Mike....Please consider changing out that spindle. Back in the archives here in the RAF section...2005?? is my story. I will abreviate it here.
I was building my RAF and received a phone call from a guy in Wisconsin advising me to put the upgraded spindle in so that I would not repeat what happened to him. His broke and he flipped his RAF over costing him $20,000...but not hurting himself. I took his advise...er...um...half way. I immediately bought one and then let it sit on my shelf procastinating irs changeout.
My dad and I were going for a flight in my RAF. He was 84 at the time.
I was prerotating and ready to turn onto 18. As I was turning...I felt something weird with my pedals.....you know how machines talk to you sometimes...I was now going down 18 and moved my pedals...well...the rudder was working fine but my front spindle was broken and just barely stuck together. I assumed what I had felt must have been a sidewing gust. I was just about to lift off when mt front spindle completely broke and I was looking down at the nose of my RAF grinding to a halt my forward speed. I remember holding backstick keeping the front of my rotor disc from hitting the runway. The gyro was stopped and I asked dad if he was ok as my rotor was still spinning with my constant applied backstick. Dad said he was fine but why was I smiling and so happy? I replied...because you are ok. .and I still have a gyro to fly!.
We were able to tow it back to my hanger....where I went and put that new spindle in....only took 3 hours as I was flying again that afternoon....I was scolding myself for not doing it earlier....but also patting myself on the back for saving dad, and myself from injury....and only scuffing the paint on the bottom of my RAF cabin.
The old spindle has a hole drilled through the spindle where it shouldnt be....and several have busted right at that drilled hole. Few RAF pilots have changed out this spindle....and this could happen somehow, somewhere, sometime.
I no longer fly but fly vicariously through all you guys and gals....and I dont want to get hurt on my vicarious ride alongs!