Van's Service Bulletin affects all E-AB Models

Rear spar web crack
Rear spar web crack

Van's Aircraft, Inc. issued a new Service Bulletin affecting all of the aircraft built from Van's kits except the RV-12. SB 16-03028 addresses "cracking of wing aft spar web at the inboard aileron hinge bracket attach rivets. In addition, for RV-10 and RV-14/14A aircraft, there is a potential for cracking of the flange bends of the inboard aileron hinge brackets." Continue reading "Van's Service Bulletin affects all E-AB Models"

Dynon SkyView 14.0 Technical Service Bulletin

Dynon SkyView Charts

Dynon Avionics Logo3Dynon released a service bulletin regarding SkyView software version 14.0

"Some Dynon Avionics pilots have experienced unresponsive SkyView displays in flight after their system has been upgraded to version 14.0.

We believe this issue only affects earlier manufactured SkyView displays, and only when they are running version 14.0.

Although a complete software fix is not currently available, updated public test versions of 14.0 are available that both improve the behavior and allow willing customers to help Dynon isolate and fix the issue through better diagnostic capabilities. Continue reading "Dynon SkyView 14.0 Technical Service Bulletin"

Dynon Issues Service Bulletin for Heated Pitot Tubes

Dynon_pitotDynon Avionics has been working with pilots who have reported issues with their heated pitot tube freezing up in icing conditions, and yesterday they issued a Service Bulletin to address the issue while they continue to work on the problem. Dynon is currently recommending that pilots with their heated AOA/Pitot probe should be operated as if the aircraft is equipped with an unheated AOA/Pitot probe.

Quoting the Service Bulletin:

Dynon Avionics has received reports from pilots who have experienced degraded airspeed indications while their Dynon heated pitot probes are in operation. Dynon Avionics has identified an issue where the pitot probe is unable to adequately separate and drain water that is encountered in some flight conditions. As a result, it is possible for water to enter the pitot system and subsequently freeze in unheated areas. This can cause inaccurate, fluctuating, or zero airspeed indications.

Dynon Avionics EFIS products use airspeed as part of the attitude calculation. While Dynon EFIS products have the ability to use GPS as a backup to airspeed, this mode is only active when the airspeed indication is zero. During inaccurate or fluctuating airspeed indications, Dynon EFIS systems (both SkyView and D10/D100 series) may not provide a reliable attitude indication.

For more information, and a complete FAQ from Dynon, visit: http://www.dynonavionics.com/docs/support_bulletin_050614.html

Van's Issues Service Bulletins For RV Fleet

vans-SBVan's Aircraft has released two service bulletins that advise owners of a variety of its aircraft to inspect for cracks in specific areas before their next flight. The first bulletin (PDF), which came out on Friday, applies to RV-6, -7, and -8 aircraft and advises owners to inspect a portion of the horizontal stabilizer forward spar for cracks on a flange. "There are no known accidents related to these cracks," Paul Dye, editor of Kitplanes, told AVweb on Tuesday. "Van's discovered them on their demo fleet airplanes, which probably have more time in service than any other RV's out there. If no cracks are found, the aircraft can be flown indefinitely, with an annual check of the spot for cracks at each condition inspection." If cracks are found, a $15 mod kit from Van's can be used to upgrade the spar.

The second bulletin (PDF), posted Monday, advises owners of RV-3, -4, -6, -7, and -8 aircraft to inspect the elevator spars where the hinge points attach. "Last year, a couple of people reported cracks at the the edge of a doubler plate," said Dye. "The inspection takes almost no time … and because this got wide attention on www.Vansairforce.net when first discovered, many, many airplanes were inspected. Only a couple reported cracks. Yet Van developed a doubler plate that can be used if cracks are found." The service bulletins are not mandatory, and Dye said he inspected his own airplanes in under 10 minutes and found nothing of concern. Ken Scott of Van's told AVweb on Wednesday that repairs, if needed, should take a few hours at most. "The maximum anybody will spend for parts is $51," he said. The SBs affect up to 5,500 aircraft, Scott said, though he added he has no way to know how many of those are still in active service.

Amy's RV-10: ADs Already

The dreaded letter. Every airplane owner (practically) has gotten one at some point. A problem has been detected with a particular part or piece of your aircraft, and the manufacturer is notifying you via a service bulletin, or the FAA is notifying you via an airworthiness directive, of both the problem and the solution.

The difference between the manufacturer's notice and the FAA's notice is that one is optional (don't do it at your own risk), and the other, bearing the FAA's seal, is mandatory (don't do it in the time allotted, and your airplane is legally grounded).

Kitbuilt and plansbuilt Experimental aircraft do not come under the FAA's Airworthiness Directives. However, the prudent manufacturers do issue the occasional service bulletin when a structural problem with the parts they manufacture or the aircraft they designed comes to light.

Van's Aircraft is particularly good about issuing service bulletins, which is good. And they just issued a major one for the RV-10, which is bad. To date Van's has issued few service bulletins on this generally well-designed machine. The nosewheel construction change (see earlier blog) is an excellent example of an optional fix, which left "unfixed" will eventually bite the flier. That change came about because of builder feedback to the manufacturer. This new service bulletin addresses damage in a tail F-1010 bulkhead, which is integral in the attachment of the forward spar of the horizontal and vertical stabilizers. Cracks have been found in the 500-hour-old factory demonstrator.

The fix? Two doublers for the suspect bulkhead must be installed within five hours of discovering any cracks. The choice? Owners can ignore the issue (not smart), or if upon inspecting their tail bulkheads they see no cracks, they can opt to re-inspect the area every 25 hours until the next scheduled condition inspection (typically done yearly and known as the Experimental's annual), at which time the factory recommends that the doublers be installed.

Doesn't sound too bad until you look at the diagrams in the how-to section. Inspecting the area requires disassembling the tail, removal of the tailcone and its electrical contents including any actuators for the elevator trim, and then drilling out key rivets--about nine steps in the bulletin. To perform the insertion of the doublers one must carefully disassemble the area obscuring the suspect bulkhead--18 steps in all. How long will it take? That's up to the builder, but an educated guess is a couple of days' work at a normal pace.

Our airplane is being shot with primer, prepping for its first coat of paint as I type. Oh well. Timing is everything. And, no, I don't wish we were just now building the tail section (the introductory kit in this airplane). I'll take a couple days of disassembly and repair time over three and a half years of building any day.