Cracking Laser Cut Holes

Cover Image for Cracking Laser Cut Holes
Matthew Runo
Matthew Runo

My RV-10 empennage kit has been delivered, but I still have the wings and fuselage kits on order. Unfortunately, my kits have all been produced during the time that Vans has been laser cutting holes in some parts - leading to tiny cracks when the holes are dimpled and riveted. There is a long thread at Vans Airforce about this issue, and now an update from Vans themselves as well.

I have booked time with Synergy up in Oregon this fall to build my empennage kit - and it has been at their facility since early this year. Since several spars will need to be replaced (rudder, stabilizer, etc) and Vans are even recommending builders stop working on this kit entirely pending replacement parts, I'm not sure that trip will take place. I'm not sure what that means for me either - Synergy is closing their Oregon shop and moving to Georgia which is much much further from me and probably not viable at all.

Synergy has probably done a lot of kit prep for me already, they take care of priming the metal for instance, so that in the build class I can concentrate on developing my skills and working on the kit rather than waiting for the paint to dry. I'm not sure if the spars get primed, but I bet (hope) they do and so this will need to be redone at a minimum. Spars are strong pieces of metal that provide the main structure of something - in this case, they very literally keep the plane in the air - so working with spars that may be cracked or could potentially crack, or even have that thought in my mind is not an option. I don't want to wonder with every bump! There may also be other parts to replace, we have to wait for the list from Vans.

I should hear more from Vans directly soon. I hope they can give me a timeline for replacements, and I hope that timeline fits in before my trip to Oregon.

My wing kits seem delayed and have not shipped yet. I'm thinking that's because they're pulling laser-cut parts from inventory and so my kit can't be shipped as it's not complete. My quickbuild fuselage has already shipped - likely with laser-cut parts in it - but Vans claims they are going to be inspecting these when they return from the quickbuild shop. We'll see, I don't want to have to replace really anything from the quickbuild kit once I get it, as the whole point of paying for that was to save time on all that metalwork.

The photo for this post is from the thread on Vans Airforce.