Monday, May 09, 2022

Annual 2022

Once again it's that time of year, airplane annual. I had a pretty good routine going with Sussex Aero at Delaware Coastal (KGED). I would have Mary drop me at the hangar and then she would make the forty minute drive while I tugged the plane out, preflighted, then make the ten minute hop. Unfortunately the A&P that did my annual no longer works there. The shop manager, Rob, is still there and I will miss his experience.

This year I am going to use the shop at New Garden Airport (N57). The switch opens a whole new can of coordination issues with hotels and a rental car. The last few years I could easily drive back and forth to Delaware Coastal, this year requires more planning. 

Monday 5.2

The initial plan was to fly up to New Garden Tuesday morning and arrive early for my 11am shop appointment. The weather was looking really poor for Tuesday and by midday Monday the Wednesday weather was looking worse. Mary and I talked it over and we decided I would fly north today.

Earlier this morning Mary helped me preflight 3 Tango Charlie after she finished her walk with Ziva. The plane was ready to go, now I just had to get my head in the game.

I quickly packed my bag and called to have the rental car delivered a day early. I also called my sister to see if I could crash for a night at her place. Nick at Hertz said he would have the car at the airport in fifteen minutes, and my sister Denise and her husband Dave said the spare room is available for a border. I was a go to launch.

I taxied to runway two-zero and launched for N57. The ride was bumpy and I had a headwind to deal with making my ride north about fifty minutes.  I picked up flight following with Dover Approach since I had eyes on a heavy doing landings. I watched the plane land on runway one and managed a picture once they had taxied clear. I also caught a shot of a 747 that was making his way to runway one for departure. 
Once north of Dover AFB I was directed to climb and maintain at or above three thousand five hundred for a departing 747. I confirmed then made my climb, not wanting the 747 to have me as a bug splat. Eventually I canceled with Dover and made my way to New Garden, setting up and landing on runway two-four. 
With the plane secure and rental keys in hand I headed to my sisters house. It’s about a thirty minute drive and the traffic wasn’t too bad. It was fun catching up and we had pasta with Dave’s homemade meatballs. They were really good, I’ll have to get his recipe. 

Tuesday 5.3

I woke up refreshed and ready to go. Denise made scrambled eggs, bacon, toasted English muffins, and a fresh fruit cup of orange slices and blueberries. A yummy breakfast indeed. 

We all sat and chatted until Dave left for a doctors appointment, all the while watching one of the three foxes hunt down squirrels. Three separate attempts about fifteen minutes apart left the score squirrels 3, foxes zip. Meanwhile the bird feeders were a buzz of activity, I could have sat and watched for hours. 

I figured I should get motivated and head over to the airport, I still had the log books with me. I needed to open up the plane to release the brakes and remove the gust lock before 3 Tango Charlie was tugged in.

When I arrived at the shop 3 Tango Charlie sat quietly on the ramp waiting her turn to enter the hangar.  Around 1pm I was told my Commander was coming in the shop, and sure enough she taxied around the corner and right in front of the hangar doors. 
Day one and Mike will start on engine work, compressions, plugs, oil filter removal and replacement. The filter looked great, not even a spec of carbon. The Champion filter was replaced with a Tempest.
While disconnecting the cowl flaps Mike noticed the attach point brackets bolt hole was worn and now oversized. The plan is to add a bushing to each bracket.
Bill started in on inspection plate, dorsal, and tail cone removals, then moved into the baggage area. 

Before we knew it the clock struck 5pm and we called it a day. I headed to the Charcoal Pit for a cheeseburger and a pineapple sundae to go. With dinner in hand I checked into the hotel and called it a night.

Wednesday 5.4

Up and atom, Angels is calling my name for breakfast. After breakfast I was reminded why we left this area, traffic! I arrived at the shop fifteen minutes past start time.
When I walked into the shop 3 Tango Charlie was missing her seats, floor, and carpets. The spinner was already removed and everything was already lubed. Mike was finishing the plug cleaning and getting ready to reinstall. 
Mag timing check is next and I understand the concept but Mike really explained the the process. On the initial check one mag was at 25 degrees and the other was 22.5 degrees. The engine data plate calls out 20 degrees. 
3 Tango Charlie is going up on Jack stands and upon inspection the brakes are getting close. I am going to have the pads replaced, no sense waiting. There was also a very small leak on the right caliper that needed attention.
Next up, the gear swing. This is pretty straight forward and a close inspection is required. A hydraulic line in the right wheel well had a ongoing wing skin rub from a metal tag on the line. The tag was removed and the clearance restored. The shop performed multiple swings and two emergency gear dumps, everything checked out fine. I do have to inquire on the COG forum as to why the hydraulic fluid overflow when we did the emergency dump. I do not remember that happening in the past annuals.

Thursday 5.5

I think this morning I’ll head over to Hanks for breakfast. I’m not sure if the place is open, last time in the area it was closed for remodeling. After the beautiful drive I arrive to find they are still closed. At least my ride on Smith bridge road and a chance to use the covered bridge made my morning. I ended up with a grab and go at McD’s. 
Today is button up day, inspection panels installed, interior returned to a useable mode and 3 Tango Charlie will get her feet back on the ground. Once my plane is coming back together, my plan is to head south for home. 

I’ll be back Monday to square up the final invoice and fly 3 Tango Charlie home. I guess I should give Hertz a call and let them know I’m extending the car rental. I’ll also note I’m overjoyed to check out of the hotel a day early. I didn’t get much sleep last night with the next room over guest going out to smoke every hour on the hour and then slamming the door because he couldn’t get his key card to work. Maybe I should have bugged out last night after I met the “neighbor” sporting a blonde Mohawk and in his forties. I should have trusted my gut, instead I just wanted to eat, shower, and then sleep. 

Friday 5.6

I got a call from the shop concerning my three blade Hartzel prop. The prop checked out just fine, the paperwork trail was missing a signature on the 337 form.  With a call to Hartzel the shop secured a copy of the needed paperwork, of course Hartzel charged a fee.  I’m glad that’s squared away. 

Monday 5.9

I am up and out of the house by 8am, pointing the rental ford north.  Traffic wasn't too bad and I made good time, arriving around 10:20am.  I had to wait for the POTUS TRF over Wilmington so I started my pre-flight safety check. When I went outside Scott was replacing the left mag gasket that developed a leak then retimed the mags. I appreciated the attention to detail, especially after the comments from the guys in the shop that my Lycoming was dry all around no leaks. 

When the TFR lifted I climbed aboard and got the fan turning. I immediately noticed it was easier to start and when I did the run up the mag drop difference was just 20 rpms between both right and left. 
Forecast winds were going to be reaching forty knots so I knew the ride would be interesting. Take off was normal and I was quickly turning on course. Sure enough, the ride was brutal. North of Delaware Coastal was pretty rough and then just south maybe nine minutes out of Ocean City I really got rocked. The turbulence was so bad my Aspen flashed a message, "Cross Check Attitude."
That message was a first and I honestly expected a check for your seat cushion message to come up next. Crazy ride!  As I turned for final at Ocean City, Runway two, you could really feel the gusty winds just knock your air speed down. A few adjustments and feet ready to dance on those rudder pedals and I was greasing one on. I'm not sure how I managed that, but I'll take it. 

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