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Visitor 1824

   Sample 2 inspection report

(Note, some details have been changed in this sample so this should not be considered a report on any particular actual aircraft. However, the scope and number of issues are absolutely typical of the inspection results.)

Sample inspection report

This aircraft was inspection on July 1st for (client).

Overall, N???? presents as a good looking '74 Cardinal RG, with nice looking paint, a well assembled, clean and tasteful interior using high grade and good wearing materials, and a nicely executed metal panel with a Garmin 430 as the keystone radio.

The report below will address the issues found with the airplane in the noted categories.

This is a nearly 40 year old airplane so many of these issues are quite normal and are presented as information for ownership, rather than concerns or dealbreakers. The purpose of the inspection is to find these things, please read the notes in each area to understand the implications of each item.

Listing of issues:

Airworthiness Issues:
  • Prop Line Clamp Rubber Wrap
  • Spinner Backplate unairworthy repair
  • Duct tape holding fuel vents
  • Flap Follower cable is bad
  • Wing tip fuel vents missing clamps: replace clamp, add secondary restraint
  • Magneto AD not complied with, miss and hard hot start
  • Questionable: Spinner dents and extra mounting holes
  • Questionable: Spinner prop gap filler not proper size, type, mounting
  • Questionable: Old belly repairs should be reviewed by a sheet metal shop before purchase
Issues to be dealt with before purchase:
  • Battery box lid broken, poor repair
  • Bird residue in stabilator
  • Headlight wires are hard wired
  • Belly skin under battery box in bad shape, needs immediate cleaning
  • Missing screws under stab leading edge
  • Re-align tailcone to stop rubbing
  • Tighten the tach drive cable
Value impacting issues:
  • Hail damage over wings, stabilator
  • Belly repairs are questionable at front seams and will lower resale value
  • Some belly panels pushed in slightly (but airframs is not twisted)
  • Several patches in skin under belly, right wing
  • Rudder and Stab have compression wrinkles (hangar rash or slightly worse)
  • Color accents are vinyl, not paint, and not all in great shape
  • Hydraulic fluid leak under pilot carpet: brake or gear leak? Source unknown
  • Gear legs are leaking, need brake line O ring replacement
Maintenance items to address soon
  • Belly vent nearly plugged with debris
  • Gear leg leaks
  • Left nose gear door loose, rigged poorly
  • Nose gear door bumpers missing
  • Nose gear uplock bumper pad broken
  • Check nose gear rigging to confirm roller clearance (was flipped)
  • Replace rivet by right door
  • Replace loose rivet in belly under pilot feet
Maintenance items for later
  • Seal up baffle leaks
  • Clean up inside of cowl: paint, add aluminum tape to protect surface
  • Watch item: wheel wells (cracked)
  • Watch item: #4 top ignition lead (listen for radio pops)
  • Replace door seals with proper type (although they are not currently very noisy.)
  • Consider a plexiglass restoration process for co-pilot window.
  • Seat rails are 80% gone, expect to replace in 3-5 years with normal wear.
  • Note: there are no hubcaps on the airplane.
  • Expect to overhaul the shimmy dampner in 2-4 years, (one drip of oil hanging)
Items of interest: see pictures below.

It should be noted that there were a large number of items on this airplane which were in good condition and properly maintained. Main gear rod end, engine control cables, windows were nice, interior and paint in good condition, no signs of corrosion in wings, spar carrythough was well treated, scat tubing in headliner and so on. My checklist has over 250 items and most were in good shape. Click on any of the below images to bring up a larger version of the picture.

Airworthiness Concerns
The silver tube across the middle of the picture is the prop governor line. In the middle is the clamp which properly holds it. However it is missing a rubber spacer between the clamp and the tube. This is required per AD.
The hose was an AD to begin with, and a later AD said remember to keep the clamp and rubber in place. John said he will add this detail in the next day or two.
This is the prop spinner backplate. Note the continuous weld around the circumference, just where a groove would be created by a too-long screw. It looks like it was repaired with these two long welds. Generally the FAA says not to weld a spinner or backplate, although there is a shop in Atlanta which is said to have an FAA approved procedure. I saw no indication in the logs that this was repaired by that shop.

I asked Bob Russell about this and he indicated that this is not an airworthy repair.
Note the extra holes in the spinner. I'm not sure if most mechanics will accept that or not. John said it had been discussed with both of the mechanics he has used and it was decided in both cases that leaving the holes was probably best. Its worth checking with the mechanic you will use to see if this will be an issue.
Also note that there is a sort of dent along the edge... looks like the spinner may have dropped off the bench at some point and gotten a serious bend. It has been bent back but is never quite the same.
Another view of the welds. The best solution would be a new backing plate, but they are very difficult to locate.

Also note that the gap filler behind the prop is not the normal one, and rather than being held on by rivets it is captured by the two end screws which hold on the spinner. This is non-typical and may create a stress point for later cracking, although at the current time no cracks were noted.
Also note a couple of dents further out on the spinner. There is a small chance it could be pressed out but most likely will always be slightly off. The alternative is a fresh spinner from TCB composites, they are about $500. This picture also shows some wear on the lower cowl where it has rubbed the prop spinner in the past.
Closer look at the extra holes
The wingtips were replaced with Fiberglas (most likely Stene) and the clamps which hold the vent lines were never installed. As a result the vent lines tend to spring into an interference with the ailerons. Currently they are prevented from doing so by duct tape.
The solution is three fold: remove the tips and bend the pipes so they try to jump out rather than in, replace the adel clamps and add a bracket to back up the adel clamp.

The left wingtip had the same problem.


The Flap Follower cable is missing its outer sheath, which limits the ability of the flaps to move to a set location repeatably. The outer sheath is no longer a set length, so you'll get different flap settings each time they move. This is a $6-700 part and requires several hours of labor to install.

Also in this category:

Magneto: There is no sign in the logs (that I could find) of the magnetos being overhauled since the engine was overhauled. There is a 500 hour AD which should have been complied with.

During runup there was some roughness, and when we did a hot start it was quite difficult to start: both of these could be a result of magneto issues which would be addressed in an overhaul.


Address or Consider before buying
This is a boroscope view inside the stabilator. There were a few remnants of a bird nest, just a few straws which should be removed, and the holes covered by aluminum tape. There was no indication that birds had seriously moved into the stab, with the resulting droppings, mess and potential corrosion.
A few more pictures of the sticks and the area around them.
This is a fairly normal looking image of the inside of the stab, toward the front. It should have another shot of ACF 50 or Corrosion X to freeze this surface conversion. Alumumiclad starts to look like this after water has condensed on it a few times, and its good to have a protective coating on it to avoid further conversion.

I'm frankly not sure how this stick got in there... must be some pretty healthy birds, but its also a little hard to know how close you are to things, and it may be a smaller stick than it appears.

The tailcone was installed slightly crooked such that the trim tab slightly rubs during it's travel. Loosen the screws and center it up.
This is a bit hard to picture, but it shows the nose gear uplock roller actuating arm in the wrong position. It should be downward facing so the roller can engage it as the nose gear swings up. Already fixed.
The headlights were hard wired, with no connector allowing the removal of the lower cowl. I talked to John about several options for improving this situation. You really should have the capability to remove the cowl without having to crimp and heat shrink your headlight wires back together afterward.
Battery box lid is broken, repair was attempted but it didn't work out very well. The root problem was probably the installation of a Concord RG battery, which doesn't quite fit the stock battery box. I'd suggest finding a salvage lid and trying to avoid modifying it.
The area under the battery box is in pretty bad shape. This will clean up but that should be done soon. Soda water and a paint brush will do a lot, plus cleaning up the resulting residue. Once it's fully clean I'd suggest some paint and another dose of soda water to keep future spills at bay.
Same location, different angle and lighting.
The screw behind the stab, which should be a flat head screw, was missing on both sides of the airplane.
Another view of the battery box.
Research these belly skin repairs
The belly has been fixed more than once, although the last repair was said to be more than 20 years ago. As such there is reason to expect that it will probably hold together. But some of the fit and workmanship bring a few questions. These images will show the various belly repairs from various angles to help a mechanic get a better read on the potential solutions.

My recommendation is that you show these pictures to a good sheet metal shop, and perhaps the mechanic you will be asking to work on this airplane, to get their early read on how much of an issue they see here. It is far from perfect, but has been signed off and flying for 20 years, so your considerations should be toward continued signoff, safety and resale value.
Looking back toward the tail, a pretty healthy patch on the bottom between the gear tunnels. This one seemed quite well made and installed.
Missing rivet head , I think on the joint under the pilot's seat
Bit of a bulge under the pilot's seat.
Looking forward from mid-door opening, you can see the poor fit between skins
Same joint, other side. These just didn't seem to fit very well and as you see one rivet wasn't seated when it was bucked. It is well attached to the top skin, but not tight on the bottom.
A shallower angle, you can see the bulge at the joint.
left front lower skin, beside the nose gear doors, all pulled rivets
A series of shots inside the belly, attempts to get different angles and lighting. All are of the same location.
Lots of metal filings under the floorboards.
rich_belly_15.jpg rich_belly_16.jpg
The Dings and Patches tour

There are a number of cosmetic details on this airplane, some subtle and others more obvious. They appear to have existed before the paint, so have been there a while. Many people won't notice many of these, but the owner will eventually.

This shows hail damage on the stab.

Someone backed into a corner. This could probably be straightened a little, as you can get a flat in behind the skin by taking off the tip. But not a very large flat.
A few dents on top of the stab trim tab.
The left side stab trim tab had these pulled rivets of various sizes.
My son Mike is using the reflection of the wall here to show some of the undulations and dents. About half of these pictures were taken by Mike.
A patch on the tailcone. It's a tricky location, but not the best work.
The airplane was painted white with stripes added in vinyl. Not all the vinyl is in a happy state, as you can see on this shot looking up at the rudder. On one hand the vinyl can be pulled off and replaced, on the down side parts of it may need to be.
A small patch on the bottom of the rear part of the fuselage, about where the market beacon mount might be. Most likely during one gear-up landing that antenna was pushed up into the belly and repaired with this patch.
Another belly patch, toward the back. Some of these actually looked pretty good.
Note that the left nose gear door is all pulled rivets.
Rear view of the nose gear door. The hinges were good, brand new link to the nose gear strut, but there were these two little holes in the door.. no idea why.
Looks to me like the airplane slipped off the jack at least once, this patch is under the right wing. The three rusty bolts are the jack pad mounting bolts.
I forget where this dent was... I want to say the spinner but that doesn't seem quite right.
This is at an odd angle, this is the pilots's door, a slight wrinkle behind the hinge attach point. The airplane currently has Door Stewards so it should not be bending any more doors.
Hail damage
Another shot of the stab, as you can see the hail damage is not always very visible.
A few little wrinkles on the top of the right stabilator.
Another try at seeing the hail damage. Its there, but you have to look to see it.
Hail impact on the wing
and more wing view. Just a few dents here and there.
And again on the wing. Most of these are rivets of course, but a few are hail.
Several pictures here to try to show the little tweak in the rudder, right at the back.
And another shot of the tailcone repair
Address Soon
The belly vent scoop is there, but the vent is nearly clogged.
Signs that the gear legs may be starting to leak a little brake (hydraulic) fluid.
There are O rings inside the leg which probably need to be replaced. Perhaps 4-5 hours labor for a Cardinal knowledgeable shop, once it's up on the jacks.
The gear doors were not rigged the same. The left one is quite loose, may need a new fitting.
Gear door actuator pad needs some attention. Its just teflon, not an expensive thing. Just need to locate some teflon material like this and build a fresh one.
Here's the fitting for the gear door actuator, in the full up position.
If you have a keen eye you may see the amount of play in this fitting. That's part of why the doors are not rigged the same.
Missing the nose gear door bumper
on both sides.
Interestingly, the break lines coming up from the floor behind the pilot's rudder pedals were not uniform, seems like one is pretty badly bent. There is also a great deal of break fluid on the floorboards under the carpet under the pilot's feet. There was talk of a possible problem with the break master cylinder, but I wonder if this hose or fitting may be leaking. I wiped it down before this picture, it was quite dirty.
Nose gear uplock bumper is broken, a very common thing.
Note the drip of red fluid on the shimmy dampener. It didn't shimmy in the test flight, but there are signs that it may be leaking just a bit.
Address eventually (3-5 years)
The wheel well inserts were a little beat up, strange because the logs said these had been replaced.
Other side also cracked.
The baffling crack in front of the air box leaves some room for improvement before the engine cooling is all it could be.
Baffle seals are in good shape, although showing some wear.
This edge is cutting into the cowl... should have a layer of aluminum tape between to help reduce wear on the cowl. The fabric in the silicon creates almost a sawtooth effect.
Here's a rather substantial gap in the baffle seals, letting out a lot of air
and this seal should have a split to allow the seal to run up flush against the top of the cowl, straddling the cowl stiffener.
Foam on the copilot door to help seal the door from air leaks. This is a fairly common but not ideal solution to a leak problem. The clue we should take from this is that the door does not seal well, resulting in air leaks and noise. You should expect to be replacing seals soon for this reason. The weatherstrip shown may reduce the problem for a while but it will not wear well.
A missing rivet, several pulled rivets in this area.
One bad spark plug wire, otherwise these looked pretty good.
A shot of the door seal...
rich_l_12.jpgHere you can see a little closer that the seals are starting to deteriorate around the corners. These were put on just a couple of years ago, so this is a sign of poor materials. rich_l_13.jpg
The seals are also put on wrong
and, looking past the blur, you may be able to see that the door seals are the wrong type of seal. This contributes to the poor seal of the co-pilot door.
General Information
twigs in the stab. Kind of big twigs perhaps! Hard to get the proper scale when using a magnafying camera without reference.
This is the cable which runs the stabilator in pitch. It looks bad in this picture, but I could not be sure this was an actual broken strand, so I grabbed a rag and wiped it down.
This is the same cable after wiping. Looks like it's OK, must have just been some grease roping out of the cable.
More from the cable, partly cleaned
and then better cleaned. In the end it seems ok, does not catch any threads in the rag.
It has the proper main gear rod end. This also provides some idea of scale for the bird next pictures in the Stab.
The stabilator has the nice abrasion leading edge cover on it.
Nice graphic on the tail, a vinyl application as indicated earlier.
Here is the home made gear leg bumper, up in the gear leg tunnel. It seemed to be working, but is a bit unusual.
The other side was stock, this is what it is supposed to look like.
Mike observed that the nose gear strut had a little paint pealing problem.
This went with the 'uplock roller actuator in wrong position' concept. The roller is looking pretty good but has some wear.
Engine block heater installed. Lots of sealer... its unclear whether these are aviation rated or tractor heaters.
Nice new book cowling seal all the way around.
Top view, I think, of a non-standard ground strap between engine and engine mount. More pictures to come of this.
Lots of safety wire on the governor control arm... it seems to be working but showed that the mechanic is not very familiar with Cardinals.
A better picture of the unusual ground strap. It's most important that there is one, so that's good!
Ground strap again...
These three rivets were loose, it made the cylinder baffle spring under the cylinders also loose.
Seems like a very old ELT, but it had a fresh battery.
Right side window, Co-pilot window, had a scuff mark, probably from a cover buzzing in the wind. Its possible this might be able to be buffed out. It wasn't a factor for me in flight, and I was in the co-pilot seat.
A look inside the cowl. It had some build-up of fiberglas or some other form of bonding material, and showed quite a bit of wear from baffle seal movement. Should have some aluminum tape on it to protect it.
Cylinders are pretty clean, some paint off the case. There were signs that a mechanic had been scratching off paint flakes, perhaps to be sure there were no cracks underneath.
General look at the engine. A few holes to fill to improve cooling. KRN air filter.
Here's a close-up of those pulled rivets in the stabilator trim tab.
... and the normal rivets on the other side for comparison.
The gap between the nose bowl and cowl sides had been filled before painting. It still looks pretty good, but might be expected to crack over time.
Note wrinkles in front of rudder. This was backed into a hangar wall at some point, and the cap was probably replaced. It was not a deep wrinkle, but that surface is not quite true any longer.
Some dirt in the tailcone, not too bad.
Here's a look inside the cylinder, valve and seat look good. Contact point is about right for a mid-time engine. Some signs of carbon going through the seat, that's normal.
The other valve, also looking good. No hot spots or anything. I was able to look for cracks in the usual places, no issues found.
And a close-up of the deposits. The cross-hatch looked good, cylinders were not too wet and the piston top had a little crud but not too much. It's good to see this higher compression engine was not detonating, which will shake all the carbon out of a cylinder.
As a final note, when the interior was redone the air vents were replaced. However the least expensive type of vent was used, these don't rotate but have a little flapper inside them which can be flipped to control the air.