Canadian authorities have released more information into the crash that killed RV-7A builder Andy Phillips near Madoc in January.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, the plane lost its rudder and vertical stabilizer:
Ken Webster, a senior investigator with the Transportation Safety Board, said the loss of the tail would have sent Phillips’ home-built Vans RV-7A out of control.
“The aircraft experienced an in-flight separation of the vertical-stabilizer and the rudder,” Webster told the Citizen. Without these components, “it would be very difficult to control the aircraft.”
This will certainly get the attention of the RV-building community. The vertical stabilizer is attached to the horizontal stabilizer by a plate with four bolts. The rear of the stabilizer is attached to the rear bulkhead of the fuselage via its spar with four bolts and two others that attached to an angle which is,in turn, bolted to the fuselage.
Three bolts through three hinges attach the rudder to the vertical stabilizer.
Those two components should not be separating from the fuselage and this is now the mystery. How could they?
“We’ll be doing further analysis on (the stabilizer and rudder) in our lab in the next few weeks, and we’ll hopefully be able to determine the sequence of events which led up to the departure of the vertical-stabilizer and the rudder,” Webster said.