We decided to take a bit of a holiday, and so on Monday last we flew from Potomac Airfield (KVKX) to Easton/Newnam Field Airport (KESN) on the Eastern shore of Maryland. We planned to stay at an inn in St. Michaels, MD and explore the environs. It all went extremely pleasantly and on Thursday morning we flew back to KVKX. Both of the short VFR flights were pleasant and uneventful.
After landing I stopped at the fuel island and topped off the tanks. As I set the brakes prior to starting the engine I felt a "pop" under the left pedal. Odd but unidentifiable. N631S and I proceeded to turn right onto the taxiway...then right onto the grass...then right behind the T-hangar row. Then we proceeded to NOT turn left (at least not much) to align the airplane with the hangar. Diagnosis: No braking on the left wheel.
I called Phil, the mechanic that I usually turn to when troubles arise at Potomac Airfield. He was backed up with work but referred me to Dan Fragassi of Clinton Aero Maintenance at nearby Hyde Field (W32). Danny got over to VKX this morning to examine N631S and here's what he found.
Then there's the shaft (10). It's bent. So I'm going to get the shaft. Yes, I mean that in a couple of senses. You'd think the part would be a simple steel pin. Ah, not so! It is a tube, about 4.00" long and 0.180" in diameter with a hole about 0.060" down the middle. One end is upset to retain the clevis and the other end is drilled for a cotter pin. List price for the shaft (wait for it...): $260.00. Ouch!
I'm going to ask around about why the shaft needs the hole down the middle and why a 79 cent solid steel pin won't do the job. I'm sure that the engineering rationale will be fascinating!
By the way, UPS is supposed to deliver the parts tomorrow (Saturday). If they hold up their end I should be good to go for the usual Monday trip back to Connecticut. Let's hope.
UPDATE: 7-17-2010: Gary from Clinton Aero Maintenance called me at 3:30 this afternoon. The parts arrived as promised and N631S is ready to go. Have I mentioned that I love Aviation Maintenance Technicians just as much as I love Air Traffic Controllers?