Dear friends, I was very worried when last saturday during the pre flight inspection I found that the rudder had a considerable play (free movement) from left to right. I observed accuratly and I found that the aluminium profile that comes from the fuselage was broken or collapsed. I think I have to share this with you because this fail coul be fatal. I attach photos.

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The only force that I imagine that could do that is the one that comes from sliping, but I have never exceed vna.
I keep open to hear your opinions.

Looks like you may have had a bit of ground contact with the rudder perhaps - during takeoff??


yeh that angle looks like it failed under compression. the buckle in the skin under the aft break in the 2nd pic looks to confirm the compression load. like Gary says that looks like ground contact. does the bottom of the rudder have scrapes or the like? what about the bottom front of the rudder at the dorsal fin?

In the Open Forum we don't have a clue which Zenith model you have without looking up your profile  ... it would be helpful to mention the specific model.



Dear friends, First of all I apologize for starting this discussion in the wrong forum. My plane is a CH 701.

I have not hit the rudder tail in a take off maneuver, this hypothesis is discharged.

What I think is that the support of the rudder is to small and the rudder too long so the momentum force is high when sliping.

One of the guys in one of the Facebook aviation groups I'm in posted this...

Exact same problem on the 701 in the exact same spot!!!  Seems like this is becoming a dangerous trend. It failed at 600 hours on this one and according to the owner, has never been struck or stressed in any way.  It's actually on floats.  Seems like there should be some form of AD from Zen to address this before something REALLY bad happens to somebody... :(

Facebook is a video but if you can't see it, here is a shot of the damage on this 701...

As a matter of fact my plane has 550 hours

I should say that Mark photo shows the same point of weakness. The question is what causes it.
I should say that Mark photo shows the same point of weakness. The question is what causes it.

Don't know, obviously the angle can't take the stress of the rudder.  Not sure what the angle is but looks like standard aluminum "L" angle?  How thick is it? Obviously not enough.  The 750 has a custom extruded angle, pretty thick and it's rounded to boot so should take the load much better, but I'll be eyeballing mine big time now in that area!!!  Again, even though amateur builts don't really have AD's, something should be sent out by Zen to address this.  At the very least I'd be drilling out those rear angles a few feet and putting a doubler on that area!

Mark I agree 100% with you, Zen has to take actions in this situation


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