Purchase of Risks

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Thaddeus

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Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
192
Location
Valparaiso, Indiana
Ran across this video discussion of builder error that cost builder his life. He had previously sold his creations to other pilots! Builder made stuff that looked good but failed structurally. Builder did not understand the why of wing design. He thought rib continuity was more important than spar continuity. Wings failed under light load and he dies. :'( We really must thoroughly inspect any work we buy. Cold welds, substandard materials, bad techniques, plan excursions, logic failure, all equal risk when we buy what someone else has made. Just cannot assume that things are done right. BRS is good insurance. https://youtu.be/2EaZdeTERjY
 

phzabriskie

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Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
2,257
Location
Santa Fe, New Mexico
There was a relevant comment to the video, "How did this experimental aircraft get certified to fly with such a poor design?" It is very sad that a builder with such obvious short comings got past any inspections.
 

Raceair

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Staff member
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
1,092
Location
Gilbert, S. C.
Very often, and possibly always, an FAA inspector does not have a background in structures, which would catch his attention upon seeing a substandard spar depth, etc.
In my past dealings with licensing homebuilts, the inspector was mostly interested in the correct placards and paperwork, the correct placement of cotter pins, safety wire, etc.
I am not bashing inspectors, just stating that they , for the most part, are not trained or degreed to be structural engineers, who could look at a structural piece and in their mind instantly determine if it was good for 9 'G' or 2.5 'G'…Ed
 

phzabriskie

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Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
2,257
Location
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Wow, gives a lot more weight to the value of joining an EAA chapter with a good Tech Counselor! All this work I have been putting in getting my spars right is a real PIA but the TC's made it plainly clear to me it was my life hanging on this work and I had better get it right. My brother Rick used to say," nothing ruins the day like mid-air failure".
-Pete
 

acrojohn

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Joined
Dec 5, 2010
Messages
101
Location
Chesapeake, VA
Ed, That is my observation as well.

Project owners beware - the one responsible for your safety is the one that flies the airplane, builder or not. If he or she is the final builder, you will notice your signature next to the statement that certifies that you built the aircraft for your own education and recreation, and that you have inspected it fully, that you are the manufacturer, and that you consider it to be eligible for issuance of an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate for the purpose of operating amateur-built aircraft under provision of FAR 21.191(g).

You can't escape responsibility or leave it to the DAR to cover your butt. You really need to know what you are getting into before pushing the throttle forward.

John
 

acrojohn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2010
Messages
101
Location
Chesapeake, VA
The same can be said for certified spam cans, this isn't just the domain of homebuilts, although it seems to happen here more often.
I bought a "Grumman" AA-1A years ago from a fellow who had his A&P w/IA buddy perform the last half dozen or so annual inspections. The seller told me to ensure that I landed with 1700 RPMs or I would lose elevator authority. Having flown Grummans before, I questioned his sanity. Inspecting the elevator, I found it only had about 12 degrees of up travel and every time it hit this premature limit you could hear a cluck under the instrument panel. Further investigation revealed that a unfastened hanger strap on the back of the transponder had caused the rear of the transponder to droop down and interfere with the movement of the control tee assembly that transfers yoke pitch movement to cable throws!! This guy's A&P IA buddy really looked after him.

Don't be dazzled into a low cost project just because it is the one you can afford unless you know the risks. Expect the seller to assure you that the resident EAA expert welder certified his welds and said the plane was expertly built. Ask for Tech Counselor Visit Reports covering any previous construction. Get builders logs and pictures to help verify materials and methods. Have someone with the acquired knowledge inspect the plane before you buy it if you don't have the required knowledge. Even if you do, it is good to have more eyes on the project.

John
EAA TC and FA
 
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