Broken Intercostal?

Ron Wanttaja

Well, crap... my airplane is busted.

First chance to fly in three weeks, between weather and the holidays. Got preflighted, put on my cold-weather togs, and climbed into the wing to mount up.

As I lifted my right leg onto the seat, I heard a "POP" from the wing, and my left foot seemed to shift a bit.

Climbed off and started poking around. The upper wing fabric seems to have come loose from the root rib. And, when I pressed down on the wing walk at a certain spot, I get a popping sound.
Best guess is that one of the intercostals (supports for the upper wing walk) has come loose from the root rib.
I've got an inspection hole in the wing-walk area under the wing, but not close enough to this area. Next step will be to cut out an inspection hole and look things over.

At a minimum, I'm pretty sure the wing will have to come off...something I've never done. Not being a builder, too, I don't have the usual set of racks and other equipment to support the wing while it's getting worked on.

Worst case...I'll have to strip the fabric off to repair. NOT looking forward to that. For one thing, matching the rest of the airplane will likely be impossible. It's done in Stits Aerothane, which requires special breathing gear (and the airport won't let me paint in the hangar anyway.

In any case, it'll probably be months before I'm flying again. I'm tempted to just load the wings up in the back of my pickup and dump them off at Drew's house in the middle of the night....

Ron Wanttaja

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