was a long-ez O-235-L2c. I was flying at 9500 with the autopilot (trioavionics)
turned on. I was talking to center for flight-following and life was good.
I looked down to change the radio from 113.2 (abq) to 110.6 (SAF). I heard
something and I felt as if I was in a paint mixer. Then the vibration
stopped. I looked to the R and saw that the Right winglet about 5"
above the wing was missing! I was freaking out! The RPM gauge maxed at
3000 rpm. I do not know what the real rpm was. The airplane started lisping
to the L. It took full right aileron to keep straight. I now realized
that I was losing about 500 feet per minute, I was 20.6 NM on the
242 or 252 degree radial of SAF. I tried talking to center but my comm
antenna is in the R winglet. Therefore, no center. I tried 121.5 - nothing.
I tried SAF tower - nothing. I squawked 7200 ( I thought that was the
emergency code - I was wrong). With full R aileron I was able to keep
directional stability above about 110 knots indicated @ 9500 ft msl. I
finally contacted SAF tower about 1 mile off the end of RWY 2 and was
able to declare the emergency since I did not have a comm antenna. The
landing was only ok. I did not stretch the glide, but I landed with 10'
of the end of the runway. The slower I went the more I would turn to the
L. I will
post pictures tonight or tomorrow of the damage. What I found after landing
was just a few inches of prop but it was symmetric and the R winglet is
gone but also their was a lot of damage to the R aileron. It looks like
the R aileron will have to be rebuilt also. Burt designed a great airplane.
But the real reason I think I made it back to the runway was it just wasn't
my time to die.