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Old 08-20-2023, 09:22 AM
Kojo Kojo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Englewood Cliffs
Posts: 21
Default Repair Leading Edge Wing Perforation?

While closing the last bay of of the bottom skin of the wing while in its cradle the bucking bar fell (fatigue) through the holes in the spar and perforated the leading edge as seen in the pictures.

Defect was "drilled out" finally with a unit to 3/4 inch diameter. After exploring repair options I have come up with the doubler shown however I battling with a filler.

No response from vans support despite two attempts. Friend has subsisted "Bondo" I thought some fiberglass resin. Does anyone have a reliable suggestion or resource that addresses this specific problem. A 3/4" diameter aluminum 2024-T3 filler will buckle if attempting to rivet to this doubler. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Old 08-20-2023, 09:40 AM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 5,380

I'd drill out the hole (looks like you already have), mount the doubler, and proseal the filler plug in place. Then do whatever sand/fill exercise you need to make the repair disappear from a cosmetic perspective.
Kyle Boatright
Marietta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019? (actually 2022) RV-10 N46BX
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Old 08-20-2023, 09:42 AM
cvairwerks cvairwerks is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Justin, Texas
Posts: 76

Roll a section the same size as your backing plate to fit the contour then cut the section out to use as a filler. Bond with some appropriate adhesive with the backing plate cleco'd in place. Don't forget to lube the area a little to act as a release agent. Pop the patch out, clean everything up and then use a pattern of AN507 screws with AN365 nuts to reinfoce the adhesion. Use 4-40 screws. Probably too hard to find a small quantity of locknuts for 2-56 screws.
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Old 08-20-2023, 10:02 AM
rockwoodrv9 rockwoodrv9 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Meridian ID, Aspen CO, Okemos MI
Posts: 3,513

One thing I learned when installing access panels on the foreskin of my 9 is you can not use the flange going under the skin to mark the holes you drill on the top. They will be slightly off. Im sure you know that but I didnt think the thin aluminum would make that much of a difference but I was wrong.

As for patching the hole after the plate is mounted, I would try jb weld original or Marine. It is harder than bondo. You could mix some epoxy to mostly fill it and top off with bondo or other filler.

This assumes you will install the patch on the inside of the wing.

Good luck on the fix.
Williamston MI
O-320 D2A
Flying N376E

Last edited by rockwoodrv9 : 08-20-2023 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 08-20-2023, 10:08 AM
rmarshall234 rmarshall234 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 625

Looks like a great place for a pitot tube, or AOA, or stall horn vane, orů.
Robert Marshall
RV-3 - 500hrs
A&P / IA
Parachute Rigger
Acroduster SA750 - finished!
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Old 08-20-2023, 10:10 AM
erich weaver's Avatar
erich weaver erich weaver is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: santa barbara, CA
Posts: 1,886

I can’t quite follow post #3 but I think my suggestion is similar:

Form two smaller pieces that can be slipped into your hole to form a backing plate so that you can then fill the remaining indent with a filler to make it flush. Your hole may be small enough that proseal alone may be enough to attach the two halves of the backing plate, but best to check with Vans on that. They may want rivets to minimize the chance of subsequent tearing of the skin depending on the size of the hole
Santa Ynez, CA
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Old 08-20-2023, 10:14 AM
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wcalvert wcalvert is offline
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Anacortes Wa
Posts: 634

Any chance this doubler could be attached to the back of the leading edge, inside the wing and a filler piece installed in the existing 3/4" hole? .. bonded in like an inlay?

That patch is going to be pretty unsightly. Maybe step back and think thru it all before you press on with armor plating!

You might also refer to AC43 for specifications on doubler riveting callouts.

Good luck
RV-7 Tipper
Bill (Wild) VA-165 '90-'93
Anacortes, Wa

- Been there, Donated 2023
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Old 08-20-2023, 10:24 AM
Carr Carr is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Langley BC
Posts: 113

Would a Duckworks landing light kit fit in where the hole is?

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Old 08-20-2023, 10:54 AM
gasman gasman is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sonoma County CA
Posts: 5,152

Your doubler (backup) is way too big. The rivet spacing is too wide, and the shape is wrong for a round patch....

Please reference AC 43.13-1B for round repairs when stress direction is unknown or neutral.....

This is really a question for Van's, for proper repair.
VAF #897 Warren Moretti
2022 =VAF= Dues PAID
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Old 08-20-2023, 02:15 PM
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bruceh bruceh is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Ramona, CA
Posts: 2,821

Yes, refer to AC43-13 for sheet metal repairs. However, in this case, I would seriously consider a new skin since you are under construction.
Bruce Hill
RV-9A N5771H flown over 1000 hours!
APRS Tracking for KJ6YRP and Flying Over the Hills Blog
2023 VAF donator
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