Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Annual Inspection (iii)

Something interesting has come up in the course of N631S's annual inspection. It emerged when Mike the IA turned to inspecting the main landing gear and really got down on the deck to look at the undersides of the gear leg fairings. When he looked at the left one here's what he found:
What you're seeing at left is a piece of the underside of the aluminum fairing missing. The open area is about 3" by 4". The white rod is the high-strength steel main gear leg and the stainless steel tube is the left brake actuation line. (And yes, that's the top of the photographers hat intruding into the frame from the left.) Amazingly, the fact that this chunk of airplane had gone adrift was totally invisible from above.

We're not going to return the airplane to service with the fairing in this condition. A new fairing will be ordered today. If we can get it in time, it can be installed in "green" condition (i.e., unpainted) to support getting N631S back on the flight line for a trip to the DC area on Friday. It's not a big deal to take the fairing off again for painting a week or two down the road.

The lesson learned here for me is that I need to get down on the ground periodically to closely examine the underside of N631S including all of its appendages. Perhaps that ritual needs to be added to my SOP for oil changes.

Other than the gear leg fairing, nothing of real significance has emerged. Four of the six upper spark plugs were beyond serviceable limits and the other two were marginal so we'll replace all six with the two passable plugs going into the toolbox for use if a plug fails on the road. These are massive-electrode plugs; the lower ones are fine-wire plugs and they're doing fine.

Finally, the portable O2 bottle has survived hydrostatic testing and can be recharged and put back in the airplane. In case you were wondering, testing an oxygen bottle costs $26.50.


Anonymous said...

$26.50? That's good to know. Mines either due at the next refill, or due in the next couple of years, depending on how I interpret the stamps on the bottle.

Sans 182, I don't use it so much anymore...

Frank Van Haste said...

Re: "stamps on the bottle"

I believe that the 5 year retest is a DOT requirement. There's a nice summary of how to interpret the stamps HERE. Take note that as long as the cyl. is "in service" there's no req't to pull it out for testing but if it goes over 5 yrs., it has to be tested before refilling.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, that's helpful!

With the key, it appears to have a manufacture date of 9/05 (and appears to be an aluminum bottle), so it's due next time I need it filled. Last time used was in '08, and it's been filled and parked since.

Now, whether I can keep a humble 150 high enough long enough to need it is debatable...

Anonymous said...

Where did you buy the new fairing?

Frank Van Haste said...

Dear Anymouse:

Can't help you with that one. I was pretty busy at the time and let the maintenance shop source the fairing. I don't know who they ordered it from.