S.E.5a crash and (hopefully) repair

Important note if you are attempting this repair. The front and rear cabane pins extend from the wing at two different angles, are two different sizes, and have holes drilled at two different locations. Make sure you know which pin you’re replacing and test everything against the correct cabane strut. Do not just attempt to match the other pin on the panel.

I smashed up my SE5a pretty badly on a botched take-off.

Here she is with the top wing off, awaiting repair.

My biggest concern was with the tabs, or pins, that come down from the top wing and fit into the cabane struts. Two of these were sheered off.


I decided to try and make new pinsĀ from 3/16″ aluminum tubing. The original pinsĀ are oblong in shape and I found that, if I flattened the tubing slightly in one direction, it would just barely fit into the cabane.IMG_3023

Here’s a shot of the new, pseudo-oblong shape.IMG_3024

Here, I’m making sure it will actually fit. (It will. Barely.)IMG_3025

The next step was to drill out a hole in this panel, which holds the cabane pins to the top wing. I used a 3/16″ bit, and tried to match the angle of the remaining pin as well as I could.IMG_3026

The hole. IMG_3030

Making sure the aluminum tubing will fit the hole. I had to insert the tubing before I flattened it out, otherwise it wouldn’t go through the hole.IMG_3032

I used a hacksaw to cut a slot at the end of the tubing.IMG_3033

Next, I flattened the metal on both sides of the slot, forming a pair of flanges that will sit against the panel and (hopefully) help keep the new pins in place.IMG_3036

I’m going to run a bamboo skewer through the pin, to help keep the hollow tube from collapsing. The aluminum is epoxied in place. The bamboo is coated in Gorilla Glue and then slid into the tube. The Gorilla Glue expands to fill any empty space, and secures the bamboo in place within the tube.IMG_3039

Pin #1, setting up.IMG_3040

Pin #1, finished and trimmed.IMG_3041

Next, I slid one of my cabane struts in place and carefully drilled a 1/16″ hole through the pin to match the holes in the cabane.IMG_3047

Everything seems to fit.IMG_3048

Unfortunately, I failed to note that the two cabane pins are at different angles, with holes at different locations. I had to drill out my first attempt and build a new pin.

I got the two sheared pins rebuilt, and a test assembly seems to indicate that everything is where it ought to be. You can’t even tell which pins are originals and which are my repairs.IMG_3053


Three of my four cabane struts snapped right here, directly above the lower mounting screw.IMG_3057

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