Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Dreaded Annual - Part 3

The decision was made to go to Midwest Mooney for the Annual. The next step in the process is to decided what you need done. The best way to figure this out is to keep a notebook in the plane and track everything you don't like or have questions about.

My goals with 36G is more lofty than most (want the best ever), so I'm a bit more particular than you have to be. I have a trained eye and am very critical about anything that isn't "Perfect." You can't be the best if you don't have the best!

As I've mentioned earlier, you have to be licensed to do anything that would be considered airworthy on an airplane; however, you can do work without being an A&P. How you ask? By working under the direct supervision of a licensed mechanic. A lot of owners drop off their plane and say fix it, but I sincerely believe they are missing the boat. Not only are they spending money unnecessarily, they aren't taking advantage of an awesome learning opportunity -- finding out what makes the plane tick. The more you know, the better equipped you are to handle an emergency. Knowledge is power!

Most maintenance shops welcome Owner Assisted Annuals (OAA). It is inefficient for them to pay a trained mechanic to remove inspection panels, drain oil, etc. An owner can save major $$ just by removing and reinstalling the pieces parts. Step it up a bit by changing the brakes, oil, filters, etc. and you save even more while learning how everything fits together in the process. This education opportunity could save your life if a filter gets clogged and you know how the alternate air is rigged or the difference in using the emergency/parking brake versus the ones on the peddles...

Midwest Mooney is a great shop. If you can hang with them...they welcome owner assisted annuals. In fact, it's better if an owner can see what they see and make the decision right then and there to fix or defer the issue. OAA's save money, are faster and teaches you how things work...Need I say more ;)

I had already fixed many of the small items, but wanted Kevin and team to look at things that I didn't have time to fix or where I had questions that my experience couldn't answer. I also let them do the full annual on their own. I didn't want to slant their findings one way or the other.

36G's squawk list:
  1. Check the rigging. With wings level the ball on the turn coordinator is to the left 1/2 ball. If I step on the ball (left rudder) to center the plane goes into a left bank. It takes some cross-control to center the ball and fly level.
  2. When we change the oil I want to send a sample out to AOA. We had one sample pulled when we bought the plane, so I want to establish a solid baseline. I've been using Aeroshell 15w50. Please service with 15w50 when you change the oil.
  3. The engine idles at about 800 RPM. I have looked at the Throttle cable and it is at the end of travel and cannot be adjusted (idle set screw does not reach the stop). Please correct.
  4. RPM does not rise when mixture pulled to ICO. It may be due to the idle problem, but we need to get the mixture/idle/fuel flow set properly.
  5. The cabin air knob cable is tight and pulling out of the socket when pulled. The cable may need replaced or adjusted.
  6. I noticed that some of the spark plug cables are starting to be rounded off from mechanics not using the proper tools. Take a look at the cables and let me know if we should change the harness.
  7. I mentioned to you on the phone that the plane has had some sheet metal replaced due to hail damage. The repair looks o.k. to me, but take a look at it yourself. I want the repairs to be as good or better than factory new.
  8. I noticed on the JPI that the #6 cylinder is a bit cooler than the other cylinders. This could be a plug, injector, mag, wire, etc. Please take a look and let me know your thoughts.
  9. I've been looking at the oil lines and hoses. They are in good condition, but due to be replaced. Please replace all engine oil lines with Teflon lifetime hoses.
  10. Please pull all SB's on the plane and verify that they all have been complied with. Any SB that has not been completed, or not done properly, please correct.
  11. I noticed that the induction air intake has a small crack on the cowl (where induction air hose connects to the cowl). Please repair.
  12. I went through the O2 cylinder needs recertified. The regulator and the cylinder were replaced in May 2002. Please check certification and service.
The more specific you are with the squawk list the better the annual will be. Maintenance facilities have to move a lot of planes through in order to make the money to pay the staff and keep the lights on. They aren't flying your plane --- you are. It is very important to make a solid list as you fly the plane and consolidate it into something they can use as a baseline. They will likely find more things than you do, but at the end of the day you want to find as many things as you can. In many cases, it will be 12 months before the bird is looked at again. Something missed here could fail 11 months later. It is the "Owner/Operator's" responsibility for airworthiness. Not an IA that signed off the plane a year before...

Now my list is complete, it's time to turn her over to the professionals...

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