My first job was to remove all the inspection plates under the wings and fuselage of the plane. As many as I have removed over the last 3 years one would think I could tell you how many screws were in each.....I have no clue. I borrowed a battery powered (DeWalt) screw gun from a co-worker for my portion of the annual, all other tools I could use at the shop. Keith was the ground guy today and he started on the landing gear getting things taken apart, cleaned up and bearing packed with fresh grease. Frank was up front at the power plant, Oil was draining and plugs were coming out for a compression check and give the plugs a once over. When I removed all the inspection plate screws (all but one so the plate could spin clear of the hole) I moved on to cleaning the plugs. I got to use the sand blast machine with a dust collector. I had to put my arms in the heavy duty rubber gloves and used a foot pedal to activate the system. I cleaned all the plugs starting with the threads and then carefully cleaning the inside around the insulator tip making sure there was no carbon build up. I was like a kid in a candy store only having to add in a Tim Allen Tool Time grunt to make it complete. I should add I had to keep the top plugs and the bottom plugs separated since we would swap them when we reinstall.
I had the opportunity to check out the JPI probes for EGT and CHT and learned that my CHT was indeed the thermal transfer, for lack of a better description, a washer with a wire attached. I also noticed the new Lycoming power plant had a Reiff preheat system on each cylinder and a stick on heat pad for the oil, this was not listed nor mentioned by the previous owner. I guess those folks in Texas don't give freezing temps a second thought. I could live without that thought too. I headed to the back of the plane to remove the rear seats and the vertical wall panel that hides the battery and other goodies. I also removed the ELT battery panel on the left rear and the opposite side panel for inspection along with the tail cone. There were plenty of little plastic cups with screws strategically placed around the plane where I had been working with the screw gun. The cracked wing tip was removed and a replacement ordered. The shop is going to paint the tip and reinstall. I feel bad, I know it's not intentional and crap happens, at least I didn't do it.
I could not believe how fast time was clicking off. It was lunch break already and it seemed like we just got started. I made a quick run to the local deli for a small mushroom cheese steak and an Orange Crush. Heck, I was ready to get back at it! We sat and talked airplanes and a few folks stopped into visit Roger and the guys. I know my body can't take the physical end of this type of work but I sure could get into this stuff and have fun doing something that really makes you feel like something was accomplished.
Lunch break was complete and we headed back out to the shop. I kind of snooped around watching Keith check brake hoses, complete the reassembly of the left side main and disassemble the right side. The guys are great and answer every question, a true learning experience. I got to inspect the wings for corrosion and the main wing spar right under the cabin. 08Romeo was in great shape and the guys commented that it was probably the cleanest Sundowner they have seen in a good number of years. I got an education on the wings and how the skin is attached since there are not rivets from the leading edge back to about halfway across the wing. I did find two little mud nests maybe the size of my thumb, one in the engine compartment and one just inside the wing tip. I cleaned them both off and treated the one inside the wing tip by hitting it with a Scotch Brite pad and spraying some Corrsion X just to be safe.
A fun day 1 of the annual adventure without to much damage to the flying account. We will have to contend with the Jo Bolt issue on the right side main gear since one was loose and one was still in good shape (nice and tight). I wanted to print out the Service Instruction I read on the Beech Aero Club forum so we could have some additional info to review. I head out to the car and drag my sore body in. Both shoulders are snapping and the hip is sore along with almost every other joint that touched the concrete floor today. Maybe I should have taken an Advil 'prior' to getting started. I'll be taking one or two with dinner. Day one complete.