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  #1  
Old 01-26-2017, 05:22 AM
vic syracuse vic syracuse is offline
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Location: Locust Grove, GA
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Default Get the Lead out

This week while performing a pre buy inspection on a gorgeous RV-9A I happened upon a big block of lead bolted to the tail area underneath the vertical fin! This RV-9A had a 180 HP Lycoming with a fixed pitch prop, of which I have seen and flown a few of. Nothing out of the ordinary stood out to me in this airplane that should indicate a need for ballast in the tail.

In looking at the W&B paperwork it became clear to me that they had added the weight to get the aircraft CG inside the envelope while it was on the scales. I'm sure most of you know this, but the only time the aircraft is required to be within the recommended CG envelope is while it is flying, not while it is empty.

The seller, who was not the builder, agreed to remove the lead while I was there. We weighed the lead at 19 lbs. 14 oz.! I received a note from him that he has since flown it without the lead and he "likes it much better." He is going to reweigh the aircraft to establish a new empty weight and CG.

This is the second aircraft on which I have found heavy lead ballast in the tail for the same reason. If any of you have done this as well, please go back and remove it. For those of you who are non-builder-owners, I would encourage you to remove your tail fairings to check for any added ballast in the this area. Anyone peforming Condition Inspections who is not familiar with RV's may have assume it belonged there.

This much weight that far aft will definitely change the flight characteristics of the airplane, adding a huge polar moment of inertia that could bite you badly when least expected, such as in a spin. It's also requiring a lot of extra work from the tailwheel (if so equipped) and may make it harder to correct from inadvertent excursions during crosswinds or other circumstances.

Vic
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Last edited by vic syracuse : 01-26-2017 at 05:25 AM. Reason: spelling
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  #2  
Old 01-26-2017, 06:42 AM
Bob Martin's Avatar
Bob Martin Bob Martin is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Posts: 986
Default Thanks

Vic,
Thanks for posting this info. Personally, I have not seen this in the few Rv's I have worked with or on. But thanks for explaining why someone might think they needed it and what the down side of having it would be.
Very good info. I always learn stuff from your posts and CI's and your Kitplane articles.
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  #3  
Old 01-26-2017, 07:03 AM
vic syracuse vic syracuse is offline
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Default

Thanks for the kind words, Bob. Glad I can be of help.

Vic
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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, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor, CFII-ASMEL/ASES
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  #4  
Old 01-26-2017, 07:26 AM
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bsacks05 bsacks05 is offline
 
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Location: Warner Robins, GA
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Default

Wow, almost 20lb back there is huge. I would be interested to see the W&B form before the weight was removed. It would be useful for my AMT students and we could play with some loading conditions.

If you could PM me the gear weights and ballast arm that would be great. I'm always looking for real world examples for my students.
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  #5  
Old 01-26-2017, 07:56 AM
Mel's Avatar
Mel Mel is offline
 
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Location: Dallas area
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by vic syracuse View Post
This week while performing a pre buy inspection on a gorgeous RV-9A I happened upon a big block of lead bolted to the tail area underneath the vertical fin! This RV-9A had a 180 HP Lycoming with a fixed pitch prop, of which I have seen and flown a few of. Nothing out of the ordinary stood out to me in this airplane that should indicate a need for ballast in the tail.

In looking at the W&B paperwork it became clear to me that they had added the weight to get the aircraft CG inside the envelope while it was on the scales. I'm sure most of you know this, but the only time the aircraft is required to be within the recommended CG envelope is while it is flying, not while it is empty.

The seller, who was not the builder, agreed to remove the lead while I was there. We weighed the lead at 19 lbs. 14 oz.! I received a note from him that he has since flown it without the lead and he "likes it much better." He is going to reweigh the aircraft to establish a new empty weight and CG.

This is the second aircraft on which I have found heavy lead ballast in the tail for the same reason. If any of you have done this as well, please go back and remove it. For those of you who are non-builder-owners, I would encourage you to remove your tail fairings to check for any added ballast in the this area. Anyone peforming Condition Inspections who is not familiar with RV's may have assume it belonged there.

This much weight that far aft will definitely change the flight characteristics of the airplane, adding a huge polar moment of inertia that could bite you badly when least expected, such as in a spin. It's also requiring a lot of extra work from the tailwheel (if so equipped) and may make it harder to correct from inadvertent excursions during crosswinds or other circumstances.

Vic
Hey Vic, Did you also remind him that a new phase I is needed for that kind of W&B change? (5 hr. min.)
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  #6  
Old 01-26-2017, 08:56 AM
DanH's Avatar
DanH DanH is offline
 
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Location: 08A
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by vic syracuse View Post
In looking at the W&B paperwork it became clear to me that they had added the weight to get the aircraft CG inside the envelope while it was on the scales.
That's pretty dumb, but it's not just an EAB thing. Here at 08A we once had a Seneca show up at the paint shop with a 50 lb bag of sand in the tail.
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2017, 06:57 PM
rocketman1988 rocketman1988 is offline
 
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Location: Sunman, IN
Posts: 720
Default sand

I have heard that before...Many moons ago, at a little flight school, they trained in Seneca 1s. They had a problem with students not being able to hold the nose up on landing. After several broken nose gears and the resulting prop strikes, they started putting sand in the back to relieve the problem (). That didn't last long and they sold the senecas and bought seminoles instead...
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2017, 06:24 AM
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ronschreck ronschreck is offline
 
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Default Note to self...

Quote:
Originally Posted by vic syracuse View Post
This much weight that far aft will definitely change the flight characteristics of the airplane, adding a huge polar moment of inertia that could bite you badly when least expected, such as in a spin. It's also requiring a lot of extra work from the tailwheel (if so equipped) and may make it harder to correct from inadvertent excursions during crosswinds or other circumstances.

Vic
Don't be a fool, Schreck! You have already fought this fight and proved the sceptics wrong. Just bite your tongue and ease on down the road.
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  #9  
Old 01-27-2017, 07:50 AM
SoaringTomcat SoaringTomcat is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Locust Grove, Georgia
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Wink

Should send that lead to Georgia Vic?! Makes good sinkers!
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  #10  
Old 01-27-2017, 08:16 AM
MikeyDale's Avatar
MikeyDale MikeyDale is offline
 
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Default

Sure wish I could find 5lbs of lead in my tail! It would sure help out my W&B!
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