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Thread: 79 PA-18 wing repair

  1. #1

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    79 PA-18 wing repair

    Hi everyone. I just bought a cub, which is great. The ferry pilot ground looped it, which is not so great. The right wing got bent. It needs fairly extensive repairs. I'd love to hear any and all recommendations including repair facility in the pacific northwest that might work on it. No one in my area is doing fabric work anymore.
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  2. #2
    G44's Avatar
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    Cubcrafters. Check for bent items on fuse and wing attach points. Sorry about the tough luck.

    Kurt

  3. #3

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    Dakota Cub makes wings. They quoted three months, so we just bought spars and some ribs. Their parts are superb - not 100% sure they interchange with Piper. One phone call will probably say "yes, they do."

    If you don't "do it yourself" you may be looking at $20 grand. Things are not cheap any more.

  4. #4
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Just rear spar bent?? You can replace it without recovering. Ask if you want details. Takes a day or so.


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  5. #5
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    79 PA-18 wing repair

    Some VERY IMPORTANT STEPS. ASK. But here’s pictures of how you do it. Wing is placed upside down on MANY saw horses and maybe a long 2x4”. You ONLY OPEN BOTTOM fabric. You cut bent spar in pieces and remove(2 or 3 cuts at bent area only, use cutoff wheel on die grinder, don’t MELT FABRIC WITH SPARKS/hot aluminum). Then slide new spar in from wing root. You MUST cut rib stitches AT BOTTOM OF RIB, right between rib and fabric, so you can tie them back to top of rib(tape rib with antichafe tape). You ignore bottom fabric wing stitch wise. So all in you need a spar ($400??) and a day or so. Hide the fabric repair in aileron and flap cove. Make sure to use a tube to keep fabric/paint from cracking where you have it folded back (plastic sewer pipe works great). Done many. The fabric work will take longer than replacing the spar. If you even bother painting the repair since it’s mostly out of sight if you do it right. Keep track of how many turns you loosen brace wires. Easiest to pick a number like 3 turns each. Then return them to that setting after spar is replaced...

    all simple work, you should be able to do most of it yourself, with supervision of your mechanic to sign it off.... longest part of project is getting the screws out of the rib/spars


    https://photos.app.goo.gl/yA2WPUqryeXmozU86
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/u4YmDfVKQo3N6mcN6
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/e2chC2nvUVkhJDae6


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  6. #6

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    Wow! I would never have thought of that. Not sure I would have that kind of courage. If you do that, pre-tap the rib holes. An 18" Snap-On screwdriver is not enough.

    I am impressed! Very innovative! I had to do both spars and four ribs - the rear spar was well under $400, but shipping will double the cost.

    Couldn't pull up your photos, but I believe you. Covering is time consuming - I have six hours in, and only the bottom is covered (all the reinforcements are glued, but no rib stitch marks yet).

  7. #7

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    Can be done without a lot of trouble, If riveted fabric pull the tape but takes a bit of sanding.

  8. #8
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    ..
    Couldn't pull up your photos,
    hmmmm

    anyone else see them?

    they are from my link below in the "information" album at my google photos...

  9. #9
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    2nd try posting pictures, this time as screenshots
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    you will also need to remove and reinstall bushing at wing attach/spar doubler as normal

    not a method I came up with... common repair procedure..
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  10. #10
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    I use something like this for the spar screws, no need to tap the holes

    https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-4-...P54L/205545276

  11. #11
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    and LONG phillips bits like these..

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071VWJKP6

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarly View Post
    Hi everyone. I just bought a cub, which is great. The ferry pilot ground looped it, which is not so great. The right wing got bent. It needs fairly extensive repairs. I'd love to hear any and all recommendations including repair facility in the pacific northwest that might work on it. No one in my area is doing fabric work anymore.
    Where in the Pacific Northwest are you?

  13. #13
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    The Port Townsend Aero Museum does great work.
    They're pretty busy but they might be able to slot you in.
    Better / quicker if you just bring the wing in.
    PTAM 360-379-5244
    Where are you located?
    Or beytter yet, where's the airplane?
    Hope your "ferry pilot" at least had the courtesy to ground loop it at the final destination.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  14. #14
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
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    I could do it but it would be sometime 2021 before I could get it in... have 3 other projects scheduled..

    Rag wood Refactory in Creswell OR would be a good shop.. Kyle does great work..

    Brian


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    Thank you to all who have responded and sent messages. For those of you who are curious the tail number is N82253 and is now unfortunately part of the "database" haha. After my friend had his little wild ride I arranged to fly up to Anchorage where I rented a 26 foot uhaul, drove to Tok, and then with the help of some local heroes we took her apart and I drove the Alcan back to Montana where I live. Chris, Paul and Ron saved my bacon. Without their help she'd still be in AK. She made the trip mostly unscathed. Aside from the wing and gear damage it has a few more cosmetic flaws after the trip and will need some gear work. There's no evidence of prop strike, but we'll tear it down anyway. I'm very excited to put it back together and learn as much as I can while doing so. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #16

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    I was able to see them. Awesome! Thank you!

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    I'm in Whitefish Montana
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  18. #18
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarly View Post
    Thank you to all who have responded and sent messages. For those of you who are curious the tail number is N82253 and is now unfortunately part of the "database" haha. After my friend had his little wild ride I arranged to fly up to Anchorage where I rented a 26 foot uhaul, drove to Tok, and then with the help of some local heroes we took her apart and I drove the Alcan back to Montana where I live. Chris, Paul and Ron saved my bacon. Without their help she'd still be in AK. She made the trip mostly unscathed. Aside from the wing and gear damage it has a few more cosmetic flaws after the trip and will need some gear work. There's no evidence of prop strike, but we'll tear it down anyway. I'm very excited to put it back together and learn as much as I can while doing so. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. Click image for larger version. 

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    ouch!! never mind sliding in a spar... you definitely need a wing rebuild...

    dakota cub has some good info on building wings... http://dakotacub.com/support.html might be more somewhere else on their site, seem to recall a wing building manual...

    you might check the jackscrew for being bent, since elevator hit ground...

  19. #19
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    How'd that happen? Sad deal for a ferry job on a big airport.

    Gary

  20. #20
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    How'd that happen?
    Gary
    looks like folded gear under..../shock strut bent? (was shock strut internally rusted out?, common to have water in them...)

    need picture from front laying on ground.....

  21. #21

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    I'm not sure what happened, other than loss of directional control lol. My buddy that was flying and the A&P who was with him describe him making a near stalled three point landing in a heavy direct crosswind. The guys who helped get it off the runway and who subsequently helped me take the wings off said that the normal procedure is to land on the gravel next to the runway (TOK airfield) because the runway is heavily slopped from center line to the edges of the runway, and that the tires probably greatly contributed as they are grooved and new. The right gear collapsed. After taking it apart the hydrosorb broke at the upper fitting (upper bungee fitting snapped off). The bungees are still good. The hydrosorb cover is easily repairable. The hydrosorb that is now on the airplane is a loaner from Paul at Tok and I'll send it back as soon as I weld the old one back together (to use as a place holder, not for flying, until I decide if I want to stay stock with the shocks). I just started this process and I still have the bubble wrap marks on my forehead so if I say wonky things please bear with me, and again thank you to everyone who has sent messages.

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  22. #22
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    I'm very sorry for the temporary loss and hope it gets back to normal soon. Mike's on to something and have a look at the gear for internal corrosion. I like wheel landings but eventually the tail's got to come down.

    I lived there in 1974 and flew before the runway was paved and raised. The Tok River drainage can blow North or South at times, and if from the South we'd land on the gravel parking ramp midway down the runway and cross the runway if not stopped. Or, go to the older Tok (Lodge) strip south of town that's better oriented and where I parked. Even Tanacross airport west if it's still functional. I see that paving crown in pics of the airport and wondered why it ended up like that.

    You've got our best wishes for support and a recovery.

    Gary
    Last edited by BC12D-4-85; 10-11-2019 at 07:16 PM.
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  23. #23
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    if you have a better picture of that folded up gear/tire, it would help explain the events.....

  24. #24

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    That looks just like the damage I am repairing. Pilot bounced, the aircraft lurched left. He went immediately to full power and full aft stick, and it snapped.

    Rib stitching tomorrow. Dakota Cub is your friend. If you can weld, you can easily fix and cover. Does not require more than medium talent.

  25. #25
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    I wouldn't bother doing engine unless there is visible prop damage.... waste of time & money(even if there is visible prop damage... it's a useless AD...)

    I did manage to zoom into that picture...shock strut didn't fail... gear leg just folded up... looks like legs have the beef ups at axel.... original light gear modified? or heavy duty gear?

    the gear is what cost the wing..(well... not going strait started it ...)

  26. #26

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    I won't be back home for another 10 days but I'll post a pick when I'm home. From what I remember in addition to the hydrosorb breaking at the upper bungee fitting, the main gear support tube mental bent 90 degrees with the tire rotating up (the pic shows that a little). From an engineering perspective the down force generated in the turn snapped the hydrosorb, which then could not provide any hold back force allowing the wheel assembly to act as a lever on the upper gear supports, which then bent the upper arm 90 degrees up. At some point I'll learn the names of these parts which will help haha.
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  27. #27

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    Ok, that's good to know. I can weld, but I'm definitely not better than medium talent at anything other than beer drinking.
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  28. #28
    Hardtailjohn's Avatar
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    Gnarly, I'm near Marion. Holler if I can help.
    John
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  29. #29
    AkPA/18's Avatar
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    Gnarly, your airplane has the look about it of original 1979 fabric. Just a little curious is it?
    Thanks,Mark
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    The airplane is almost 100% 1979 original and I want to keep it that way but not if safety dictates changes. I think some of the skin is newer because some of the inspection holes weren't cut yet.

  31. #31
    AkPA/18's Avatar
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    The 1979 Cubs had a problem with the dope not adhearing to the fabric. My last cub kind of looked like yours with the missing top coat. I took an air nozzle and started spraying and all the dope came off clean including the silver. Threw a coat of paint on it and it looked pretty good. That was just on the fuselage I did recover the wings and tail surfaces. I can't remember if Piper cut out all the inspection holes.
    http://thrustline.com/

    Takeoffs are optional--Landings are mandatory
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  32. #32
    AkPA/18's Avatar
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    Just a suggestion if you plan on keeping that airplane. If you find a good shop it might be worth recovering both wings if that is 40 year old fabric. Still a little bit at a time and at least you would have matching safe wings. Just a thought you always get suggestions around this joint
    Last edited by AkPA/18; 10-11-2019 at 10:05 PM.
    http://thrustline.com/

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  33. #33
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Ground loops can happen particularly when the tail finds a down slope and the CG is back a bit. They like to swing around and that Tok setup now looks like there's a crowned runway and beveled gravel fallaway edge. If the tailwheel unlocks there's not much but ride it out unless quick on the power and opposite rudder. There's no time to think about it in my experience as the world spins.

    Gary

  34. #34
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Did the metal aileron or flap get damaged? They can be hard to find. I have some flaps and might know someone with ailerons. Sorry to see this happen, always hurts.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    The flap came through ok. The aileron is a little more questionable. I haven't taken the wing apart and I'm still a newbie at knowing what's dead and what's repairable. As soon as I get home I'm going to start dissecting the wing and making some repair lists.
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  36. #36

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    Gnarly.....all things considered, you've got a great attitude about this whole ordeal. A lot of guys would throw their sucker down in the dirt. You will no doubt be successful in this endeavor and end up with a better cub in the long run.
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  37. #37

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    Thanks. I appreciate the kind words. I forgot I took this shot. It seems like this was the initial failure point.

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  38. #38

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    Maybe, but seems to me a failure of the shock strut will result in a 45 minute repair - especially if you have a spare gear leg.

    We had badly corroded shock strut fail on landing. We replaced the gear leg and shock strut and taxied to the hangar in 45 minutes flat. A thorough inspection and log book entry (really important if you work at a controlled field) and we were airborne again.

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    To be clear my personal opinion is that the ground loop came first and the gear failure second. I don’t fault my buddy (and former boss) for ground looping...there are those that have and those that will. He is also a former student, a mentor and we went through type ratings together and have flown together for over 10 years and both of us have flown for over 20 years. Neither he nor the A&P who was with him think it was gear failure prior to ground loop. I think the slopping runway and tire tread contributed greatly. I do not believe that corrosion played a role. The upper gear arm is bent but not broken. But I still have a lot to learn about cubs so I’m keeping an open mind. The piston rod inside the hydrosorb snapped. The picture doesn’t show it well. It didn’t bend which I find interesting but not significant or explanatory of the accident. I’d love to hear theories.

  40. #40

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    Seems to me I saw a metal flap or aileron in the back of Stoddards. It would be worth a call. If you have some Morebetterdisease as you fix the plane AOSS gear is one of the best bang for the buck upgrades I did for my cub.
    DENNY
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