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May 12, 2002
Build Your Own Paper Tail With Working Rudder on Hinges
by "Mudman"
My buddy, Mudman, wrote in from north of the border:
The paper fin might serve as a rough visual model to provide us with an insight to the forces acting on the tail and rudder assemblies. Hopefully, the model along with the photographs will aid us in understanding the sequence of destruction of these parts.

From doing this I think that the first bit to go was the top of the rudder. If the rudder was hard to the left/port the stress on the top of the rudder must have been immense, as you can see once you make the model ... the top foot or so of the rudder is above the last hinge and not supported. If you examine the pictures you see that the top part of the rudder must have broken away when hard to the left as indicated by the lateral tear where the hinge is on the left side. The right side would have been in compression and the left in tension, as indicated by the longer piece of material on the left side.
If you give it a whirl ... let us know what you think.
(1) Print the instructions
(2) Print the Visual Cut Out Guide (you may need to reduce your browser's Page Setup size percentage to get the whole picture(s) to fit on one page)
(3) Print what will be your tail assembly (this is the piece you will cut out)
(4) It should look like this when you're done .... (sorry, neither U.S. Read or Mudman provide technical support )

Please jump to the U.S.Read Home Page where you will see more links to Flight 587 stories.

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