Cost of replacement wingtip

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TomJ
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Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby TomJ » Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:20 pm

Last weekend I scraped and damaged my right wingtip at Renton (KRNT). After landing I found that most of the transient parking spots were occupied by new Boeing 737 airplanes in final assembly and that the only four remaining spots were already occupied. I then taxied to the Rainier Aviation tie down area. As I turned in, my attention was overly focused on looking for an empty spot and the right wingtip hit a metal conduit which was attached to a truck size container.

I’ve attached a picture of the damaged area.

I took the airplane to ACE Aviation at this airport, feeling a bit sick about what had just happened. It turned out that the strobe/NAV LED cover was cracked as well. I asked if they thought the aircraft was flyable (with duct tape over the damage) - they said it was my decision as PIC but they wouldn’t recommend it.

This was on Friday before Memorial Day weekend. We discussed repair and replacement options - since ACE Aviation is not a Diamond Service Center they didn’t have all the relevant information to allow me to decide on a definite plan. My family and I flew back to San Jose commercially.

It has taken all of the past week for ACE aviation to get quotes for a replacement wingtip from Diamond Service Center and they are still waiting for a quote on a replacement LED. A replacement wingtip is apparently $1722, and an additional $360 for painting. To repair the wingtip based on instructions from Diamond support, their estimate is $4620! ($4200 for labor +$420 for composite repair consumables).

D.A.N. brethren, does this seem reasonable? My impression from other threads on this board was that fiberglass and composite repair was relatively easy. And does the $360 painting charge make sense? I would think the replacement wingtip would already be painted with the final finish.

I’d appreciate any opinions or advice. Of course I plan to quiz ACE and talk with Diamond support as well tomorrow (I received the quote after close of business last Friday). Incidentally, I did talk with Diamond support at the start of this process a week ago and fully endorse the comments on the other recent thread about their helpfulness.

Thanks,
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Rich
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby Rich » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:14 pm

The painting cost seems OK. I had my wingtip painted a few years back and was charged $400. It was similar but I think more limited damage that was more easily repaired. (It's a bit hard to tell from your picture how deep the damage goes.) This was also in the Seattle area, BTW.
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby Colin » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:44 pm

I would probe that damage with my fingers. If the skin structure was still sound, I would have no problem flying the plane. I'd probably call Sean Quinn (971) 322-9771 to come take a look. He's handled a LOT of Diamond aircraft and I think he might actually be at that shop now.

You need the strobe to be working. A cracked lens wouldn't worry me, either. As long as it lit up on pre-flight I'd fly it home to the Bay area and worry about the cosmetic replacement down there.

I'm going to go out on a limb (wing?) and suggest that the wingtip is not a critical flight surface or control surface. I wouldn't want to pull it OFF and try flying around with just one of them, but it's a little different from bumping, say, the tail into something and seeing that damage on the elevator.
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby Antoine » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:07 pm

Tom sorry to hear your story.
I support Colin's judgement, but it would be better if you showed some more pics.

The wingtip is easily removed, so you can look at possible damage to the wing itself, specifically at the winglet to wing interface. If there is damage there I would not fly, but it is unlikely given the minimal visible damage on the pic you posted.
Be careful with the cabling and lightning protection fittings. 2 man job.

This will also allow a better visual assessment of the damage from the inside of the winglet.

You can also use a coin to tap the composite and assess how much delamination (if any) is present.
If the area is small, duct tape it and fly home. The pic you posted shows very little damage and it is at the very tip, so the structure is not likely to be compromised in a way that would affect strength.

The quote for composite repair does not make sense to me. This has to be 1 day of labor and a couple hundred $ of composite stuff.
If you intend to sell the plane in the foreseeable future, I would buy a new wingtip because that's what you will end up paying for at sale time. If not, I would bring the part to a a fiberglass specialist (vs bringing the plane) and asking for a quote with the part in hand.
Good luck and don't get too upset. This is the aviation equivalent of a fender bender.
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby Rich » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:14 pm

FWIW, the damage to my wing from a birdstrike was worse than the damage to your wingtip and we got a ferry permit to have it flown to Nevada for repair. The cracked leading edge was covered with speed tape (not duct tape, for heaven's sake). Avemco paid for the ferrying cost AND my cost to fly down and pick it up.

Part 43 guidance on composite repair when the structure is considerably damaged is pretty involved. Plus the damage here is right on the leading edge curvature and it has to be preserved.

My advice: New wingtip, paint it, replace LEDs, and let insurance pay for it, minus deductible. I've had two claims on my DA40 in the distant past and there have been no long-lasting impacts to premiums.
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby TomJ » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:19 pm

Thank you, Rich, Colin and Antoine. The skin structure is clearly penetrated and hence not sound by that criterion. But I also felt - as in your last paragraph - that a tape covering would be adequate to fly it back.

Colin - Sean Quinn is in fact the A&P working on my airplane and your endorsement of him gives me confidence that I'm doing the right thing by letting them do the repairs.

Rich - my question about the painting cost was actually - why does a replacement wingtip have to be painted at all - does it not come already painted? I guess not, but will find out.

Thanks again. It's so nice to be on this forum.
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby Rich » Sun Jun 03, 2018 10:21 pm

TomJ wrote:Rich - my question about the painting cost was actually - why does a replacement wingtip have to be painted at all - does it not come already painted? I guess not, but will find out.

That's a darn good question.
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby Don » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:05 am

The final factory coat of paint is a very durable LP finish. (Linear polyurethane). Also, not sure what year your DA 40 is but be advised the factory has varied different shades of white over the past years.
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby TomJ » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:21 am

Good to know, Don. That probably explains the necessity for in-field paint. Mine is a 2008. I'll check that I'm getting the right finish.
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Re: Cost of replacement wingtip

Postby Karl » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:24 am

Easily repaired by anyone with composite experience.
Better if aviation related person as they are more aware of the strength and weight issues.

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