Flap attack!

Well, we had an alternator bracket crack earlier in the restoration process, and I blogged about that under the title “Bracket Attack.” So now, the latest unanticipated surprise–yes, another “attack”–is the right flap.

Folks, sometimes, I think that we’re conducting an aging-aircraft study.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Roy Williams of Airframe Components by Williams Inc. reported that the right flap had issues. As in, the Debonair’s right flap’s being cracked, and failing at the actuator attach point. Beechcraft Service Communique SC 313 addresses the problem, which affects the right flap more than the left for the simple reason that people step on that flap’s wingwalk. After 50 years’ worth of entering and exiting the airplane. cracks happen. Moreover, this sort of crack can’t be observed during a preflight; you have to remove the flap to see the extent of the damage.

Same thing with cracks and wear on the flap nose ribs. Here, have a look at the damage:

Wear and cracking at the actuator attach point at the flap leading edge

Wear and cracking at the actuator attach point at the flap leading edge

Cracks at the flap nose rib area

Cracks at the flap nose rib area

Bottom line, Williams came through with the fix, repaired the cracks, and re-skinned both flaps for good measure. Bravo!

Now for the “after” photos:

Repaired nose ribs got doublers to strengthen the trouble spots

Repaired nose ribs got doublers to strengthen the trouble spots (left). The right nose rib shows the cracked and missing aluminum of the original flaps

And voila--the final products--repaired, reskinned flaps on their way out the door. Looks better, no? flapsreskinned,

And voila–the final products–repaired, reskinned flaps on their way out the door. Looks better, no?

As for the rudder, some of you out there have taken us to task for its so-called non-compliance with an Airworthiness Directive (AD). Well, Roy checked the rudder, too. It’s had AD 93-2403 complied with, all right, and Aircraft Components even issued a yellow tag to the rudder, stating that compliance has been previously accomplished.

Again, thanks to Roy Williams and Aircraft Components. Their repair work is immaculate.


  • Tony BaldwinVoeks

    Thank you for the info and pictures. Please continue to post updates on this beautiful plane.

    Have a good day.


  • Tony

    Pictures are impressive

  • Tony

    great job on the repair

  • Tony

    my plane is coming together

  • Dick

    Basically, someone is getting an essentially “new” 50-year old airplane. Hope it’s me!

    • Pat Vezeau

      Sorry Dick, this baby is mine (in my dreams!)

  • Bruce Poulton

    This is why we tell all our passengers to step “over” the flap onto the wing when boarding our 1954 E35. We had to reskin the right flap due to cracks near the step. Even though the reskinned flap has doubled thickness in the area of the step, we think it’s prudent not to use it unless we have a small child or someone with limited mobility trying to board.

  • Stanley Stewart

    As Bruce mentions, savy Debonair/Bonanza pilots do not step on the flap and ask their passengers to also step over the flap and onto the wing when boarding or getting out. Steping over the flap is not difficult. This prevents the cracks found on the Sweepstakes Debonair. (I’ve owned a 1961 A33 Debonair for over 33 years, no cracks on the right flap)

  • Jase Valentine

    I do love people. Not like the mythic cannibal, who took two(with a Pepsi!), but, folks, face it:
    You are NOT being cynical by saying to yourself, “I am the PIC. I cannot rely on any common sense on the part of non-rated people – and it’s not fair to expect it of them.”
    After all, it was all you could do to get them in the aircraft to begin with, that first time, right? It’s just like the shooting sports: Your best friend checks to make sure the chamber of his new pistol IS empty before he hands it to you to inspect and see if you like it. Protocol: FIRST thing you do is look him straight in the eye, and then check that chamber again, every time, for yourself, that the rascal chamber IS unloaded, if need be, saying, “You’re a stone liar. I’m checking for myself, brother.” (Only had to do that for real, once. All other times, hey, it’s just a standing joke in our group – but we still do it.)
    So, with the Debonair, and a known problem that’s people induced – by all means, give your safety ‘briefing’ as you approach the A/C, but how about you simply:

    Lightly stencil both areas, and clearcoat them in whatever the approved fashion, just like the big boys in the Air Force and Naval aviation communities? If I’m fortunate enough to own a Debonair, and it’s not already done, I’m sure gonna. (And, point it out again, every time with a new passenger, as reinforcement . . .)

    Just seems like common sense, to me, and hope I’m not overthinking here. I was just taught by some reeeealy Old School Individuals, and the back of my head is still flat(long before Jethro Gibbs came along).

    I don’t know who Roy Williams is, but Boy, he sure do good work. Looks immaculate.