I was very excited about this Piper Cub that was recently added to my fleet and even more so, to start that beautiful O.S. 120 FS (Fourstroke) engine. While I was busy taking everything outside, my dogs got curious about this strange yellow over-sized bird just standing in the backyard while I was getting my stuff ready. With their curiosity aroused, they started moving closer to the plane. At this point, they were almost right against the side of the airframe, so, before I started the engine I chased them away so that one of them don’t get injured by the swinging propeller, and one of them tried to jump over the horizontal stabilizer and she miss-judged her aim so, she jumped right on top of it instead. This caused the left side of the horizontal stab to break off completely. I don’t know if she felt guilty about the whole ordeal or if she just wasn’t phased at all, what do you guys think?
It was the first time I had to fix a part like this on a plane and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I searched a bit on the internet for some ideas but, couldn’t find much on the subject so, I decided to wing it, excuse the pun. I bought a 2mm dowel stick and a friend suggested to get some triangle balsa so, I did.
First, I cut away some of the covering around the damaged parts then, I proceeded to drill two 2mm holes in both, the airframe where the stabilizer connects and in the broken-off part of the stabilizer itself. After that, I plugged in the dowels, slid on the horizontal stabilizer and checked if everything was level with a water level meter.
Once I was happy with the fit and level, I used Epoxy to glue the dowels in place. After leaving it for about 40 minutes, I glued the horizontal stabilizer in place and left it to cure overnight.
The next day I must have gotten too excited because I completely forgot the document the rest of the process. Anyway, everything looked good and the glued pieces felt strong. I cut some triangle balsa to the length of the horizontal stabilizer from front to back and glued one piece of triangle balsa on the top and one piece at the bottom of the horizontal stabilizer where it connects with the airframe for extra support. At this point, most of the fixing was done so, I sanded everything smooth and covered the damaged parts with some Cub yellow covering film.
Now it was time to test my newly repaired horizontal stabilizer. I was a bit anxious about flying the plane because of the force the stabilizer has to be able to withstand during a flight but, I gathered the guts to take it for its first flight and she flew great, no issues at all and the horizontal stab is still holding very well.