Home > VansAirForceForums

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

Keep VAF Going
Donate methods

Point your
camera app here
to donate fast.

Go Back   VAF Forums > Main > RV General Discussion/News
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-22-2013, 06:13 AM
pierre smith's Avatar
pierre smith pierre smith is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,911
Default My trim system failed yesterday!

As I levelled off at 2500' yesterday, I needed some down trim so I pushed the button...WHOA!! pitched UP!

The trim indicator bars worked but not the real trim, so I immediately landed. On the ground, I looked over my shoulder at the trim tabs and heard the trim motor running, both up and down, but no motion of the two tabs, so I got out and walked back there.

Grabbing a trim tab, I moved it up and down, the other one accompanying it!

After I removed the tail fairing, the two cables were still attached to the bellcrank but when I reached in there, it moved up and down, when it shouldn't, since it's a pivot point for the trim servo.

Crawling in the tailcone, we saw the AN-4 bolt, castellated nut and a couple of washers lying close to each other! We searched and searched for a cotter key back there but never found one! We put the bellcrank (F-1095B, page 11-9) back in place and this time, cotter-keyed the bolt, since it's a pivot point, and tried the trim and it worked normally.

My gut instinct tells me that there never was a cotter key installed and this airplane has 5+ years and over 500 hours on it and that the nut, then a washer, then the bolt, all progressively fell out over the years and had never been checked during condition inspections!

For all of you -10 guys, remember, it's a rather difficult area to inspect because it's underneath the supporting structure and you probably have to crawl back there to really check it over well.

The airplane, nevertheless, stayed quite controllable, although with considerable forward pressure to hold the nose down, since the tabs had moved downward when I first pushed the "down" button, instead of up, because the whole assembly moved toward the front of the airplane, pulling the tabs down, and the pitch up.

Whew! Yes, I did say a "Thank You" prayer

Rv10 Sold
46 years ag pilot/CFI
Air Tractor 502/PT-6
Building RV-12, Wings, fuse, emp complete. FWF in progress.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 06:24 AM
KCBerner's Avatar
KCBerner KCBerner is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Burleson, TX
Posts: 270
Default Wow

Glad you're safe! Sobering lesson, thanks for sharing.
RV-14A #140026
Wings 70%. Emp 70%
Happy to be a 2020 =VAF= contributor
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 06:45 AM
dealfair dealfair is offline
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: George West, TX
Posts: 567

My Goodness Pierre!! NOT FUN!! Glad you are OK and thanks for reporting this. I'm going to check my -4 for all attachments. I'm in middle of inspection time. This gives me added incentive to be cautious & focus on what I'm looking at. You've done us all a great service.

Thank you & happy flying,
Deal Fair
RV-4 (N34CB)
George West, TX (8T6)
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 07:02 AM
pierre smith's Avatar
pierre smith pierre smith is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Louisville, Ga
Posts: 7,911
Default The Waddington Effect

Be very careful flying your airplane after an annual/condition inspection. NO passengers on the "acceptance" flight.

Here's why:

Rv10 Sold
46 years ag pilot/CFI
Air Tractor 502/PT-6
Building RV-12, Wings, fuse, emp complete. FWF in progress.
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 07:18 AM
F1Boss's Avatar
F1Boss F1Boss is offline
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Taylor Texas
Posts: 847
Default Whew!

Originally Posted by KCBerner View Post
Glad you're safe! Sobering lesson, thanks for sharing.

Congrats Pierre! You dodged a large caliber OOPS. Much easier hearing from you how it happened than reconstructing the pile of aluminum without your help! At least, the fellas at the NTSB use that phrase...

Carry on!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 07:18 AM
RV10inOz's Avatar
RV10inOz RV10inOz is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Brisbane Qld. Aust.
Posts: 2,308

Annual coming up....extra attention will be paid there.

David Brown

DYNON Authorised Dealer and Installer

The two best investments you can make, by any financial test, an EMS and APS!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 07:24 AM
tkatc's Avatar
tkatc tkatc is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: NJ
Posts: 1,747

Thanks for the lesson Pierre!
My ATC opinion is NOT an official FAA recognized opinion, so any advice you get from me is ONLY my opinion.

Track my RV7A!!

Bought my flying -7A
Building an -8! (Fuse)
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 07:32 AM
Walt's Avatar
Walt Walt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 6,342

I've added this particular item to my "checklist" just to be sure its not missed during an annual. I think if I were you, I'd probably be looking at the rest of the control attachements just to be sure there wasn't a similar condition somewhere else.

As for the "Waddington Effect", I agree a post maintenance flight test is never a bad idea. It was required in my old job when any task was performed that could effect flight characteristics where ground testing could not ensure proper operation (flight control rigging for example).

However, some folks may interpret this to mean (and take literally), "if it ain't broke don't fix it". The whole premise of aircraft maintenance and inspections is not to wait till something breaks to fix it. Things wear out over time and most failures show evidence of pending failure, preventave maintenance is a critical part of aircraft safety and reliability!
Walt Aronow, DFW, TX (52F)

EXP Aircraft Services LLC
Specializing in RV Condition Inspections, Maintenance, Avionics Upgrades
Dynamic Prop Balancing, Pitot-Static Altmeter/Transponder Certification
FAA Certified Repair Station, AP/IA/FCC GROL, EAA Technical Counselor
Authorized Garmin G3X Dealer/Installer
RV7A built 2004, 2000+ hrs, New Titan IO-370, Bendix Mags
Website:, Email:, Cell: 972-746-5154
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 07:32 AM
TroyBranch's Avatar
TroyBranch TroyBranch is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Calgary Alberta Canada
Posts: 457

I just did my annual. In that area I use a mirror and a flashlight. I then take pictures with my iPhone at all the angles needed to see everything by just reaching in from the back. I can then review on the spot or at home for confirmation that all is well. Pictures work great in many areas. Reaching in to confirm jamb nuts are tight is a must to.

It is nice to know that the tabs did not flutter. thanks for testing

Glad it worked out well, bet the heart was sure racing.
Troy Branch

RV10 Built and Flying Since Feb 2009
950hrs Plus
CC EX-2 Flying
SuperSTOL Built and Sold
RV9 Built and Sold
Avid Aerobat Built and Sold
Dues paid Nov 2019
Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2013, 07:35 AM
Brantel's Avatar
Brantel Brantel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 7,513

I agree, cell phone camera's are great for inspecting hard to see area's!
Brantel (Brian Chesteen),
Check out my RV-10 builder's BLOG
RV-10, #41942, N?????, Project Sold
RV-7/TU, #72823, N159SB
Lyc. O-360 carbed, HARTZELL BA CS Prop, Dual P-MAGs, Dual Garmin G3X Touch
Track N159SB (KK4LIF)
Like EAA Chapter 1494 on Facebook
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 08:50 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.