VG-21 Squadron

Maintenance Items






Recently, while landing a Varga (not ours), I found that with the control stick full back against the stop, it did not produce the normal, expected reaction. I made a perfect Fl 8 landing on a carrier! All three wheels hit at the same time, about a 2G hit, with no bounce back into the air.


Back at the hangar, a quick check of the elevator travel told the story. Elevator trailing edge up travel was limited to 9 to 10 degrees of travel. The Maintenance Manual calls for 16 up and 18 degrees down, +/- one. I question the difference between the up and down travel. The only time you would use that amount of down elevator would be at the halfway point in an aileron roll, and we all know you can't do that in a Varga. Reference Section V 5,6,5 Figure 5.3.  I was able to back off the stop screw at the rear control stick (Fig. 5.1 Torque Tube Assy) Item #12 to obtain the correct amount of elevator up travel. Subsequent test flights revealed that now elevator movement, even at stall speeds, produced rapid nose up motion as it should.


As it happens, there is a fairly large aircraft rebuild shop (insurance jobs only) at our airport and just recently they repaired a Varga that had experienced a hard landing which damaged both wings at the gear attach areas and deformed the engine mount I spent many hours looking over their shoulders as they did their repairs. We even rebuilt the landing gears and installed new seals. When the repair shop delivered the Varga to its owner, the pilot related to me that the aircraft did not want to flair so he had to jab on some power to raise the nose. I just had that owner check the elevator travel and sure enough, it is short on travel.


Would anyone care to guess what it cost this owner and the insurance com pany to fix this plane? It is my contention that this incident could have been avoided had the elevator travel been as per the aircraft specifications. This is just my "take" on the incident and I may be wrong as I did not see the landing. In closing, I would like to see everyone check their aircraft's elevator travels. Jt should be very close to equal, up and down. If it looks suspect, check it out with a protractor or a homemade template. Or give me a call if you have questions or I can help.