From 2000 thru 2008, Team Rocket LP produced an estimated 175 F1 Rocket kits. Since 2016, there have been additional parts produced to support the legacy fleet and also to allow brand new F1 Rockets or F4 Raiders to be constructed.
The Rocket’s heritage traces back to designs produced by Van’s Aircraft. We believe that it is prudent to consider some of the service bulletins issued by Van’s Aircraft when maintaining your F1 Rocket or F4 Raider.
Obviously, whoever is maintaining the F1 Rocket or F4 Raider, whether it is the builder, owner, pilot, or mechanic, will need to discern which of Van’s SB’s are relevant to the specific construction of their machine.
Please note that we are NOT directing you to Van’s for information, and please do NOT ask them how to maintain your F1 Rocket or F4 Raider! We are only stating the obvious: Your F1 Rocket or F4 Raider design has VERY similar internal structures to those found in various RVs, particularly the RV-4. If a similar Van’s design has an issue, it is prudent to look closely at your own aircraft.
Should you find a problem in one of the areas discussed below, please contact Mark or Vince for guidance if you are unsure of how to proceed.
RELEVANT SERVICE BULLETINS TO CONSIDER:
(Note: Keep in mind that this list does not, and cannot, address every possibility!)
Van’s SB 16-03-28 Cracking of wing aft spar web at the inboard aileron hinge bracket attach rivets.
While our wings are slightly different, the design of this area remains very similar to the RV-4 design. Check this at every condition inspection.
Van’s SB 14-02-05 Cracks in Elevator Spar.
This one is typically caused, or exacerbated, by loose jam nuts on the rod ends. We recommend a very simple check, using your dang finger to ensure that the dang jam nuts are tightened before further flight. Then check the area at every condition inspection. We recommend inspecting the same areas on the rudder spar also.
Van’s SB 06-02-23 Safetying of standard and flop-type fuel pickup tubes.
This one is a bit more difficult to double-check, but important if you want the engine to stay running! If you didn’t build the aircraft, or simply can’t recall, it may be possible to check your builder’s logs and photos to see if you have a photo of the internal fuel tank plumbing. Check this once, repair if needed, and record the work in the aircraft logs.
Van’s SB 96-12-01 Rudder Pedal/Cable Attach.
Cotter pins can snag on your shoe and become loose on the rudder pedal bolts near your heels. If the cotter pin snags on your shoe and somehow falls out of the bolt, you can lose rudder control on the affected side. It is an easy fix to use safety wire in place of a cotter pin in this area. Other methods of compliance are discussed in the SB. Check this at every condition inspection.
Van’s SB 14-01-31 Horizontal Stabilizer Cracks.
This SB is found in the RV-6/7/8 section. The forward HS spars on several Van’s, and similar, designs can develop cracks near the spar root, particularly at the bend where the spar begins to sweep aft. This is aerodynamically a highly loaded area under certain flight conditions. It is subject to continual vibrations from the prop wash. Furthermore, it can be damaged by idiots who pick up the HS leading edge to lift the tail. Don’t ever do that. It is ALWAYS a bad idea.
This SB is IMPORTANT, particularly on the Mk 1 tail, which being the earliest Rocket tail arguably may have the most average hours accumulated. However, the Mk2 and Mk3 tails, or ANY similarly designed tails should also be inspected. All aluminum parts are subject to fatigue cracking or other damage. Inspection is cheap, easy, and recommended. Check this at every condition inspection.
Legacy SBs from Team Rocket LP, July 2003:
The SBs below were issued several years ago. Some are no longer applicable to all aircraft.
FACTORY SERVICE BULLETINS FOR THE F1
FSB 01 (MK.1 EM mod) (NOTE: We have recommended for many years to simply replace any Mk1 engine mounts still in the field. They are prone to cracking, and even breaking.)
Mk.1 EM mod:
The Mk.1 EM, shipped up through SN 080, requires the addition of gussets in certain areas of the EM. After welding these gussets in place, the MLG socket must be reamed. Max thread protrusion at the top of the socket is
11/16″. If the MLG protrude more than this max amount, the radiused shoulder at the top of the MLG must be machined to allow clearance at the upper end of the EM socket. Pictures of a properly done mod are in the Manual Update section of the TR LP website, noted as Tom Martins’ EM mods. Make sure your finished product conforms to those pictures. The finished part is re-named: Mk.1 Mod.1 EM.
FSB 02 (MK.2 EM mod) (NOTE: We have recommended for many years to simply replace any Mk1 engine mounts still in the field. They are prone to cracking, and even breaking. It is probably prudent to replace the Mk2 EM also.)
Mk.2 EM mod:
The Mk.2 was shipped with kit SN 081 thru 116. The Czech investigation of the Mk.1 EM system led to additional gusseting of the Mk.2 EM, but the socket was not sufficiently strengthened along with the frame. Accordingly, we have developed a kit to strengthen the socket and lower attach fastener fitting area. After welding the sleeves around the socket, adding additional tubular gussets, and a small triangular gusset at the lower attach fittings, the MLG sockets must be lightly reamed, with the same 11/16″ protruding thread allowed at the socket. As with the Mk.1 mod, the MLG must be machined if this max protrusion is exceeded. Pictures of this mod are also on the Manual update page. The finished product is called a Mk.2 Mod.1 EM.
This mount will be provided with new kits starting with SN 117. This mount was engineered after the shortcomings of the MK.1 and Mk.2 were noted. The MLG sockets on this mount are milled from 1 piece of stock, and the additional gusseting is applied to this part. The Indy mounts are available as replacement parts to any builder.
NOTE: Due to production tolerances, I cannot call this item a true ‘bolt-on replacement part’. You may be required to re-machine the attach holes in your firewall to fit this piece to your kit, if you have already drilled it for either the Mk.1 or Mk.2 EMs as originally supplied. If you have not yet drilled your firewall to fit an EM, fitting the Indy Mount should be no problem, and should be done as outlined in the manual. In addition, the MLG axle alignment may be affected. Axle shims are available from various suppliers to remedy this situation. Email Vince for the current alignment procedures.
FSB 03 (addition of MLG dampers)
Gear leg dampers: We have found that the installation of wooden shimmy dampers on the MLG greatly reduce the 1-rev ‘walking’ characteristic of the F1 EM/MLG system. Accordingly, we recommend all existing ships be modified to this level. Instructions and photos are in V2.25 of the assy manual, also available on the Manual Update page.
An updated option is to use fiberglass dampers per Mark’s PDF instructions. GEAR LEG SHIMMY DAMPERS – FIBERGLASS TECHNIQUE
FSB 04 (use of checklist):
Empennage attach Brackets: I think all of us have heard of Tom Creekmore’s accident. To prevent future similar occurrences, Mark added an example fastener checklist to the manual (V2.26, to be published July 03), and attached to this note. Please use a similar type checklist when inspecting the final assembly of your kit. This fastener checklist was graciously provided by Jack Gray, and somewhat revamped by me. Any user additions or corrections are welcome!
FASTENER CHECKLIST (This is an example. Make sure the one that you use matches your aircraft! You may need to add or delete items.)
FSB 05 Trim Tab SB – does not apply to Mk3 tails
There have been instances where the arm that connects the trim tab to the trim actuator have loosened. Refer to Mark’s instructions below. Check this at every condition inspection, and before each flight.
See also “Flying your F1/F4”