Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Dreaded Annual - Part 4

With every annual, there comes a time when the owner gets the dreaded call from the IA -- their findings! This is when they let you know everything they found when they did the inspection. Some things may be necessary for flight safety/airworthiness and other things may simply be not exactly right or will need attention soon. The call I had with Kevin is the same one many owners face at every first annual on a used plane.

The conversation went something like this:
Kevin: Hi Jim, this is Kevin.
Jim: Hi Kevin, how'd she do?
Kevin: Are you sitting down?
Jim: No I'm hanging up! What kind-of question is that?
Kevin: We got much deeper into your plane than we typically do in order to get a close look at the previous hail damage repair. The work is airworthy and has passed 4 or 5 previous annuals, but it isn't as good as what I believe you are looking for. We found some rivets that were not bucked perfectly and the ailerons are in factory spec, but not as straight as they should be. This is probably what is causing your adverse yaw. Jim, this is all safe and the plane isn't going to fall out of the sky. You have a beautiful, low-time, 252. One of the best that we've seen in a long time.. They just didn't do the work as well as it could have been done.
Jim: You're kidding -- Right?
Kevin: I wish I was. This work is legal and I'm comfortable signing it off, but not as good or better than factory new.
Jim: well you know we're trying to make her as good as or better than new. We've got to fix this right. Can you fix it?
Kevin: Jim we can nearly build Mooney's from scratch here. We have the equipment, parts and skilled craftsman with many years of Mooney expertise. We believe we are one of the best Mooney shops in the world. All we do is work on Mooney's. We can do the work, but are you sure you want us to get into this? It will take a lot of time, we will have to pull the interior and it will be costly.
Jim: Yep, I'm sure. Go ahead and do it. And since you have to pull the interior, go ahead and install 1/4" windows, inspect the tubular frame and upgrade the cabin sound proofing.
Kevin: ok, we'll get started on it today. I also noticed, but am afraid to mention, that the tail is starting to show some wiggle. It is fine for now, but will probably have to be pulled in 300 hours or so.
Jim: Do it! I want this plane to look and fly perfectly. Best to do it now and get it over with.
Kevin: We'll take care of it. The rest of the annual went very well. Your squawk list was good. We found a few issues such as rusted screws and a couple of cam loc's were missing in the cowl.
Jim: Thank you. Take the time, do it right. We can't take the next steps in the restoration project until the airframe is in perfect condition.

At the end of the day, I didn't have to do all of this work. It is very costly to pull the tail, drill rivets, etc., but I want her to be perfect. They only made a few hundred 252's ever. Some have been wrecked, some haven't flown in years, some have been eaten up by corrosion, etc. This one is going to be one of the best, if not the best, M20K 252 in the world.

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