Saturday, June 30, 2012

2012 Annual Inspection - The Beginning

I haven't been flying as much as I'd like lately; seems to be a recurring theme. The tropical storms we've had and a few other things have gotten in the way. I have made a few hops here and there, took some friends flying for the first time, but no real "adventures" to write about yet. I have a whole love-hate relationship with the annual inspection. As an aircraft owner I love it because the plane gets a thorough check-up, I get to know my plane more and more, things that need to be fixed get fixed if they haven't been discovered during the last year of flying, and upon it's completion I get renewed confidence in the plane that flies my family around for our amazing trips. The hate part really goes without saying, but its money. The inspection itself is 2+ full days of labor which of corse you then add the various repairs and so forth, and things really start to add up! At least the shop I use allows owner assisted annuals. That basically means they allow me to get in the way, ask stupid questions, and slow down some progress, but I get to remove access panels, seats, and clean the plane instead of someone else doing it. So I try to tell myself that saves me a little money.

Anyway, I took off early yesterday morning for a nice flight along the beach and returned in time for the shop to open up. That way everything was nice and warm for the oil change and compression checks. Both items checked great! We'll get the oil analysis back soon to make sure. So I spent the morning opening panels and removing things till I had to leave for work.

I made it back to the shop at the end of the day to see how things were going. Overall not too bad. A few leaks here and there that we'll fix, the throttle linkage is loose, but the main area of concern is the corrosion on the belly of the plane. Corrosion on a plane can be a huge concern. Luckily for me it is just surface corrosion. We actually noted this area last year and I elected to defer it till now as I have been careful to keep the belly washed and cleaned as well as the plane is hangared. We agreed to deal with it this year so it doesn't get worse and cause any really big issues. It is an easy fix, but a little labor intensive which just means more money! Oh well, at least it will be fixed, fixed right, and I'll have peace of mind which is the most important thing.

Since we'll be happily cleaning up, prepping, and repainting part of the belly blue, we decided to go ahead and fix the nick on the left fiberglass wingtip as well as the cracked left stabilator tip. The current stabilator tips are plastic so they can’t be repaired. Some of the cracks had been drill-stopped before, but it is getting worse and it needs to be replaced. I decided to order a new one made of fiberglass. Luckily I found a pair of brand new fiberglass tips on eBay for the price of one direct from the various manufacturers. Every little bit helps!

So we'll see how next week goes and hopefully we'll be back in the air soon, with a healthy bird ready for another year!

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