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Old 04-28-2019, 05:44 PM
Rteem Rteem is offline
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 28
Unhappy Elevator Mismatch (Drilling Mistake)

So, looking for some sanity or help from the community.

Part of mounting the elevators requires having them both at neutral, and using a guide block / clamp to make sure that they are drilled both perpendicular and even to each other.

Unfortunately, the clamp I chose to use didn't quite hold against the will of a new #16 drill bit to wander.

I now have a hole that is off by a slight amount on the left elevator, and the result is that the elevators are about 1/4 inch off at the foremost section where the weights are.

I'm looking for recommendations on how to recover, here's some things I've considered:

1. Rebuild one of the elevators - I simply don't see how without massive work I could replace just the horn because the skins won't peel back nicely anymore now that they are rolled.
2. Fill the hole with weld, and redrill the elevator horn
3. Set neutral to split the difference (so one rides 1/8 low and the other 1/8 high)

Any help or suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated... pictures here:
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:59 PM
Girraf Girraf is offline
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 203

I saw photos just a few weeks ago where someone corrected a similar mistake by flowing metal into the hole with an appropriate welding tool, dressing smooth, and re-drilling. That's the route I would take first. Accepting a split deflection on the elevators would be a nonstarter in my opinion.
Vintage Cherokee 160
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:16 PM
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bkervaski bkervaski is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Posts: 1,866

Did the same thing, had a welder fill it, sand, paint and re-drill ... perfect now ... consider that a practice run.

Seems like everybody knows a welder, it took all of 10 minutes.
RV-14A #140376
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:19 PM
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wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,756
Default Weld the hole

I dorked one of mine. Take it to a good TIG welder. Mine was welded and so smooth if not for the paint, I wouldn't gave spotted the weld. I redrilled and applied some matching paint.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 01/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (2,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit, now FWF
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:42 PM
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M McGraw M McGraw is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Greenback, TN
Posts: 588
Default Been there

I welded in a small piece of metal the thickness of a washer and re-drilled. Your not the first. Weld and move on, it will be okay.

Marvin McGraw, 5TN4
RV-14. #140039 Complete
Flight hours: 750+
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The Dues Paid note is a reminder for me
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Old 04-28-2019, 09:27 PM
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Tankerpilot75 Tankerpilot75 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Posts: 683

When I purchased my RV7A from the builder he had mis-drilled the elevator horn so poorly that there was almost a 1 inch difference between the left and right side elevators. To compensate for this difference it appeared he mis-rigged the ailerons. Bottom line: the aircraft wanted to roll upside down the faster it flew.

The fix for this was to weld closed the old holes and drill new ones correctly. Had to re-rig the ailerons and balance the elevator. But after the corrections were made the aircraft flew wonderfully. No issues since and it’s been four years.
Jim Harris, ATP, T38, EC/KC-135A/E/R, 2008 RV7A, 2nd owner, N523RM (2015)
Superior XPIO-360, Hartzel CS prop, Dual GRT Horizon EX with ARINC, EIS, Garmin 340, 335 w/WAAS gps, Dual 430s (non-WAAS), TruTrak 385 A/P with auto-level & auto-trim, Tosten 6 button Military Grips, FlightBox wired to EX, Dynon D10A w/battery backup, 406 MHz ELT. Custom Interior, New TS Flightline hoses, Great POH!
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Old 04-28-2019, 11:11 PM
Bavafa Bavafa is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 3,639

Originally Posted by M McGraw View Post
I welded in a small piece of metal the thickness of a washer and re-drilled. Your not the first. Weld and move on, it will be okay.

Welding a piece as a doubler is a great idea but consider welding the piece on the outer side since you might run into issues with the spacing to the center bearing.
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Old 04-29-2019, 06:44 AM
BillL BillL is offline
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Central IL
Posts: 6,313
Default Nothing structurally wrong with a patch, but . . .

A good TIG welder can weld inside the hole, a little grinding and it will be flat => recommended.

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Old 04-29-2019, 09:51 PM
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jcarne jcarne is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Worland, Wyoming
Posts: 1,978

Yep, have it welded and redo. I had to do it on my canopy frame where the nylon slider is.
Jereme Carne
RV-7A Flying as of 03/2021
Exempt but gladly paying!
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Old 04-29-2019, 11:35 PM
eliasj7 eliasj7 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Beaverton, Oregon
Posts: 15

I goofed up mine also. I googled welders in my area and found a custom car shop that had good reviews for TIG welding. I showed up with elevator in hand and the first thing the guy said was "Is that off one of those RV planes? Some mismatch drill issue? I've welded a few of these over the last couple of years". -Made me feel a little better.
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