Originally Posted by vernh59
To my knowledge, there has never been an in-flight failure of a tail component on an RV that was being flown within the designed flight envelope. The 14 rudder design may be different because the airplane is physically larger or the construction could be simplified.
+1. Facts will set you free. Over 10,500 RV's flown over +40 years with a handful of in-flight break-ups going back to the RV-3 (wing issue), mostly attributed to exceeding Vne and G limits (a lot), loss of control and/or construction issues. Two or three RV-3 wing failures were built by the same "pro" builder. Van of course changed the design, but the original if built properly was acceptable.
I looked at all the RV-7 breakups (where parts came down in different places). There were about 5 accidents. 4 were not structural, clearly loss of control and one bird strike. One case was undetermined in my opinion, but no definitive fault of structure was found. The balanced rudder, elevators, ailerons are not flutter prone flown within limits with good margins.
This may be common knowledge but Van changed the original early RV-7 small rudder to a larger rudder used today for spin recovery. Apparently with small rudder it took too many turns to come out of spin.