SOUTHWEST Wrench and Elbow Bending Weekend

Date(s) - 11/06/2015 - 11/08/2015
12:00 - 21:00

Stellar Air Park - P19


SOUTHWEST Wrench and Elbow Bending Weekend

This event was a great success. Everyone worked, everyone learned, and all had fun! The GPA would like to thank the 3 Gurus who worked the event: Ken Blackman, Roscoe, and Rags. Rags opened his shop for the event, and all three lost 4 days of shop time revenue to come down, prepare and host this seminar, and then get home. One person remarked that they came expecting to learn, but was surprised at all there was to learn.

Everyone shared tips, tool tips, operating information and techniques. Folks got to see the factory rigging tools and procedures and how to correctly perform those tasks. There was much discussion as to why different things needed to be done every year as the annual checklist calls out. Further down in this coverage is a great example of just that: Hint – think front seats coming out every year. A good time was had by all and the community was strengthened.

One final overall comment. Maintenance Seminars are like battle plans, they are usually changed after the first 30 seconds. We went with the flow and sometimes doing just one thing on a plane was like pulling a thread. Such is life.

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Ken’s 2 cents:

The Southwest “wrench and elbow bending” event was really a success with around 30 people attending. (We failed to get a sign-in sheet out on Friday so several who only came for that day didn’t get recorded. The Saturday / Sunday list contained more than 20 owners plus several guests. (A couple of owners brought their mechanics so they would learn, first hand, how to maintain their planes. One IA commented that he really didn’t know how much he would pick up since he had over 35 years of light aircraft maintenance
experience. A few hours later he apologized for that statement.)

We had a very full schedule of intended subjects and demonstrations laid out which, we learned, is not the way to do it. It all went off the rails very quickly as we began dealing with things we found in planes we were using for the demos as we discovered them. I think we did cover most of the subjects but not in the order we had listed. That’s OK, now we know what to expect and not to try to structure things so detailed.

Our hosts, Rags and Jimmy, at Arizona Aircraft Maintenance, LLC, gave up 2 days of their “revenue time” to allow us to take over their facility at Stellar Airpark in Chandler. I know the future business generated from this event will more than make up for their losses but we thank them sincerely for their generosity and understanding. It is important to remember businesses sacrifices to host and present this kind of event so support them however you can. Editor’s Note: In addition to the hosting business, the traveling experts pay their own airfare, sacrifice their shop “revenue time”, lodging, transportation and meals.

The three primary people doing the “educating” were Rags, myself, and Roscoe. Volunteers helped in many ways from manning the grill to flip burgers and dogs, help move things that needed moving (like airplanes) and many other ways as needed. We thank everyone for their help and consideration. It was amazing to find some of the very items we had planned to discuss and show how to fix on some of the planes we used for the demonstrations. It showed how things can be discovered that had nothing to do with the subject at hand and emphasized the importance of a “thorough pre-flight” that involves opening both sides of the cowling (or removing the 2 place upper cowling) to see things like leaking exhaust systems, loose ignition harnesses, oil leaks, and so on. We also got very deep into rigging and I brought down a complete set of 2 and 4 place rigging fixtures and tools (which Rags hung onto to copy and build a set from) and the importance of having the proper equipment to maintain our planes.

One of the goals of the GPA [Grumman Pilots Assoc.] is to have reasonably priced rigging tools and fixtures produced and made available at near cost for owners and shops to purchase. Roscoe and I are working on this project as I write this article.

That is a brief coverage of the event and I want to personally thank all who attended. We plan to hold this kind of event at least 3 or 4 times a year around the country (and in other countries if the cards fall into place for it) with the next scheduled one to be May 13, 14, & 15 at Yankee Aviation in SW Ohio. Roscoe and Luann will host this event and I will be there as well as Rags to present some of the seminars. I am going to try to put one together, probably next September, here in NW Washington and discussions are underway for holding something in NE Florida (possibly in the Winter months) so stay tuned. Details of these and other planned events may be found on the GPA website, as well as here on the GG and the AYA website under events. Remember that these events are “generic” in nature and all those interested in the maintaining, flying, and preservation of our precious aircraft are invited to attend. Owners, Pilots, Mechanics, or just interested parties are all urged to join in the events.

Ken Blackman
Air Mods N.W.

********************* Friday November 6 *********************
Red Dog P51
This P51 heard about the great maintenance seminar we are having at Stellar Airpark had to come see it. Actually he is based here and we all got a treat when he took off twice. This P51D had a 2.5 million restoration and it is a stunning aircraft. The owner of the fuel farm loves when he comes to the pump!
checking a plane
People just love to look at planes. It is almost like they are an attractive nuisance. There are some parts of the county where our birds are a rare breed and folks have to come see what they are all about. Some mistake us for a RV! Other wants to compare their bird and its options with others.
Friday chats
Chat groups everywhere.
Flight of the Phoenix
Geoff flew from NM with his companion, ‘Phoenix’. Now you have seen the Flight of the Phoenix.
Friday lunch
Food is always a people magnet. Yummmmm.John Cotter did the honor of cooking while the rest observed the events going on. Thanks John!
Rags and Ken check a loose bearing on the right aileron. This is the 902013-1 aileron bearing that is also used on the rudder (upper and lower) and the elevator. FYI
Getting the end of the torque tube all clean prior to putting the bracket and the bearing back on. On this plane someone in the past had glued the shim spacers all together. The motto of the weekend as we saw on multiple planes, in different systems was, “Cleanliness is next to airworthiness!”
Bearing madness
The crowd watches with rapt attention as Ken demonstrates the reassemble process for the outboard aileron bracket and the counterweight and what can go wrong and what to look for. Also discussed was what to use to lubricate the bearings, how, and on what schedule.
Jaguar Cowl
One of Gary’s Jaguar Cowlings showed up to be examined.
The end of day ‘Ask the Gurus Session’, Ken and Roscoe field em all.Questions included:
current price parts,
parts availability,
alternative products
********************* Saturday November 7 *********************
One plane flew in a had to show us his new Lycon engine. Notice the grommet for the spark plug wires?
We went and got the very expensive 67 cent grommet and sealed the hole on both sides with RTV.
Laura Gets Her Grumman Smile small
This is the first Grumman flight of Laura Withrow taking her Commercial check ride this week. Bart’s prop is not yet back from the prop shop so he could fly her in his nice Grumman. Al Hancock (GPA CFI) let her fly left seat in his beautiful Cheetah. Her smile says it all.
Getting ready to bring the Tiger in and john corretly finds the empty spot on the floor.
Bringing the plane in out of the sun to remove the canopy. Ken demonstrated the game he invented, Broken Towbar.
Ken and Geoff cleaning the turtledeck area on Geoff’s Tiger.
While the canopy is off, you can clean the section of the turtle deck that cannot be reached otherwise. Clean with soap and water and a rag, then dry. Then come back with a cleaner and finally wax this area. Here you can see Geoff and Ken doing just that.
Before the canopy goes back on, your have to really clean the canopy tracks. Ken used a paint stick whittled down and a rag with alcohol to clean the tracks (top and bottom). When done they were white again.
dirty buttons small
The canopy rails were very dirty and the buttons not functioning due to dirt and debris. Remember, “Cleanliness is next to Airworthiness!”
clean and dirty rail
Here you can see for yourself the difference between a clean rail and a dirty one. Takes about 30 minutes to clean a rail this dirty with solvent and scotchbrite. Be sure not to scrub the working edges, that will reduce the rail width, and if too small, they will fall out.
Rear seal redo. You get all of the old seal off and the area clean prior to putting on the new seal.
Ken removing the rear seal that was now longer really there from the back of the canopy.
Food again is quite the draw. Here are the folks who on Saturday cooked the meal, out thanks to Rags and Paul for stepping up. John Cotter from Illinois did the deed on Friday.
The serving line moved fast and folks moved off to sit and eat.
Ken has his! Lunch is now served.
Sure does get quiet when the food is served.
Canopy back on. Ken pointing out why the front seal is being destroyed. Sometime in the past, the plastic spacers behind the metal trim that hold the canopy seal gasket were not reinstalled. This put the seal just a hair to far aft so it can be destoyed.
Roscoe cleaning the spar while bracket out
Link to Video of a loose front seat bracket.
Loose seat bracket
After the bracket is removed, the spar and all the pieces hidden by the seat and bracket can be cleaned with a wet rag. Notice how nice and shiny the clean spar is?
Take the bracket loose
Roscoe taking out the loose outboard pilot seat bracket. After removal we found that the factory had put the star washer under the bracket instead of under the hear of the AN3-6A bolt. There are three of them that hold this bracket to the spar. We are find more and more of these loose for a variety of reasons: wrong assembly, bolts to short, missing star lock washers, etc. This is just one of the reason that the seats have to come out every year.
Going nose-to-nose to compare a good set of baffle seals and a set in need of TLC.
These baffle on this Yankee were done over 10 years ago by Ken and are still pretty, tight, and very functional.
Baffles on a Tiger in need of attention.
Ken now goes over the baffle fails one at a time and why they are bad and what should be done to fix them.
A tale of two bellies, one light one dark. This has to be the cleanest belly I have seen on any Grumman
In contrast, this one is not done justice by the photo, it appeared very black, but we highlighted it with light to show the swirls and patterns of air that exist under the bottom.
2 for night flight home
An AGAC and a Cheetah both fire up the engine and lights for the flights of about 10 minutes to other local fields for the trip home. After these two departed the group headed out to the restaurant.
Dinner Saturday Night
What would any gathering of pilots be without a good meal. Not everyone could stay for the Saturday Night meal but those that did had a good time and lots of interesting conversation.
Some folks whose Grumman was down for maintenance came in other aircaft, like this beautiful Comanche.
We tried talking these guys down to no avail. Grin!

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Bookings are closed for this event.

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