Rudder damage on my RV-10 (minor)
Over the weekend, I flew my RV-10 to Brunswick, Maine. The weather was supposed to be very windy on Saturday, but my flight up was benign on Friday and the flight back (to Virginia) on Sunday was also uneventful but bumpy.
I was using the rudder gust lock that Alex D. sells and had the other flight controls locked down using the pilot's seatbelt.
The problem happened on Saturday night. The wind was apparently really screaming because it overwelmed the gust lock and slammed the rudder hard over at least once. Luckily, the damage was minor. Four popped rivets along the upper trailing edge, two rudder travel stops broken and a tiny ding where the rudder hit the edge of the trim tab (yup, the rudder did deflect that far).
Luckily the damage was not structural and an A&P mechanic and I made the repairs easily.
I learned a few things from this incident:
1) I was very lucky because the damage could have been a lot worse.
2) I need to take an extra moment and consider tying the airplane down facing into the wind rather than facing crossways to the wind. When I talked to the airport manager about it later he said, "oh, yeah, I will talk to the staff about that, the hangers cause a wind tunnel affect over there". I guess I should have asked about that on Friday.
3) It may be time to investigate a stronger gust-lock solution.
I am confident that the airplane is fine. I will have to remove the rudder this weekend to fix the rudder stops (they sheared at the 3 rivets holding them in place).
Just a heads up for other RV-10 operators.
BTW, Brunswick Naval Air Station (KNHZ) is now open for GA operations (as of about 3 weeks ago). The FBO there is very nice, inexpensive and helpful. They have a 10,000 foot runway and a ramp so big that you could probably park every RV ever built on it. The only downside is that they don't have any published approaches (yet) and the airfield is not in many GPSs or on government charts yet.
Richmond, VA (KFCI)
RV-10 (520+ hours since first flight in Nov 07)
RV-8 (500 hours, sold Sept 07)