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Spins And Aircraft Stress

Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:10 pm

Hey all,

I was doing the spin training for the CFI this afternoon (the room is still spinning btw) and during the recovery of the last spin of the day something odd happened. Here's the story:

We must have been in a very nose down attitude because we gained airspeed more quickly than we had on the others. The airspeed needle touched redline before reversing it's trend. As I was pulling out and the airspeed was on it's way down, the trusty 152 began yawing pretty hard to the left. I immediately corrected with right rudder. I didn't think anything else of it after completing the recovery.

On the way back to the airport however, I noticed that I was holding in a fair amount of right rudder to keep the ball centered. It was then that I remembered what had happened during the recovery from the last spin. I mentioned this to my instructor and he took a look behind us just to be sure the vertical stabilizer was still attached (it was). Big grin Anyway, neither of us were very alarmed by this because the airplane was flying just fine other than needing extra right rudder. Plus we were a few minutes away from touching down.

After shutting down, the first thing I did was go take a look at the tail. To my surprise I found the trim tab was bent in the wrong direction.

Maybe I overlooked it during the preflight, but I don't remember seeing like that and the plane flew out to the practice area with no problems. Only when flying back did I need the extra right rudder.

So my question is this (yes, finally. Sorry to ramble on). Could the stress on the tail during a spin or recovery be enough to bend the rudder trim tab? I would think not. But, I guess at redline...Anything's possible.

Thanks in advance to all who respond.

[Edited 2004-04-17 05:12:16]

[Edited 2004-04-17 05:13:57]
Right rudder....Right rudder...Come on, more right rudder....Right rudder......Aw forget it, I quit!!
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RE: Spins And Aircraft Stress

Sat Apr 17, 2004 12:41 pm

I dont think a spin, even reaching the redline would produce enough stress to bend only the trim tab. I think there would have been other visible damage to the airframe as well, but then again, I dont know how well the tabs are constructed.
Life is better when you surf.
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RE: Spins And Aircraft Stress

Sat Apr 17, 2004 2:15 pm

1st lesson of commercial flying.

All Malfunctions happen on the return leg!

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Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 5:59 am

RE: Spins And Aircraft Stress

Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:03 am

You are obviously concerned, therefore make sure it is written up so the maintenance guys look at it. There may be hidden damage to the rudder or empennage. Just remember an a/c that has been overstressed usually kills the next guy that flies it not the one that stressed it......

Silly Pilot, Tricks are for kids.......
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RE: Spins And Aircraft Stress

Sun Apr 18, 2004 12:24 am

Somehow that one spin became actually a spiral dive...in a spin, airspeed stays near stall speed and does not increase, even though you are plummeting towards the ground. Only when you stop rotation and break the stall does the airspeed start increasing rapidly, which is why you must recover so smoothly.
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RE: Spins And Aircraft Stress

Sun Apr 18, 2004 9:14 pm

Good points. Write it up and have it looked at if the responses are something else than you'd expect.

I would have done one more thing before landing. I would have slowed down while still at altitude, all the way to my planned touchdown speed, just to make sure I wasn't in for a surprise on short final. Made a fictive approach to a runway a good distance above ground, so to speak.

I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.

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