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Old 01-25-2017, 09:54 PM
Jesse's Avatar
Jesse Jesse is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: X35 - Ocala, FL
Posts: 3,711
Default Scary situation found during condition inspection

I have an RV-7A in my shop right now for a condition inspection. Upon removing the empennage intersection fairing, I noticed that the rivets on the Hs front spar were horrible. I told the owner, who was present, that I really needed to remove the HS and fix/replace the rivers in that area. When we pulled the front bolts on the HS, I almost lost my lunch when I saw what is in the attached pictures. The current owner has had the plane for a year, so this is his first condition inspection. He had a mechanic look over the plane before he bought it, but that mechanic was not familiar with RV's, and was apparently a friend of the seller (the builder is deceased). The plane has 145 hours. Number one, how did this ever get signed off?! Number two, how did it ever pass a condition inspection?! Number 3, how did it pass even an unfamiliar mechanic's Prebuy inspection?!

Upon further inspection, I recommended that the owner find someone selling a complete empennage kit and replace the whole empennage, and I will replace th substructure in the rear deck area. He could easily end up over $3,000 to repair something that should have never been allowed to fly in the first place. The wings and fuselage were both quickbuild, so they are in much better shape, but the empennage was, as Vic out it in my discussions with him, borderline criminal.

This shows the value of having somebody familiar with RV's do a Prebuy inspection for you. It may cost $500-2,000, but could easily save you from finding yourself in the situation where you have a several-thousand-dollar repair at your first condition inspection.

Jesse Saint
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:16 PM
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Blain Blain is offline
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: El Dorado Hills, CA
Posts: 714
Default .???

So if a person is having this much trouble building the emp, why would they continue? Seems like this is just what Vans has in mind with the first kit. "Hey, do a good job on this and you enjoy it, I'll sell you the next kit"

The builder couldn't have enjoyed that process.
R-22 sold.
RV-8 AW Cert 02-09-17
N82 Sierra Tango
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:20 PM
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Don Patrick Don Patrick is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: GTA, Ontario
Posts: 873
Default Unbelievable!

Wow Jessie, that is just shocking.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:49 PM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sidney, BC, Canada
Posts: 4,278

Despite quickbuild construction on the rest of the airframe, there's still a lot for the builder to do. I'd be going over the rest of the plane with a much finer toothed comb after seeing that.
Rob Prior
1996 RV-6 "Tweety" C-FRBP (formerly N196RV)
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:31 AM
Robin8er Robin8er is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Socal
Posts: 524

Well this gives me confidence in my own work, if yours flies then so will mine
RV-8 N695RA flying
Working on an RV-4

Born to fly, forced to work
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:55 AM
Pin 21 Pin 21 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: South Australia
Posts: 16

Well this gives me confidence in my own work, if yours flies then so will mine
I have to agree with that, gives me confidence
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Old 01-26-2017, 04:18 AM
vic syracuse vic syracuse is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Locust Grove, GA
Posts: 2,714

Unfortunately, I find problems in the tail sections on about 30% of the airplanes for which I perform pre buys. Some of them are quite shocking, as is this one, and I can't help but wonder if it was just a paperwork inspection for both the initial airworthiness inspection and subsequent Condition Inspections. Nobody wins in those paperwork scenarios, and eventually it catches up, hopefully before anyone gets hurt.

Yes, we all start construction on the tail, and to be fair, some parts of the tail are quite difficult for first-time builders. Along with that, some of the areas are quite critical for safety. We all had to learn. I still remember bringing my horizontal stabilizer spar to the flight school A&P to ask him how my rivets looked, and he started laughing as I came in the door. It was very humbling---but he showed me how to do them right and the rest is history. With all of the resources avaiable today with just a click away on the internet, I don't understand how people continue to build in the dark.

I've been wondering if we could perhaps get some of the more prolific kit companies to include a flier on the EAA Technical Advisor program and EAA chapter lists with their kits, and am going to bring it up as a suggestion at Homebuilt Council. If anyone has other ideas, I am all ears.

Vic Syracuse

Built RV-4, RV-6, 2-RV-10's, RV-7A, RV-8, Prescott Pusher, Kitfox Model II, Kitfox Speedster, Kitfox 7 Super Sport, Just Superstol, DAR, A&P/IA, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor, CFII-ASMEL/ASES/RW
Kitplanes "Unairworthy" "Diagnostics" monthly feature
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Old 01-26-2017, 05:55 AM
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Mark Dickens Mark Dickens is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Collierville, TN (KFYE)
Posts: 1,475

What a hack job...just awful. Makes you wonder if a tech counselor was involved at any point in the process.
RV-8 #81077 Super Slow Build
Dynon Skyview HDX, Titan IOX-370, Dual P-Mags, AFP FM200A FI, Whirlwind 200RV CS Prop
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Old 01-26-2017, 06:06 AM
NYTOM NYTOM is online now
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Posts: 1,188
Exclamation How did it ever pass??????

Since the tail was constructed with such skill what other problems are lurking in that plane. Very sobering to see that it must have been OK'd by a FAA inspection. . I'd love to see the main spar.
Tom Norwood
Classic "Short Tail 6A N822PM
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Old 01-26-2017, 06:32 AM
AviatorJ AviatorJ is offline
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 975

Originally Posted by NYTOM View Post
Very sobering to see that it must have been OK'd by a FAA inspection. . I'd love to see the main spar.
I would speculate that this was fairly hidden under the HS.. although you would think a mirror and flashlight would of been used. The main spar is most likely solid being a QB, unless he drilled through the webbing in the wrong places to run something.
RV-10, N10JW
Flying since 2/14/2019
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