Posted by: Miguel E. Mármol G. | Mar 14, 2011

A Lesson in Composite Repair

The part of the team that is working on building the horizontal stabilizer ran into some issues. They were laying up some reinforcement plies in the joint between the aft spar and the ribs. Unfortunately since it is a corner and we did not properly apply pressure to the layups we had some large resin-dry areas and some areas where the new laminates did not properly bond. The good news is that we have an excellent group of mentors and Boeing subject-matter-experts on composite repair at the team’s disposal.

The Repairs were need on the aft spar to rib joints

We devised a repair method for the damaged areas and a new procedure for laying up the remaining plies. Some of the plies had to be removed completely due to there being large air bubbles and thus inappropriate bonding and others required injecting resin into small voids and resin-dry areas. Our mentors approved of our new process and offered up some additional suggestions for improvement.

Below is a link to a summary file that shows some before and after pictures of the areas that were repaired. The team is now in the process of bonding in the new laminates.

BCnF H Stab Layup Issues

This type of issue serves to really illustrate the value of having people with different areas of expertise working on your project.  For the average homebuilder that resource will be the EAA since in every chapter there are people with expertise in many different areas and they are sure to have run into a similar issue before. The tech counselors are also a great resource.


  1. […] spar and the inboard ribs. The issues we had bonding in some of the ribs are the subject of this earlier post. Rear spar and inboard ribs after […]

  2. […] have been some other posts about the progress we have mad in the horizontal stabilizer construction. These last few […]

  3. […] As the name suggests, Glasairs are made almost entirely of fiberglass. Therefore, much of the building process involved mixing, laying up, and sanding layers of fiberglass. Luckily, Boeing employs many people who are experts in composite design, fabrication, and repairs. They were consulted often when it was time to make key components, especially when mistakes were made. […]

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