Thursday, October 13, 2011

Grounded.......grrrrrr! A T D

So I went to finally go take a friend flying two weeks ago and the plane wouldn't start. I didn't think it would be the battery since I just installed a new Concorde sealed battery a few months ago. So over to the maintenance shop I walked and after a few tests it was determined that my started gave up the ghost.  It's not an unusual repair, but of course since I have air conditioning all the brackets for the a/c and alternator surrounding the starter had to come off to get it replaced. It was an agonizing event just to watch and pay for.

By the next afternoon, the plane was fixed and I was back in the air and made a quick jaunt to get some cheaper gas. I got home and got all my paperwork ready to visit my Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) the next morning for my annual Special Issuance (SI) renewal. I have had a SI for the last 7 years due to sleep apnea and keratoconus. It has never been too much trouble to deal with. My original SI was good for six years and every year the FAA would send the same letter and authorization back that said I was cleared to fly and to resubmit my stuff again next year. The letters also always said I could either save money and send my reports directly to the FAA or I could go to my AME and he could reissue for another year.

Since moving to Jacksonville I had not found an new AME until last year when my physical was due. So this year I decided I would pay the fee and see him so I wouldn't have to wait on the FAA again. WRONG!!! I always tell people,"A T D" which stands for Attention To Detail. Well I didn't take my own advice and just read the FAA's letter last year that said I was good for another year, resubmit by Sept 30, and blah, blah, blah. Well the blah, blah, blah part was new and said I must send this years reports directly to the FAA, the new SI is only valid for one year, and an AME no longer has any authority to help. Grrrrrr!

So here I sit, waiting to get that nice letter back in the mail like I do every year except this time I waited too long and I'm grounded until I get it!

Never the less, I decided to take advantage of the down time. I have been chasing some higher oil temps for a while. All other temps are great and we checked the oil cooler lines and the vernatherm seat during the annual in June. All the other usual suspects checked out OK, but I couldn't find anything in the aircraft's logbook that anything had ever been done to the oil coolers since new in 1977! So off the coolers and vernatherm came and they are off to Pacific Oil Cooler Service for overhaul.

I am also having a minor avionics upgrade and some panel rearrangement done. I really didn't want to spend this money yet, but I felt it was best to take advantage of the forced downtime so when the plane and I are both legally ready to fly, it will be set up and running a little better than she has been. I'll post pictures and details when the work is done. The rest of you..........get out there and enjoy this awesome weather!

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