Battens falling out of a trike wing during flight

Last updated by RizzyWizzy Comments (5)

Categories: Trike Talk

A few months ago I watched a trike crash video. It was somewhere in Russia. It was a fatal crash. 

This trike was a single person trike with a 80 hp 912 on it. In the comments, there were many opinions (guesses) as to what caused it. Some pilots were of the opinion that there was too much torque. 

One person said the cause of crash was battens falling out of the wing during take off deforming the wing causing the crash. Can this really happen? 

My current trike wing has strings to hold battens in their place. My questions is 

1) How much pressure (if any) is on these batten strings, especiallly during flight? 

2) Is Bungee string a better way vs just the regular strings becuase a bungee can stretch under pressure? 

3) Can these batten strings actually break in flight? 

4) If a batten string breaks in flight, how likely is it that a batten would slide out of the wing and fall out? 

5) If one is faced with such scenario where the batten is falling out, what is the best course of action? 




  • white eagle

    Rizzy it has happend for a few different reason . Snap tips can become worn and weak and should be checked. Improper batten tention. These things are rare and should be adressed in your preflight inspection.i have heard of a case where a tip batten came out and may have never been tentioned .the fludder caused others to fail. Pilot had a rough crash landing but was unhurt. I would not be overly worried do a good check do a good preflight.

  • Ken

    I've never heard of the string battens failing, only the snap tip type. just the same, string is a wear item as well. Inspect your strings, even if your wing is assembled all the time there can be wear. Take them off from time to time to have a look!

  • white eagle

    Ken the case iam refering to was unreported. But from what the pilot told me was the sprog after take off came out. Instead of landing the pilot keeped flying and the wing tip flutter caused the failure of more battens from the tip. The pilot tried to land but with a severe right turn resulted in a crash upon landing. The pilot was hurt but ok.None the less but something was missed in preflight.

  • Ken

    I know of another case, 1-2 battens lost due to being unclipped ... missed in preflight I think. They went into the ocean, not sure if spear fishing is legal there :). Pilot landed the airplane OK, but reported scary handling on they way down

  • Karl Evans

    Rizzy I can't comment on a scenario where the battens come out on take off. Or on the string battens breaking pressure. My recommendation on the best course of action #5 would be to fly at altitude for a while. Turning toward the landing field always in the direction of the missing battens. Slower wing. While still at altitude, test slowing to near landing stall speed. If you don't lose anymore battens and decide it is not a BRS deployment. Plan on a power on landing, somewhat above stall speed. Don't shoot for the runway centerline. Crowd the undamaged wing's side. The side missing the battens will stall first, so don't let it happen. Try to land fast, while the center of the wing still has lift. Once you clear the runway and park. Get out of the trike and kiss the ground.