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Left flaperion hinge failure.

32 posts in this topic

Posted

Has anyone experience a flaperion hinge failure other than myself? I had three of the five hinges fail during our initial climb on the left wing between 500 and 600 feet.  Started a spiral nose dive.  Was able to pull up enough to survive the impact.  Not sure at this point what to do with the aircraft?  I have stored it in my shop since the crash.  It's took nine months since the crash to start working on it. Where would I go to have it restored? 

 

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Posted (edited)

Sorry about your hinge failure, but glad you survived.  How did the hinge fail, or did the rib tail fail?  Can you post some pictures of the damage to your plane?  You can get lots of info on here.  Depending on where you are located, there may be someone close enough to you to help.  Post some more info so we can give you better feedback.  Most of the time we are on our own to build or repair these birds.  Is yours Avid or Kitfox and what model?   EDMO

Edited by EDMO

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Posted

I would also like to know what part of the hinge failed, Weld, Bushing, wood hanger? that's scary stuff never heard of it before,

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Posted (edited)

Yes, please.  More information.  What type of aircraft?  Maybe photos of the damage.

Edited by Av8r3400

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Posted

The aircraft is a Avid Flyer model Cuyuna 430R built by Wings and Things Bloomfield, Ohio.  The outer flaperon is a wood with an aluminum piece that connects to the flaperon.  The other four hinges are all connected with wood.  I had over 30 flights with this aircraft.  I am not sure if it took this long for the flaperon hinge to fail or what.  That evening had already taken off twice and flew for almost an hour and a half.  Landed and was on the runway when I decided to make one final goaround bc I still had daylight and no wind.  Was an absolutely beautiful evening to fly.  I had cleared the runway and was climbing to 1500 ft to make the pattern when it let loose between 500-600ft.  My air speed was almost 70 knots when the aircraft dipped to the left. We dipped at such a steep angle that one eye witness thought we were a crop duster so when we went down to where they couldn't see us they were not alarmed.  They corn wrapped around the prop so tight the FAA investigators said it kept us from catching fire.  So with no smoke or anything to help people find us I some how woke up with my phone still between my legs.  I had no clue where I was when I called 911.  Only that I last remembered I was close to the airfield and in a cornfield.  I asked the operator to ping my phone.  She did and it got them close to an intersection that had four cornfields.  The first responders ended up climbing on top of grain bins to find us. I will try and see if I can attach some photos. 

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Posted (edited)

Those are the rib tails that broke.  This is a common failure point on these planes (Avid Flyer A through Mk 4 and Kitfox 1-3) and is something that needs to be constantly monitored and inspected.  There are repair procedures to strengthen them with aluminum bonded to both sides.  This should have been done to all of the rib tails not just one.  This was probably an insufficient repair done at one point.  The rest of the tails should have been considered suspect.  There may be some salvageable parts there, but that's all.

IMO that plane is a total loss.  Not worth repairing.

Edited by Av8r3400
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Posted

Wow! what a mess. You are lucky to be telling the story.  JImChuk

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Posted (edited)

I agree with Larry.  Sorry for your loss, but probably all you can do at this time is to try to salvage what usable parts you have left and put them on our For Sale section and start looking for a plane to buy.  There is an A model Avid on ebay now.   EDMO

Edited by EDMO

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Posted

Don't cancel the registration, that is worth something as well.  Might find a unregistered Avid with lots of parts for yours.  JImChuk

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Posted

That's not a Cuyuna it's a Rotax. Glad you survived this experience. 

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Posted

Thanks for advice.  Was not aware of the rib tail issues.  But totally right just glad to still be here.  Hopefully this story can help prevent this from happening to someone else.

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Posted (edited)

Kitfox 4 and later eliminated the wood rib tails and use metal brackets for the hinge hangers to attach to.   But there are plenty of Avids and Kitfoxes flying around with the wood rib tails.   EDMO

Edited by EDMO

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Posted

What would cause that?

Taking off with flaps and over speed causing lots of drag on the hangers?

Flaperons not adjusted correctly and always fighting each other?

No turtle deck Hinge causing flutter?

Glad your alive, That has to damn near stop your heart when you look at it.

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Posted (edited)

I'm very glad you're here to share your experience!  I hope waiting 9 months to get back to it is not an indication of healing time..

Perhaps that plane started out with a Cuyuna in it, but the engine in your pictures appears to be a Rotax 582 mod90.

Are you able to take still pictures of the hinges?    

Edited by Knuckledragger

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Posted

His attached MOV 067 and 068 show the broken plywood rib extensions, which also look somewhat suspect, shredded and perhaps a bit wet. 

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Posted

Sorry for the loss of your Avid, that sounds like a very harrowing experience indeed! I applaud you for sharing this incident with us, we need to hear about these issues so thank you again.

I wonder which rib broke first (ie., the 'repaired' or one of the others)? I do agree with Nick, it looks like the rib tails may have been saturated wet at some point. Curious if you and/or previous owners kept it under cover or in the elements? Were there any logbook entries regarding the prior flaperon rib repair(s) and the reason for the repair? Perhaps poking the rib tails with a moisture meter would be a good step to add to a pre-purchase inspection of these aircraft with wood rib tails? Like powder coat on tubing, damage under the wood coating/covering can be hard to pick up with a visual only. 

In no way is this meant as criticism, but did you not check out the Avid/Kitfox resource forum sites before your purchase and first flights? The Mandatory Service Bulletin #9 from Kitfox on rib tail reinforcement is well known info to that community and discussed frequently on the Avid site as well (I've attached a copy below). Also, all Kitfox SB's and SL's are available on their website HERE . Avid SB's are posted onsite in this forum, a search should find them quickly.

SB-9-1.pdf

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Posted

Unfortunately I didn't know this site existed till a few days ago.  I bought the aircraft July of 2016.  Went to the local airport and talked with a few of the guys with experimental planes but it was just basics. The air craft since I had it has always been inside. The only night it stayed out side was the night of the crash waiting for FAA investigators to get there the next morning.   I wish I could have made it to the crash site on their initial investigation and also the removal of the plane.  I was still in the hospital with my daughter.  My friends took my equipment and moved it to my shop and they probably weren't caring how much damage they did getting it loaded but it made it back to my shop in a few pieces.  I think most of them were ready to smash it with the excavator lol.  And the nine months it took me to start working on the airplane wasn't bc of physical recovery more that just mental recovery. I was released from the hospital with in 12 hours with a broken ankle and concussion.  My daughter was in in the hospital for 4 days with a back injury and a severe concussion. She was on the right side of the aircraft and it took a harder hit than the left side.  When I told her we were going in she passed out from fear.  It probably saved her from severe back injuries according to the doctors but when we hit she was like a rag doll and got a worse concussion than I did.  Some how there was a   Divine intervention in all this bc I know how we were going in and I knew the position we were in as the  tassels on the corn Hit the windshield.  That's when I closed my eyes.  I prayed all the way down.  i remember right before the corn stalks I tried to flare and hit the right rudder as hard as I can to level out. God helped me there bc I'm not that good of a pilot to land like that.  I just knew I was going to fight it all the way in.  And by the way it's not fun being on the news and I totally understand now that I don't believe everything I see or read on the news either.  The news said we were landing.  We were taking off. The news said our engine failed. We were at full throttle in the  initial Climb. The new said we stalled.  Our air speed was between 60-70 knots. The news said I radioed for help.  That was the only thing they got right!!!! But I wasn't asking for help on the radio..... I was asking God for help to save us.  I told one reporter that and she didn't air that part of the interview.  I told her no one was on the ground that could possibly save us.  Only God could have saved us. The look in her face was priceless. You learn from your mistakes and what I am taking from all of this is the biggest lesson I learned is I know for a fact there is something beyond this life that we live in here on earth. I don't want to get all religious on you guys but I believe in God. 

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Posted

Railview, thanks for sharing all this - it benefits everyone.  I trust your and your daughter's recoveries were quick and complete?    I hope you're able to enjoy flying again soon :BC:

 

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Posted

I couldn't tell from the photos, so have to ask:  Did your flaperons have the counter-weights on them?  If not, then could have been flutter that caused the breakage of the rib tails, otherwise guess just rotted wood?  EDMO

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Posted

Thanks for taking the time to share this experience and the details.  Its means alot to this flying community.  So glad to hear that you and your daughter had a good outcome. 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for taking the time to share this experience and the details.  Its means alot to this flying community.  So glad to hear that you and your daughter had a good outcome. 

Totally agree  Thanks for posting and sorry for your loss, but glad that it wasn't worse. 

Who wrote the book or made the movie, "God is my Co-pilot"? - You reminded me of that.   EDMO

Edited by EDMO
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Posted

Thanks for taking the time to share this experience and the details.  Its means alot to this flying community.  So glad to hear that you and your daughter had a good outcome. 

Ditto. Mike

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Posted (edited)

SB-9-1 calls out to reinforce the end ribs only.  I think I am going to do all 10 of  them on my Model 2 project.  I had a very similar experience in my Cessna 140 a few years ago. The left aileron outboard hinge  became detached on climbout. It stayed level, but jammed the controls.  I was able to put it in a plowed field without any harm.  

Jeff

 

Edited by jblanton

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Posted (edited)

SB-9-1 calls out to reinforce the end ribs only.  I think I am going to do all 10 of  them on my Model 2 project.  I had a very similar experience in my Cessna 140 a few years ago. The left aileron outboard hinge  became detached on climbout. It stayed level, but jammed the controls.  I was able to put it in a plowed field without any harm.  It took me a year to feel comfortable in the plane again.  

 

Jeff

The UK rules called for all 10 hanger ribs to be reinforced, if I understand it correctly.  I did all 10 of mine a lot heavier than the .025 aluminum, but I am hanging 15" chord flaps and ailerons on mine.  Guess your incident is why they made a point about checking all the cotter pins on the Cessna hinges?   EDMO

Edited by EDMO

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