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Thread: PA-11 Wing Refurbishment

  1. #1

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    PA-11 Wing Refurbishment

    Hi, I'm new to this forum... or any forum at that. I am looking for a recommendation on someone who has the capabilities to refurbish PA-11 wings. Any suggestions is much appreciated. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Welcome to the best forum on aviation (not that I am biased or anything).

    There are a lot of good folks out there. It would be helpful to know a general location. If you live in California, a rebuilder in Florida might be a little too much trouble.

    Best regards

    Bill
    Very Blessed.

  3. #3

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    Thank you for the response, Bill! I am in North Idaho.

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    What do you mean by refurbishment? If you want them recovered, I have a friend in Polson who does excellent work. If that is what you want, I will send you his information via PM.

  5. #5

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    This is expensive stuff. I just did one PA11 wing - new spars and leading/trailing edges, five new ribs. A hundred hours! Granted, some of that was the pain in the butt landing light, but there you have it. Counting wing rotator, roughly two grand in materials. Mind you, that was one wing. Shop rates are $115/hr. I am not a shop, but working with one.

    Add all that up, and you are only three grand shy of a new Dakota wing through white Poly Tone. We would have bought the Dakota wing, but I finished a month ahead of their proposed schedule, and saved two grand in shipping.

    Moral of my story - learn how to do this yourself, and consider your time as a hobby. If you can't do that, it is cheaper to sell your dog eared 11 for 25, and buy a recently restored one for fifty or more.

    Um, opinion.

  6. #6
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Refurbishment can be many things. Been there - once. I suggest getting an estimate based on their current condition including ailerons from someone that has done it before several times. Then decide on a cost effective solution given your love for that PA-11 and the plane's value before and after the job.

    Gary
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  7. #7
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    PM sent.

    Hope it helps

    Bill
    Very Blessed.

  8. #8
    gbflyer's Avatar
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    Didn’t see once where the OP asked what it costs.

    If I were in that county I’d take a trip to Oregon to the Steve’s Aircraft guys. Top shelf work, and if it’s of great concern the rates are very fair.

  9. #9

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    If an owner has an unlimited budget, just call Legend Cub. They will come get it, and ferry it back. It will be like new.
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  10. #10

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    Great info! I wish there was a forum like this for my recently-acquired Corben Baby Ace.

    It's not a Super Cub, I know. So moderator - feel free to boot me out if you want, but I'm interested in refurbishment/repair of a Baby Ace wing, which may or may not have a compression crack in the spar. Any wood and fabric experts in the Tucson area who can inspect the spar, and repair the wing if necessary?

    Thanking anyone in advance!
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    Last edited by Hambone; 12-30-2019 at 06:21 PM.

  11. #11

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    Looks more like a broken rib from here. I assume it is not flying? If not, cut the fabric around that area and have a look. A compression crack in the spar is hard to see, deadly, and in this case requires a complete wing rebuild unless it is where you can splice. Take a photo after removing a 1'x1' piece of fabric, and look at that spar with a lot of light.

    If it is just the rib, we can tell you how to fix it right on this thread.
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  12. #12
    algonquin's Avatar
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    Hi Jenni, welcome to the forum. May as well jump right in here, can you put some pic’s on of the wing and what you want the final out come to be. Serviceable- show quality, also do you want to do some of the work or all or nothing. Just so you know there are tons of books and videos on the subject to help also lots of help right here.
    Hambone, I wouldn’t be flying that wing, as Bob said, wood wings are fun to work on. Make a plan, are you going to try and do the repair and recover the entire wing or just the damaged area. Take the wing off go to town.
    Ps. I used to do partial recovers. Found that it took about as long to cover half a wing as a whole wing and it looks better. Food for thought.
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  13. #13
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    Looks more like a broken rib from here. I assume it is not flying? If not, cut the fabric around that area and have a look. A compression crack in the spar is hard to see, deadly, and in this case requires a complete wing rebuild unless it is where you can splice. Take a photo after removing a 1'x1' piece of fabric, and look at that spar with a lot of light.

    If it is just the rib, we can tell you how to fix it right on this thread.
    Start eating twin stick popcyiles, the beech sticks are the best wooden rib repair material.
    I have some A65 Baby Ace time, fun cheap flying machine.

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  14. #14

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    Thanks to all for the comments! By the way, I did my tailwheel endorsement in a Super Cub before embarking on my Baby Ace journey!

    I'm going to get some more borescope photos of the area in question tomorrow before I start cutting fabric. The vertical anomaly at the bottom left of this photo of the back of the front spar is what I'm thinking may be a compression failure. I didn't see any indication of rib failure, but I'll take a better look tomorrow.

    Some have said that the issue is simply the nails holding the curved aluminum leading edge shape coming out, and that the visible line may just be varnish bubbles. You can see the gap between the spar cap and the aluminum leading edge.

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    Last edited by Hambone; 12-31-2019 at 04:19 PM.

  15. #15

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    PA-11 Wing Refurbishment

    Not a great picture, but looks like it may be a compression fracture. Did the airplane have a ground loop that caused the wing tip to hit the ground? Is this just outboard of the strut attach fitting?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  16. #16
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure I see some misalignment of the wood grain between the left and right sides of that vertical anomaly. I don't know how to confirm a compression fracture, but that sure looks suspicious to me.
    Gordon

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  17. #17

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    I'll get some better photos tomorrow. No groundloop by me, but I did have a rather firm landing in Sweetwater, TX in some strong gusty and variable crosswinds. I suppose that could set up a wing "whiplash" that could overflex the spar.

    Anyway, I'm still interested in finding a local expert in the Tucson/Phoenix area to evaluate and possibly repair it.
    Last edited by Hambone; 12-31-2019 at 04:57 PM.

  18. #18
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    Anyway, I'm still interested in finding a local expert in the Tucson/Phoenix area to evaluate and possibly repair it.
    Maybe call some local shops for referrals to wood experts??
    Gordon

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  19. #19

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    A landing hard enough to give you a compression fracture would be a memorable experience. I don't see the discontinuities that Gordon sees, but do not fly it until you sand that area and look at it with light and magnification. A compression fracture can be fatal. Spar longitudinal cracks not so much.
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  20. #20
    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    A landing hard enough to give you a compression fracture would be a memorable experience.
    Bob, you sure have a way with words at times!
    Gordon

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  21. #21
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Can you get a picture or tell us what the cap (top) of this rib looks like inside the wing? There is a protrusion just behind the leading edge which sticks up more than the other ribs. It also has the appearance that the rib cap has been broken downward. Perhaps someone's elbow leaning on it? The trailing edge of the leading edge skin appears straight with no puckers or distortions.

    The second picture is more of a mystery. I have seen factory spars which were made of spliced sections without​ any external reinforcement looking like this. Did the builder splice sections to make the spars, it's possible?
    N1PA
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  22. #22

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    I don't think compression cracks cause varnish to bubble, but on the other hand I have only seen photos. If you can get in, the Citabria Decathlon type club has photos of such cracks.

  23. #23
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    The line in that second picture with the varnish bubbles is too straight to be a fracture across the grain.
    N1PA

  24. #24
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I don't see a crack. I have seen compression cracks in Champs spars adjacent of the plywood plates at the strut attach fittings from ground contact. Have also seen longitudinal cracks that follow the grain and scratches from installing ribs that were mistaken as cracks. One owner told someone to straighten me out when I reported to the insurance adjuster that the 4 spars on his Great Lakes were not cracked but scratches. It helps to apply light at an angle and look at the shadow to help magnify the crack. In this case I would sand the bubbles varnish, clean the wood and look very closely.
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers
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