Buccaneer XA amphibious ultralight aircraft - Troubleshooting Report  

Venerable Quicksilver MX ultralight aircraft
​Some time ago I did a report on trouble shooting the Quicksilver MX, one of the safest, most inexpensive fun flying machines available on the ultralight market. The purpose of the report was not to knock the venerable MX but rather to let owners and prospective buyers know about some of the problems associated with the craft as it aged, or if it was used in a training environment.

Another aircraft that has been around almost as long as the MX, is the Buccaneer Amphibian XA. (Not to be confused with the Buccaneer SX). As a writer you have to be very careful that your writing does not upset the delicate balance, between aircraft purchaser and manufacturer.

In the case of the MX, the factory was no longer in business thus the MX was no longer being built, so when the story came out, the manufacturer could not be adversely effected by it.

Since the Buccaneer XA, was replaced by the newer Buccaneer SX model, and the builder Advanced Aviation is no longer in business, I do not feel that anyone can be hurt by the following report. 

Now these problems will not show up in all aircraft as updates to the XA were an ongoing thing. But many early kits were sold to dealers who later went broke. Some of these kits are just now entering the market. In the case of resale aircraft, there is no way of getting update information to the new owner, unless he or she has been in contact with the someone who owns an XA.


troubleshooting the buccaneer xA wing

Troubleshooting The Buccaneer XA Wing

One of the first reported problems with the first group of Buccaneer XA's off the assembly line was in the wing. After less than six hours of flying in Canada, the trailing edge on the wing bent up 18", about 30 inches out from the root.

This failure happened in rough conditions, but in conditions that I would not be afraid to fly a Quicksilver MX in. After the failure was reported, Highcraft Aeromarine, the original manufacturer, immediately sent a notification to all owners. A retrofit kit was developed which put an inner sleeve in the effected area.

​Unfortunately when owners went to install the sleeve it was found that their trailing edges were bent enough that the sleeve could not be put in place. Highcraft then redesigned the trailing edge going to 1 1/2 inch tubing rather than 1 1/4". They also upgraded the size of the compression struts at this time. With the introduction of ailerons this went to 1 3/4" in on inner sleeve out past the first set of wires.

The next problem with the wing was with the stainless steel channel brackets used to attach the wing to the root tube. After landing several pilots complained about loose flying wires. It was discovered that the channel brackets had bent back, in some cases over an inch. The factory updated to new aluminium bracket. These brackets were also found on the tail section on the horizontal stabilizer and rudder. This area was also updated to the new aluminium brackets.

The Buccaneer XA amphibous ultralight Aircraft Video.

Another problem found during assembly of the wing kit was that the two cross brace wires running in an X pattern from the leading to trailing edge were not tight. In some cases the remedy was to turn one end of the wires counter clockwise until the slack was taken up. In other cases the wires had to be redone.

Other changes or updates to the wing included, shortening of the wing tip, the addition of ailerons, to replace the spoilerons, (which requires a new wing update kit, and the wing fabric had to be sent back to the factory to be resown) and the installation of lower battens in wing. The addition of the lower battens, strengthened the wing and increased the aileron effectiveness.

Buccaneer XA wing update

Another update effecting the wing was the replacement of the flying wire shackles. In addition to the replacement of the shackle, a spacer was added, which fits between the two shackle ends. Pilots have reported bending of the shackles, the spacer prevents this. The new shackle is considerably stronger than the older type.

Many pilots have reported that the duck bills located at the end of the battens have broken off. This does not present a safety hazard if the broken batten tip is replaced. If not replaced it can result in the ripping of the wing fabric.

Another problem area on the wing that has been reported is with the plastic saddles used between the flying wires on the leading and trailing edge. Over time these crack and break off. At the first sign of deterioration they should be replaced. 

Flying the Buccaneer xA