Friday, February 26, 2016

at Lockwood

Another Logbook entry
Its been 5 years. We flew Sally home to Butter Valley from Florida in December 2010 and really started flying operations in the winter months beginning 2011. The Rotax Line Maintenance manual says that every 5 years a full rubber replacement must be done on the 912ULS engine. I called Lockwood Aviation Repair to get an estimate (about $3K) and made the appointment to get it done. As I checked my logs it also made sense to get a Condition Inspection done. Since I was already getting some work done, Joe gave me a price break ($0.5K).

During those first few cold months of ownership in 2011 I made a mistake. At that time my preflight did NOT include removing the upper cowling, instead just opening the oil access door and peeking inside. It has since changed, but at the time I thought it was sufficient. (Especially on a really cold February morning.) Runup and all ground ops were normal. But during the take off roll I got a CHT High warning. Too late to abort I made one lap and landed. The old coolant bottle had a design defect that allowed the tube to come loose from the cap. Mine had done that, robbing the needed coolant from the engine. Overheat.

So when I mentioned to Joe that I had a minor oil leak, Joe thought it was probably loose head fasteners needing to be re-torqued. She had also, just recently started to have a coolant leak. Then I got "the" phone call. That hot flight 5 years ago had damaged the heads. The heat had taken the temper out of the aluminum. 3 of the 4 heads would have to be replaced, and the 4th was right on the edge of the hardness test. Expletives, etc.

So Sally got 4 of the new and improved style heads installed. ($6K). Except for a few minor problems (left break pads, ELT batteries) had a good Condition Inspection. Joe said she should be ready on Monday. Then I got "the" phone call. Joe wanted to know if I had any start problems. Until recently she started after a few blades. Well, not anymore. Test showed that the ignition modules were in the process of failing. Expletives, etc.

So Sally got the new and improved style soft start ignition modules. ($2K).

Yes, she DOES run better, has more power, runs smoother, starts easier. I'm relieved to have her back and so grateful we didn't have a problem while flying. I'm also VERY glad to have found our new A&P.

I think she needs a good test flight.

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