place, and even if the pilot/passenger fail to close the main door latch (pins), the door cannot open - this function I expected.

Additional (unexpected) functions are:

(ii) once the latch/striker have engaged, it pulls the door inward SO THAT THE DOOR PINS HAVE NO OPTION BUT TO ENGAGE - this overcomes the problem of the opening effect of the gas strut and the door seal pushing the rear of the door outward, and the rear pin failing to engage.

(iii) in-flight, the latch carries load. This means that the doors actually flex outward because of aerodynamic forces, which are carried by the latch! I have tried to open the safety latch in-flight and they become really tight because of the load they are carrying. This reduces the forces that have to be carried by the door pins.

At a recent SAAA (Australia) fly-in I had several RV10 builders have a look at my plane and especially the doors, and comments were very favorable. All of the other three RV10's at the meeting, had damage to the fibreglass associated with the rear door pins!!

BTW, I have fitted an air-conditioning unit and this really increases comfort in this very, very hot country - a MUST, I would say! I fitted a FlightLine system and it works as advitised!


Andre Viljoen

Last edited by DeltaRomeo : 02-04-2008 at 09:14 PM. Reason: added more description to the subject line
Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 07:48 PM
Geico266's Avatar
Geico266 Geico266 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Huskerland, USA
Posts: 5,861

Welcome To VAF

Nice, clean, simple idea mate! I like your quote; "It cannot not work!"
RV-7 : In the hangar
RV-10 : In the hangar
RV-12 : Built and sold
RV-44 : 4 place helicopter on order.

Last edited by Geico266 : 02-04-2008 at 07:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 09:40 PM
Rick S. Rick S. is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 736


Very nice for the question. Where did you find the latches or did you make them yourself?
Rick Sked
Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2008, 11:29 PM
andrejv andrejv is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Canberra
Posts: 13
Default Rv 10 door latches

Hi Rick

I made the latch on the door from a stainless steel, u-shaped piece of metal which I bent to form the 'head' of the latch and my LAME welded it up and sandblasted it, then welded a hinge onto it as well as the rod that sticks through the door for outside access. The part on the fuse door entry is just flat S/S plate, bent into a 'Z' shape so as to provide undercut for the latch on the door.

It would be nice if Vans or someone would make a retrofit kit - they work so well and give me such peace of mind - I just don't have the time to get involved myself, however.


Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2008, 12:15 AM
George in Langley BC George in Langley BC is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 106
Default Door Latch

Looks like a great improvement, very neat. Might I suggest labeling so the door could be opened should the pilot be incapacitated.
George McNutt / Langley BC / 6A Sold / 7A Flying.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2008, 07:56 PM
rv10soon rv10soon is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 69
Default Australian RV-10 Door latch

I like everything about this latch. I like the lock, the protective backing plate and of course the strong, positive latch. My doors close and I can latch them, but it has to be done slowly, carefully or only one pin will engage. The latch mechanism is difficult to operate. Once it is painted I am sure the area around the latch will be soon scratched. Finally I have no locks which all certified aircraft have. Can you tell me, and others how you did the lock?

I sure hope that Van's Aircraft will get behind your ideas.

Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2008, 09:54 AM
superdaveRV10 superdaveRV10 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: carson city nv
Posts: 52
Default This has always been a question for me

In a word, nice.
I have question this concern since I built my doors. Having built my beautiful RV 6A I have noticed in flight the buldge of the canopy even with the stiffeners supplied in the kit. My friends Rv6a has the same issue and does not have the stiffeners in place.
With this knowledge it is only fair to think the same pressures will exist and buldge these doors on the 10. Upon my question to Vans, Kens only comment to me was Properly latch your doors. Ok cool. I personally think we will be seeing and hearing more and more about this issue.I have a young family and a large insurance policy in which I do not care to have used.I will be making a simular mod as this existing door latch system does not seem safe to me.Living high in the mountains with winds aloft and sheers with out warning will flex this craft in my opinion, and the added shock force, I don't want to think about the doors and will they hold.
My first flight is a few weeks away, and this aircraft is very well made. Vans has again put out an awesome kit. I personally believe in them and trust what they tell me. But my inner gut says add a mod on the latching system.
I'm glad to hear you landed without a problem,and good luck on your mod. Dave RV10 Carson City Nv
Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2008, 05:39 PM
andrejv andrejv is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Canberra
Posts: 13

Hi Hank and Dave

Thank you for you comments.

I will go out to the airport on the weekend and take some measurements and get some better photos - I will remove the "Staniforth" plate so you can get a better idea as to how the latch attaches and how the spring works. I will then write up and post the steps I took to make the latch.

If there are 250 RV10's out there, there are 498 doors just waiting to fly open!!!! No amount of diligence on the part of the pilot will prevent them from flying open sooner or later. At the time of the event, I even had the Van's alarm system installed - but it was an extremely hot day (pilot stress, hence I now have air-conditioning) with a very, very high light intensity and I guess I must have missed the warning light on the dash!! Or maybe the warning lights weren't working - I've had a few problems with the wiring in that area. Point is, planes should be as fool-proof as possible.

And you are right Dave, the latch takes up a significant load in flight - on the ground when the doors are locked you can move them up and down against the spring easily - in-flight you cannot budge them because of the load they are carrying! The doors are in fact very flexible and bulge outwards in flight. The latch certainly reduces the load that the pins have to carry which must be a good thing.


Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2008, 10:57 PM
andrejv andrejv is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Canberra
Posts: 13
Default Latch design

Went out to the A/P recently and took a few more photos with the latch cover off - hopes this helps with understanding the design.

The photo above shows the latch with the cover plate removed and we can see:
* Two stainless steel ?L? shaped brackets that have been bolted and epoxied to the base of the door.
* An AN3 bolt goes through a rod welded to the inner edge of the latch to make a hinge.
* On top of the latch is a rod that protrudes through the outer skin of the door.

This is a shot from underneath showing the rod that goes through the door for external opening. Also note how the spring goes into the head of the latch. The spring is essential for the latch to work. Also seen are the two countersunk bolts that secure the ?L? shaped brackets.

Here the latch is being held up from the outside ? note the powerful spring that pulls the latch downwards and ensures that it engages securely with the striker plate.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2008, 11:29 AM
Mike S's Avatar
Mike S Mike S is offline
Senior Curmudgeon
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dayton Airpark, NV A34
Posts: 15,705
Default I like it, but---

One thing is this design concerns me.

You cut a window in the carbon reinforcement strip in the lower door. Vans put that carbon there for a reason------
Mike Starkey
VAF 909

Rv-10, N210LM.

Flying as of 12/4/2010

Phase 1 done, 2/4/2011

Sold after 240+ wonderful hours of flight.

"Flying the airplane is more important than radioing your plight to a person on the ground incapable of understanding or doing anything about it."
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:55 AM.

The VAFForums come to you courtesy Delta Romeo, LLC. By viewing and participating in them you agree to build your plane using standardized methods and practices and to fly it safely and in accordance with the laws governing the country you are located in.