February 6, 2014 - In the past week, Van's Aircraft issued two Service Bulletins regarding potential cracking issues for select models in their product line. On Friday, SB14-01-31 was issued for all owners of RV-6/6A, 7/7A, and 8/8A aircraft - flying or under construction - to check for cracking near the bend in horizontal stabilizer front spar. On February 3, SB14-02-03 was issued for owners of all flying RV-3, 4, 6/6A, 7/7A, 8/8A aircraft to inspect for cracking in elevator spar web near elevator attach points.
14-01-31: According to Van's, cracks in the forward spar of the horizontal stabilizer have been found emanating from the stress relief notch at the inboard end of the spar flanges. Owners of RV-6/6A, 7/7A, and 8/8A aircraft should conduct an inspection before further flight and at each annual condition inspection until such time that the SB has been complied with in its entirety.
If no cracks are detected on the initial inspection, no immediate action is necessary, but the SB then recommends repeat this inspection at each subsequent annual condition inspection until such time that the SB has been complied with in its entirety. The SB includes the complete, illustrated method of compliance.
14-02-03: Van's states that cracks have been found near the rivets attaching the nutplates that hold the elevator rod ends to the E-702 spar and E-610PP or E-611PP spar reinforcement plates. Owners of RV-3, 4, 6/6A, 7/7A, 8/8A should conduct inspections before further flight. If cracks are detected, the E-00001A and E-00001B hinge doubler repair must be installed at the cracked hinge position before further flight. If no cracks are found, re-inspect at every annual condition inspection or until E-00001A or E-00001B hinge doubler repair has been installed.
Van's further explained in a follow-up letter that 14-02-03 supersedes the service bulletin 14-02-13 issued last year to make compliance a bit easier, less costly, and less time consuming.