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Thread: It Isn't Hard to Assemble a Super Cub Or Is It?

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    It Isn't Hard to Assemble a Super Cub Or Is It?

    Doing my first annual inspection on a friends recently purchased amphibious Super Cub that was built in 2002 and maintained by the same A&P/IA who signed off the rebuild. 385 hours since the rebuild with new wings, fuselage, 180 hp engine and Wip 2100 floats. Surprise, surprise, surprise. A few phone calls and I find out this was really built by the previous owner and it becomes obvious as you look at my photo album. Here are a few teasers. Photo Album of more pictures.
    scary1.jpg

    scary2.jpg

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/j3dHb5AKjxHLHsYo7
    Steve Pierce

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    PerryB's Avatar
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    Love that elevator cable pin. How did the flap cable come off, and how did somebody not notice the ton of slop in the system?
    After Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says WTF !
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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    The bolt in the added nut for the grease zerk


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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    I’m betting this is going to be an expensive first annual


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    txpacer's Avatar
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    It's like a treasure hunt.

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    supercub's Avatar
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    Interesting all the patches. Was it in a knife fight?

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    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Wonder what the reason for the bolt through the liner tube? So much wrong with it. The more you look the worse it gets


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    algonquin's Avatar
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    Hey, that A&P lic. Is only a piece of paper! As I've been told " I've been a home auto mechanic for years and I'm an engineer. " just by the sheer grace of god it's not raining aluminum. It's very good that the owner has brought the plane to you.
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    supercrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by algonquin View Post
    Hey, that A&P lic. Is only a piece of paper! As I've been told " I've been a home auto mechanic for years and I'm an engineer. " just by the sheer grace of god it's not raining aluminum. It's very good that the owner has brought the plane to you.
    Yup. The license means you jumped through all the hoops to get it. Some have earned the right to work on airplanes and some have no business touching one. Only time tells you who the good ones are. Reid

  10. #10
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Maybe it's the same person who did this on my 180.
    408A35E5-B110-4E12-991B-BFBDE9119EB7.jpeg
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    Quote Originally Posted by supercrow View Post
    Yup. The license means you jumped through all the hoops to get it. Some have earned the right to work on airplanes and some have no business touching one. Only time tells you who the good ones are. Reid
    Actually, and A and P built/repaired plane, is no surety of a good job. It sounds good and it may be good, however verification is a must regardless. It could be built “safe” but lacking on fit and finish, for example.
    Or the other way around. There are engineers, engineers with street smarts, engineers without papers who are mechanical geniuses who never had the opertunity to receive formal training. (Some of those people turn out amazing impeccable work). “Common sense” comes into play in the whole thing too, an item that seemingly can’t be taught in schools- you either have it or you don’t.
    “Common sense” says “I don’t know what I’m doing so I should stop and ask someone who does.”
    Appreciate working with engineers with “street smarts” and those without papers but strong on natural talent and common sense.
    Roddy

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    Maybe it's the same person who did this on my 180.
    408A35E5-B110-4E12-991B-BFBDE9119EB7.jpeg
    You Heineken guys . . .

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txpacer View Post
    It's like a treasure hunt.
    Yep, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Don't need any of those special Piper bushings and washers for the aileron pulleys. An old Riv-nut works great.
    scary4.jpg

    scary3.jpg

    Don't need that cotter pin to retain the flap lever liner tube either.
    scary5.jpg

    scary6.jpg
    Steve Pierce

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    Wonder what the reason for the bolt through the liner tube? So much wrong with it. The more you look the worse it gets


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    Just have to drill one 1/4" hole in the liner tube which retains it to the fuselage and rotates on the stabilizers.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
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    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Argh....My head hurts, and I'm just learning how to build an airplane.

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    RVBottomly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Just have to drill one 1/4" hole in the liner tube which retains it to the fuselage and rotates on the stabilizers.
    So I take it that the stabilizers were only held in place by the brace wires? ....

  17. #17
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Just have to drill one 1/4" hole in the liner tube which retains it to the fuselage and rotates on the stabilizers.
    So no bolts in th stabs?! Jeeze


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    Stew's Avatar
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    Apart from that Mrs Lincoln, how was the opera?
    Steve, is there any good news for the owner?

    Best for him to just move on and happily the ship is in good hands now.

    Kind regards

    Stew

  19. #19
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    The good news--It is now in good hands

    The bad news--Your bank account is about to take a hit!
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  20. #20
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RVBottomly View Post
    So I take it that the stabilizers were only held in place by the brace wires? ....
    Correct, and the bolts through the front liner tube.
    Steve Pierce

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  21. #21
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stew View Post
    Steve, is there any good news for the owner?

    Best for him to just move on and happily the ship is in good hands now.

    Kind regards

    Stew
    It has a 180 hp factory new engine, airframe and wings. Just needs some going over and correct reassembly.
    Last edited by Steve Pierce; 08-11-2018 at 10:09 AM.
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers

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    I was the banquet speaker at Transport Canada's first Atlantic Region Aircraft Maintenance Conference 30-odd years ago. I was also chairman at the time of the Atlantic Fishermen's Record Book Plan, a labour-management program to raise standards and reward deep-sea trawler men for their initiative on Canada's East Coast. I also represented trawler captains of the Fishing Masters Association with corporations and in national and international forums.

    I made the point that our AMEs (Aircraft Maintenance Engineers) didn't come near professionalism of our trawler men, whose improving skills and deportment were noted in record books that followed them wherever they went. Incompetent A&Ps and AMEs when fired just pick up their toolboxes and blithely go off to another job. RoddyM's observation above of common sense unlicensed talent is the same as mine.
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  23. #23
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    It's pretty clear that the IA did not inspect the work and pencil whipped it.

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    algonquin's Avatar
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    Just my 2C on unlicensed. Mechanic's. I've seen fellows that do beautiful work in many areas , lathe, milling welding Etc, better than I can do. I don't pretend I can do some things and go to professionals in there fields. Now where I see the problem, assembling aircraft is a world in itself and the methods and hardware we use in many cases never surface in other fields. Our work must integrate with all the other systems on the aircraft . These are the areas where they fail or fall short. Also to make things worse I've seen them get angry if anyone points out a problem.
    Ps I don't get involved , don't need the hassle, lol.

  25. #25
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by algonquin View Post
    Just my 2C on unlicensed. Mechanic's. I've seen fellows that do beautiful work in many areas , lathe, milling welding Etc, better than I can do. I don't pretend I can do some things and go to professionals in there fields. Now where I see the problem, assembling aircraft is a world in itself and the methods and hardware we use in many cases never surface in other fields. Our work must integrate with all the other systems on the aircraft . These are the areas where they fail or fall short. Also to make things worse I've seen them get angry if anyone points out a problem.
    Ps I don't get involved , don't need the hassle, lol.
    Even a simple J3 can be a challenge.

    Glenn
    Last edited by cubdriver2; 08-12-2018 at 07:13 AM.
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

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    Response to my talk was interesting. Transport Canada knew who to call for the conference banquet and did a poll: Half of the AMEs wanted to throw me in the hotel's swimming pool. Granted, I had a tale of woe and everyone knew AMEs I was referring to, the fraternity tight as it is and word gets around.

    Like flying the 180 with my son to pick up the SC at licensed shop, settling up with chequebook and logbooks before me, signed off with requisite two signatures, when my son, an AME and corporate chief pilot, walks in and says, "Dad, come out here and look at this."

    I don't know how he saw it through the hole in the floor. Cables to the torque tube were attached to the bolts---and not secured by anything, waiting to fall off. I felt the same about half of the Atlantic region's AMEs wanting to dunk the messenger. Complacency is our principal killer.
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Every trade has hacks in my opinion. To cast a broad sword is unfair to those that do things correctly. I have been fortunate enough to have rebuilt 5 Super Cubs that had never been apart and maintained countless others along with having hundreds of drawings. There are some things that are not called out in the normal Piper owners handbook or parts manual. Sometimes it takes some effort like looking at another airplane to figure out how something goes. The mot frustrating one was when I rebuilt a Luscombe several years ago that arrived at my hanger in many pieces and had been wrecked and repaired a documented 8 times. Their drawings do not match the airplanes and I took thousands of pictures of Luscombes at fly ins etc to make sure I did it correctly. Some people care and some do not. That is unfortunate but true.
    Steve Pierce

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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Question: The IA in this case was clearly negligent. When finding work like this, does the IA community let it slide or it there a mechanism to educate/eliminate these people.

  29. #29
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddie Foy View Post
    Question: The IA in this case was clearly negligent. When finding work like this, does the IA community let it slide or it there a mechanism to educate/eliminate these people.
    No one will give me his contact information and a Google search only comes up with sites who want $ for it. In previous cases like this I have called the person who signed the work. Twice they had more excuses that you can shake a stick at and both cases were short of complete structural or control system failure and after getting no where with the mechanic I called the FAA. I have spoken to the FAA in this case but have not followed up with them.
    Steve Pierce

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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Thanks Steve. That is what I expected knowing you.

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    txpacer's Avatar
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    This discussion made me think of our favorite negligent mechanic around here. I recently heard that after his ticket was revoked he started signing the name and number of a mechanic that had died some years earlier.

    A quick search shows that he is still alive. Not wrenching anymore, fortunately. Not in prison, either.

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    algonquin's Avatar
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    I guess we all have stories just good that most are honest hard working guys. Many years ago had a IA replace my vented Piper gas caps with unvented. My wife and I headed across the water,14 miles, in Alaska when almost across I started losing power. Went I landed I found the gas cap was sucked down below the tank cover. This type of experience,I hope, has made me more attentive when I work on planes and a bit of a pain because I ask or research if I'm not sure of a job.

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    Steve, as an aircraft owner for 59 years, my post couldn't possibly be casting a broad sword; I've found as many good as bad to my standards. The good were those who also took surprises out of annuals, noting conditions requiring attention in future annuals. Spotty performance, AMEs coming and going, was a principal reason I went experimental and haven't regretted it. That, and AMEs I admire, the unlicensed wizards, the surpassing generosity of members here, provide a perfect amalgam for responsible flying if I do my part. A responsibility of friendship and to our fraternity is to speak harsh truths when needed, as you do.

  34. #34
    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Situations like this SHOULD be self correcting. Just stop using the incompetent mechanic. When he has no more aircraft to work on, he'll be forced to move on to other jobs (that, hopefully, don't risk life and limb).

    All major jobs, like recover/rebuilds will have to have the bugs worked out. No mechanic worth his salt will claim to do any type of major job 100% bug free. The trick is to catch those issues BEFORE the customer picks up the airplane. You have another qualified individual (or two) look over the aircraft before you sign it off. I tell people that I would rather be embarrassed than be responsible for hurting some one or bending an airplane. And each owner needs to understand that there are a few items that just need to be checked operationally before you can say that they are done and done correctly. Think about doing your power check before each flight. I can't even 100% guarantee a radio install is good to go until the pilots flies the aircraft and does a com check with a distant station. THEN I consider that job done.

    That being said, the pics that Mr Pierce posted, show issues that I would NEVER consider 'bugs'. Incorrect parts installed. Parts assembled incorrectly. Or in the case of the rear liner tube, incorrect parts installed incorrectly. Look at this at two different levels.

    First, the assembly procedures. The guy/guys putting the aircraft together simply put the wrong parts on or put the right parts on in the wrong manner. There may be some wiggle room here, for some items. If you've never assembled a Cub, you'll never have all the answers. But it's obvious from these pics that they never looked at the books. The parts manual gives specific numbers and descriptions of the individual parts and even gives you ideas about assembly. The old military assembly manual shows individual systems as the are installed on the aircraft. Manuals come with items installed under STC's. Then there is the internet and the telephone. Want to know that last obscure detail? Google search it. Pick up your phone and call your buddy or call the IA. Remember that the wiggle room I'm talking about here, is the details. I.e. which way a bolt is installed or the order of assembly. Anything above that level should be 'in the book'.

    The second level here, I believe is much more serious; the sign off. A&P's and IA's have the ability to sign off 'other peoples' work. But it comes with the responsibility of making sure the work was done correctly. This means that the aircraft is safe to fly when the paperwork is signed off. Some of these sign offs are easier than others. If you ask me to sign off an intercom install, I can simply inspect the wires for correct type/size, proper terminations, correct breaker size, and proper routing. Are the jacks installed with isolation washers? Look under the instrument panel to make sure the intercom box is installed with the correct hardware and does not interfere with the flight controls. All these items can be visually inspected with minimal effort. Now imagine that you are going to sign off a recover or rebuild project. You will still need to insure correct parts and assembly but you will need to do this in each local area BEFORE it's covered up by skin/fabric or other assemblies. Things like wrong hardware or misrouted cables are completely obvious when it's a skeleton of the fuselage or wing. Throw the fabric on and now you're going to have trouble seeing these items let alone fixing them.

    So, yes the guys building this Cub screwed up. Big time. My guess is that they had no reference materials or did not use them. I doubt they even went and looked at other Cubs. But go one level up and the IA screwed up worse. He is supposed to be the inspecting authority for this job. Think quality control inspector. I don't know this IA so I don't know the reasons for this event. He could have trusted the guys doing the work or it could be lack of knowledge on his part. Either way, he didn't get the job done. If he had caught these problems, they could have been corrected with minimal effort and we wouldn't be discussing it here. Instead, this aircraft has been flying around.

    We can all take action to prevent this from happening. Owners, choose your mechanics/shops carefully. Competency and knowledge is more important than cheap labor rates, so ask around. If you do the work, then DO THE WORK! That means do the procedures called out in the proper manuals. Don't try to hide improper parts or procedures from the A&P or IA. If you are an A&P or IA signing off work for another individual, then do YOUR job. Complex assemblies require complex inspections. Observe the work being done. Ask questions. Look over the parts used, both before and after assembly. Once you sign for work accomplished, it's yours. Legally it no longer matters if someone else physically did that work.

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  35. #35
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    In my most recent experience with home made exhaust and mechanics signing off the muffler ad for 10 years with no muffler, the faa didn’t seem to care at all.


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  36. #36
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    The fact that no one will give Steve the offender's contact just makes it worse. It is kind of like doctors sticking together while lawyers will fry their grandmother for a buck.

    Maybe a professional standards group like airline pilots have. An offender is given a friendly chat to gain the facts and remedy the situation before involving the FAA or the company. Police your own to weed out the bad apples. There are a few in any profession.
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  37. #37
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txpacer View Post
    This discussion made me think of our favorite negligent mechanic around here. I recently heard that after his ticket was revoked he started signing the name and number of a mechanic that had died some years earlier.

    A quick search shows that he is still alive. Not wrenching anymore, fortunately. Not in prison, either.
    He was one of them.
    Steve Pierce

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  38. #38
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    This is intriguing. I'm thinking especially about the stabilizer liner tube being anchored in the center. If it were an experimental, it would seem like a reasonable solution. Neither the tube or the stabilizers can go anywhere, unless a brace wire breaks. And if that happens there are bigger troubles.

    I'm in no way saying this is ok on a certificated Cub, and the liner tube will eventually rust to the fuselage tube it's anchored to, but it's still an interesting approach.

    Don't shoot!
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  39. #39
    texmex's Avatar
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    If it were an experimental, it would seem like a reasonable solution.
    Doesn't work. I had it with a frozen/corroded one. The aircraft trim range narrowed up a lot and towards the ends of it trimming became real hard trying to twist the link.

    (maybe your post was more on principles rather then the trim specifics)

  40. #40
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    It worked, the stabs rotated on the liner tube instead of the liner tube rotating on the fuselage. No bolts between the rear liner tube and the stabs. Not correct but it worked. Liner tube was pretty rusty as well. The 3/16" bolt in the fin mounting the tail brace wires and the side to side slop between the front horizontal stabilizer attachments and the excessive slop in the jackscrew itself were other areas of concern.
    IMG_20180813_074752.jpg
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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