Greetings and Happy New Year, “Grummanistas!” I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and I trust Santa brought all of the aviation-related “toys” that you asked for. For some of you, that would include an ADS-B Out solution for your aircraft given the looming FAA mandated deadline of January 1st, 2020.
Of course, this mandate does not apply to everyone. That is because this mandate, is an essence, an airspace ruling, and as such, is based on the airspace/ATC needs of the individual/aircraft involved. In other words, if you do not have a need to fly within the ADS-B Out required airspace as defined in 14 CFR 91.225, then you do not need to install this equipment in your aircraft.
If you are not sure what your ADS-B out aircraft requirements are, or will be, or you simply want more information about this aspect of the FAA’s NEXTGEN (Next Generation) program, be sure to go to the FAA’s website —www.faa.gov, and review the information provided therein.
My advice is, if this ruling applies to you kind of flying, and it will for most of us, then do this as soon as practical. This is because you will want to purchase a suitable ADS-B Out solution and have it installed by your avionics shop before the anticipated year’s-end mad rush to comply. Don’t forget that a flight test of the equipment to the FAA’s satisfaction, is also involved. Also, now’s a good time to reserve the FAA’s currently available $500 rebate before it is gone. That is because it is a limited number offer.
All this said, I would like to shift my emphasis for this month’s column to some personal notes. Namely, a note of gratitude, hope and encouragement to our association’s founder, president and heartbeat — Roscoe Roscoe, and his amazing wife, Luann.
As we all know, this past year has been one of immense trial and uncertainty for them both. Yet, through it all, they not only survived — they thrived and shone through it all — to the point of setting a great example on how to face long odds, true adversity, and yet —win. No doubt, the Grumman community at large is much better and friendlier with Roscoe and Luann amongst us.
Also, a tip of the hat to all of you who gave of your time, energy and resources to help Roscoe and Luann during this time of trial. Granted, their is not over. There are simply too many of you to name here, but I would like to offer at a minimum, special kudos to Jimmy and Mary Jo Candeletti, as well as Matt and Lynn Wing for their ongoing assistance to Roscoe and Luann.
I would also like to echo what so many of us have expressed in regards to the not-so-distant loss of our great Grumman guru and patriarch, Ken Blackman. Ken, was a tremendous friend and Grumman advocate and his expertise and support will be forever missed. Anytime I fly either of my two Grumman aircraft, I feel like Ken’s spirit goes up with me. That is because so much of how my plane has been maintained and exists because of quality tips and material provided by Ken.
The related good news is that Roscoe has purchased and coordinated the transfer of all of Ken’s Grumman equipment and parts, to Roscoe’s workshop as I write this. In turn, we, as a community will continue to have access to the parts and spares we need to keep our Grumman fleet flying.
Thank you, Roscoe, and may I say by all of us who love and fly Grumman airplanes — “Welcome back!”
For whatever reason, we had a huge bump in views of our videos just before Thanksgiving.
It would a perfect world if the GPA had enough extra money to be able to award a 1500 or 2500 dollar scholarship but alas we do not. So we chose a different method. We look at people who loved aviation and were going to stay in it with maybe even military flying. To this end we decided on a seeding program. After a suitable person was located, we would find a local pilot and have them take the person up in the left seat for an hour and let them see how a Grumman really flew. By doing this somewhere down the road/airway then would be able to counter anything negative that folks would say about our planes.
So if you know of a candidate and can safely fly right seat, let us know. We will pay for an hour of your fuel to show them our planes.
Here is what our first awardee had to say.
My aviation story begins differently from many other aviators: I have not always wanted to be a pilot. As a girl growing up in a small town in Indiana, it simply never occurred to me as an option. I had no aviators in my family, and since most pilots I encountered were older men who flew massive airliners or military jets, I couldn’t conceive of myself stepping into those shoes. But as I grew, the world changed, and so did I; and when I got to the end of my college career, unsure of my future and lacking any strong career ambitions, a basic career aptitude test illuminated my path like lightning in the night when it told me I would make a good pilot. That one word – “pilot” – strung together all the aspects of my personality and interests in a way that no other aspiration had before. I took a discovery flight, and that was the beginning of the end; I was irrevocably hooked on flying.
The problem from that point on was not ambition, but execution. I had just graduated college with a degree in political science, no viable job prospects in that field, and student loan debt; and, as we all know, flight training is not cheap. I chose to work a full-time job unrelated to aviation to fund my flight training at a Part 61 operation. I wanted to go at my own pace and pay as I went. However, my first year of “flight training” saw only 13 hours of flight time and an embarrassingly low amount of studying. I made the decision to move back home so I could put the money I was using on rent towards flying. The biggest change came when I was able to start working for the FBO at the Butler County Regional Airport, where I was taking my lessons. There is nothing more motivating than having an endless stream of aviation enthusiasts asking you about your flight training – you want to be able to tell them that you are progressing and loving every minute of it! With Blue Sky Flight Training, I got my private pilot’s license in just over a year and with 100 hours of flight time. I used that time to become as proficient as possible rather than just barely scraping by with the minimum amount of knowledge and experience to pass the check ride. I plan to continue with my training by earning my instrument and commercial ratings.
Aside from having consistent access to the rental aircraft and my instructor, working at the Butler County Airport has provided me with the opportunity to form many friendships on the field. Roscoe Rosche, owner of Yankee Aviation and prominent member of the Grumman Pilots Association, was kind enough to offer me a ride in a Grumman Cheetah with his good friend and fellow pilot Matt Wing. On a beautiful summer evening, Matt let me ride left seat as we flew northeast towards Richmond, IN, where I grew up. Everything about the airplane spoiled me, including the differential braking (I am notorious for over-braking during taxi – just ask my instructor – so this came naturally to me), the classic rock music that bled softly through the Bose headsets as we cruised, and the landing that came much more smoothly than what I was used to in a Cessna 172. Since then, I have also ridden in a Long EZ, several RV-8s, a Baron, a Pitts, a Ford Tri-Motor, and a King Air 350. Because of the generosity of Roscoe, Matt, and the many others on the field who have contributed to my interest in aviation, it has become a long-term goal of mine to ride in as many different types of general aviation aircraft as possible. Although I don’t have any blood relatives who are aviators, I have experienced how easy it is to find your own family within the aviation community, and I look forward to the day when I can generously share my passion with younger aviators as so many have done for me.
As you know Ken Blackman passed away last May and his business ground to a halt. The shop was wanted by another mechanic (shop space in the Seattle area is hard to come by) so he was able to get it. Roscoe called the Blackman family and worked out a deal on all of Ken’s Grumman stuff at the shop.
Next order of business was to put together a crew and arrange transportation for all the Grumman parts. The first trailer was delivered December 14th, and loading started on Saturday. The second trailer was finished the following Monday and now both are on their way across the US to Yankee Aviation in Ohio.
I would like to thank Mark Matthews, Rich Harrison, Dan Baisley, Jimmy Candeletti, and Klaus Marx (IA for Ken for 10 years and who I trained under for my IA) for their help in loading and sorting through everything.
We are very happy to have saved all these Grumman parts to support the fleet.
First Yankee delivered 50 years ago.
It was in late 1968 that the first Yankee was delivered to a customer.
Like most Grumman folks, your GPA is also frugal. We make money on our YouTube video views, parts in the company store, and donations. We have had members advance rigging tools orders, and then the parts are sold and the money goes back.
When dirt and moisture sit on top of you spar in the wing root, it will form corrosion. It can be of two types, a light pitting or blisters that stand out and are deeper than they are tall. The general run for pitting is that if any one pit after cleaning out all the Read more
You can read the forum or watch the video. Thanks to John Cotter and Jimmy for the spar pictures.
Grumman Pilot’s Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thgxVW9R5Sk
Is a great day-to-day blog on the GPA. You can see new members and other posts.
Service Calls and Requests
We also field a lot of call about information, manuals, etc, we are happy to help.
Rudder Balancing was missing from the owners Maintenance manual. So we had them download our searchable pdf and get the missing 209 pages.
Contributed Video by Alex
Alex provided the raw video and we were able to make it into a video. Thanks Alex.
New Event this May
This event was suggested by Lou Evans and it is a great idea. Like the Wrench and Elbow bending, this weekend event will be heavy in social time and the BBQ will be running.
May 24-26, 2019 KHAO Event – Lots of social time
Twin Comanche trade for a Tiger.
We have a member out west who wants to go back to a Tiger. He is hoping a Tiger owner that is looking to upgrade might be interested in a trade.
DOM – ADSB Mandate Looming
Well they devoted a whole issue to it, so we are getting down to our last year.
Great British humor from the BBC audio show MJN Air. These are great audio episodes and they make me laugh. Thanks Mark!
Well we are all moved to the new servers, DNS set, and layout optimized. Thanks go to Jeff for finding us this bargain price per year for hosting. We saved more than 75% per year!
Manuals move and new Layout
As part of the server move, we could change max file upload size and we were able to get the bigger ones from Yankee Aviation website, so all our manuals are on this page with a new layout. grummanpilotsassociation.com/info/manuals/
These are pdf’s that are searchable (via word or expression i.e. rudder will return you in the left pane every page that has rudder on it.
PowerFlow vs. Electronic Ignition
This two options cost about the same. They both increase engine performance and let us look at what this costs us.
Powerflow works by creating a vacuum on each cylinders as it begins to exhaust, so this help the engine breathe better. You will use about a gallon an hour more than a normal exhaust system, but you also get 4 – 7 % more power. Since the hot burning fuel is pulled out of the cylinder at supersonic speed a lot of heat is transferred to the valve guide, valve, and valve seat causing it to wear about twice the normal rate. For those who need this extra power they tend to replace their cylinders between 800 and 1000 hours with new.
ElectroAir Electronic Ignitions generate a 70,000-volt spark and deliver 10 – 14% more power due to the huge ignition spark and the timing advance. Makes the engine very smooth from idle all the way up. You can expect to save about a gallon an hour with the EIS for an O-320 and 2 gallons an hours for a six cylinders.
My recommendation is go with the EIS first, it is well worth it.
Thanks to Eric for donating the last 5 years of Service.
The old site was a learning experience and we made some upgrades as well as a few changes during the move. You will notice faster response time as well as a SSL certificate on the new servers. As an added plus we saved a few hundred dollars on the new hosting. Enjoy!
As you know the GPA is a volunteer group and I would like to thanks you all for your help and support. Special thanks goes out to Mark, Jeff, Jimmy, Matt and others you stepped up during my hospital stay of 10 weeks and kept you informed and the GPA running. Thanks you all very much.
I know it has been a while since we put out a Newsletter so here is a short one.
I am home now from my hospital stay. We are slowly moving into the new house from the old one.
Computers moved – Videos to restart.
Had a good doctor visit this month, health is good and I am slowly working my way off the meds to get back to taking none.
Thanks you all for your wishes and prayers.
Jeff has started a new idea, people hosting events around the country and it is catching on. A how-to guide is in the works to help folks create their own event, stay tuned!
Matt WingRoscoe and Luanne asked me to pass this on to the Grumman Family.
“We wish to express our most sincere and deepest gratitude for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time. We are truly humbled. It is a tremendous blessing to feel this great love from everyone.
It is with heavy heart that we share in the knowledge of the passing of our guru, Ken Blackman. As we mourn his loss, Roscoe would like to share Ken’s last mission. He wanted to find a way to meld our community and bring everyone together. Mending the spirit of the Grumman community that shares our passion for all things Grumman and the people who love them. We humbly ask for your help in this mission.
Roscoe’s recovery continues. He is able to talk with us once again and what a joy. He will again be reaching out to everyone as his strength returns as able. I can share with you he really enjoyed the cards sent as he and I opened them together Friday. What a joy to see him smile.
Your continual prayers for a total and complete recovery are so very welcome and much appreciated. We are comforted by your support as we travel the road ahead. We bear witness to God’s healing grace and love for us all. Again we are truly blessed to have friends that are our family from all corners of the earth, from a myriad of faiths and all walks of life. Thank you and God bless.
Roscoe and Luanne”
He now has his phone again and would love to hear from you all. If it goes to voicemail he’s probably sleeping but will call back when able.
Would like to welcome Mark Matthews as a new administrator of the GPA site.
Curt was recently promoted to author to help him with his posting of forum articles while we refurbishes his Grumman. There were enough good photos in his ports to make a YouTube video of the project. Keep up the good work.
Editors Note: We are trying a new format this issue, in essence a video newsletter of topics that occurred since the last newsletter. Let us know what you think. Suggestions are always welcomed.
We now have 512 videos in the collection called ‘Grumman Pilots’.
On a related note, what a perfect storm of events did to help out this number and push us over the 500 mark. We had just come home after 3 weeks on the road, got hit by a 30 hour ice, sleet, rain, freezing rain, snow then hard freeze so we just stayed in by the wood stove and produced videos. We hope you enjoy them.
I would also like to thanks two video contributors as well.
First, William Chapman, for his video of rebuilding the master and slave cylinders in his Cheetah/AA5A. Very informative and useful, thank you William.
Second, Nate Volk, who sent us a medley of his first training flight in his TR2, which he bought for flight training. He soloed on Friday, January 26, 2018. This was also the first day of the Wrench and Elbow bending held at PHOG.
Finally, we did another edit on Cheetah Flight to bring it down to be about a minute to serve as the new video on the Grumman Pilots channel home page on YouTube. This video will receive another edit as we morph it in to a new intro for the videos we post on the channel.
It was nice to spend time with Luann, Mark, Kelly, Ken and Jan and others in a relaxed environment. Ken and I may have talked airplanes a lot, but there is so much he knows that I need to learn, it just happens. Nice trip and ideas that I think you will like as they come out in the next several months. Stay tuned.
We you look at how over engineered these engines really are, you can see that they are almost bulletproof even in extreme conditions. You saw some of the cooling issues with missing baffles, and poor seals in the videos above, yet these engines fly all the time. First you have to look at the normal mission, full throttle to get into the air, and then back to 1900 RPMs as they slowly cruise to the destination, usually within 60 miles. So the engine is putting out very low power and gets adequate cooling for that mission. As Ken says, “Hang Loose’ has a whole new meaning when applied to flying in the islands.
Subscribers needed! Here is why. YouTube has raised the bar for channels to generate revenue. We meet the watch time requirements, but fall short of the new 1,000 subscribers needed. So please, go to our channel and subscribe. We have until February 20 to reach this new level. Thanks you.
482 videos now in the collection.
Subscribers 51this last month bringing total to 646
Views 11,243 last 28 days with a total of 90,828 views.
Watch time 48,806 minutes for the last 28 days.
I’m waiting for my SI Medical. The FAA has had my paperwork and for…10 months – and still not given me a decision. It’s about the most frustrating thing I can imagine. So, I’m trying to make the best of the downtime and chronicle the recent history on my 1977 Tiger. Up to my current Read more
This forum post and one other inspired 2 channel videos, check them out.
I have had complaints in the summer from passengers that the air flow through the rear vents on a newer vintage tiger is quite poor. When I looked with a flashlight inside the vent air intake, I can see a web of thin wood-like mesh overlying what I believe is plastic yellow mesh substrate. I Read more
New Fuselage Emblems
The new fuselage emblems are in the company store and they look very nice. Emblems for Tiger, Cheetah, Lynx, Trainer, TR2, and T-Cat are coming. Stay Tuned.
Luann and I are off tomorrow to attend the next wrench bending in Hawaii. Ken and Jan are coming along so that the Grummans in the islands can get some love too.
01/26/2018 - 01/28/2018 @ All Day - UPDATE For those attending this weekend, if landing to the north, go to the tower and we are in there t-hangers closest to the tower on the South facing side. There are 15 Grummans in the Hawaiian Islands and this Wrench and Elbow Bending will have the feel of home with an Aloha Friday afternoon [...]
In June we have another Wrench and Elbow Bending along with some social time in Independence, Oregon this June.
06/21/2018 - 06/24/2018 @ All Day - Location is 7S5, Independence, OR. National Gathering Fly-In June 23-24 This year’s Wrench and Elbow Bending session will be postponed since our principal gurus, Roscoe Rosché and Ken Blackman are unable to attend. Mark and Kelly Matthews will still host a fly-in for the weekend. If you have purchased airline tickets, there still is the [...]
Finally if the schedule holds we will have one late September or early October at Yankee Aviation at KHAO.
For those who need Grumman advice, I will be mostly out of contact January 18 to February 9th or so. Ken will be out of pocket (same pocket) January 20th to February 4 or 5. FYI.
I’m waiting for my SI Medical. The FAA has had my paperwork and for…10 months – and still not given me a decision. It’s about the most frustrating thing I can imagine. So, I’m trying to make the best of the downtime and chronicle the recent history on my 1977 Tiger. Up to my current Read more
, send us pictures and a description of what you are doing and we will help all we can with forum postings and videos.
May your New Year be wonderful and filled with flying.
We are now north of 1300 members keep spreading the word.
This past month, Albert Sieve, Luann’s dad went west. The video ‘End of an Era’ was just part of what we did flying for the navy. Albert and his wife, Goldie, were both Founders of the GPA.
Propellers are without dispute the most abused appliances on an airplane. This is the part that literally pulls you through the air and translates all the wonderful power of your engine into motive force. Be sure your is in proper shape.
In 1991 the FAA required all propellers to be given their own logbook and not recorded in the engine or airframe log. Here we are 27 years later and planes still come into the shop with no propeller logbook. Do you have one?
Since last month we have added 3 new propeller videos from Bob Reed. I would like to thank Bob for these videos and the contribution to the GPA.
Our YouTube channel ‘Grumman Pilots’ was created on August 24, 2016 when we pushed up our first video, the ‘Whelen Orion Tail Strobe’. On October 24, we added the first of many Ken Blackman Videos. On February 10, 2017 we turned on monetization of the videos after completing all the requirements. On that date we had 69 videos already on the channel.
457 videos now in the collection.
Subscribers 51 this last month bringing total to 478
Views 8,548 last 28 days with a total of 81,805 views.
Watch time 41,503 minutes for the last 28 days.
We have created several playlists on our channel to help organize our videos. There is also a new link on the channel page, here you can look at videos or playlist just by clicking.
As many of you know, when you post a Forum article about one of the topics and you include pictures, we ask that you keep us informed of the project and offer any help we can.
Over the last months we have asked a bunch of folks and finally someone came through. That is how the Christmas Video came to be, Merry Christmas Curt and thanks for sharing your Tiger with us, Happy Holidays All! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EC2pguKzEqM
The 31 Maintenance Items that You Can Do
What is Preventative Maintenance? ”Preventive maintenance” means: simple or minor preservation operations and the replacement of small standard parts not involving complex assembly operations.
The 31 Maintenance Items that You Can Do What is Preventative Maintenance? ”Preventive maintenance” means: simple or minor preservation operations and the replacement of small standard parts not involving complex assembly operations. The 31 items that you CAN do yourself Removal, installation, and repair of landing gear tires. Replacing elastic shock absorber cords on landing gear. Servicing Read more
The 31 items that you CAN do yourself
Removal, installation, and repair of landing gear tires.
Replacing elastic shock absorber cords on landing gear.
Servicing landing gear shock struts by adding oil, air, or both.
Servicing landing gear wheel bearings, such as cleaning and greasing.
Replacing defective safety wiring or cotter keys.
Lubrication not requiring disassembly other than removal of nonstructural items such as cover plates, cowlings, and fairings.
Making simple fabric patches not requiring rib stitching or the removal of structural parts or control surfaces. In the case of balloons, the making of small fabric repairs to envelopes (as defined in, and in accordance with, the balloon manufacturers’ instructions) not requiring load tape repair or replacement.
Replenishing hydraulic fluid in the hydraulic reservoir.
Refinishing decorative coating of fuselage, balloon baskets, wings tail group surfaces (excluding balanced control surfaces), fairings, cowlings, landing gear, cabin, or cockpit interior when removal or disassembly of any primary structure or operating system is not required.
Applying preservative or protective material to components where no disassembly of any primary structure or operating system is involved and where such coating is not prohibited or is not contrary to good practices.
Repairing upholstery and decorative furnishings of the cabin, cockpit, or balloon basket interior when the repairing does not require disassembly of any primary structure or operating system or interfere with an operating system or affect the primary structure of the aircraft.
Making small simple repairs to fairings, nonstructural cover plates, cowlings, and small patches and reinforcements not changing the contour so as to interfere with proper air flow.
Replacing side windows where that work does not interfere with the structure or any operating system such as controls, electrical equipment, etc.
Replacing safety belts.
Replacing seats or seat parts with replacement parts approved for the aircraft, not involving disassembly of any primary structure or operating system.
Trouble shooting and repairing broken circuits in landing light wiring circuits.
Replacing bulbs, reflectors, and lenses of position and landing lights.
Replacing wheels and skis where no weight and balance computation is involved.
Replacing any cowling not requiring removal of the propeller or disconnection of flight controls.
Replacing or cleaning spark plugs and setting of spark plug gap clearance.
Replacing any hose connection except hydraulic connections.
Replacing prefabricated fuel lines.
Cleaning or replacing fuel and oil strainers or filter elements.
Replacing and servicing batteries.
Cleaning of balloon burner pilot and main nozzles in accordance with the balloon manufacturer’s instructions.
Replacement or adjustment of nonstructural standard fasteners incidental to operations.
The interchange of balloon baskets and burners on envelopes when the basket or burner is designated as interchangeable in the balloon type certificate data and the baskets and burners are specifically designed for quick removal and installation.
The installations of anti-misfueling devices to reduce the diameter of fuel tank filler openings provided the specific device has been made a part of the aircraft type certificate data by the aircraft manufacturer, the aircraft manufacturer has provided FAA-approved instructions for installation of the specific device, and installation does not involve the disassembly of the existing tank filler opening.
Removing, checking, and replacing magnetic chip detectors.
Removing and replacing self-contained, front instrument panel-mounted navigation and communication devices that employ tray-mounted connectors that connect the unit when the unit is installed into the instrument panel, (excluding automatic flight control systems, transponders and microwave frequency distance measuring equipment (DME)). The approved unit must be designed to be readily and repeatedly removed and replaced, and pertinent instructions must be provided. Prior to the unit’s intended use, an operational check must be performed in accordance with the applicable sections of part 91.
Updating self-contained, front instrument panel-mounted Air Traffic Control (ATC) navigational software data bases (excluding those of automatic flight control systems, transponders and microwave frequency distance measuring equipment (DME), provided no disassembly of the unit is required and pertinent instructions are provided. Prior to the unit’s intended use, an operational check must be performed in accordance with applicable sections of part 91.
ElectroAir Electronic Ignition System (EIS) is having an end of year sale. From November 1 to December 31, they are knocking $357.00 dollars off the regular price of $3,570.00 for the 4-cylinder install kit.
For those of you interested in an EIS, you may find it hard to find factual data from folks you have installed them on their planes. Here is a bit of what you can expect.
Starting becomes a second blade event, hot or cold.
More aggressive lean and lower fuel burn (safely a gallon an hours less)
Make engine very smooth able to fire lean mixtures during throttle changes.
Install High Energy plugs in the bottom holes and let the mag fire the top plugs. The lower plugs stay clean due to scavenging fire of the plug during exhaust at TDC.
High Altitude operation due to spark advance, up to 40 degrees BTDC to strike piston at 11 degrees past TDC for maximum thrust on piston face.
The MTH (Magneto Timing Head) needs to be replaced at engine overhaul. The spark plug high energy leads need to be replaced every 5 years, and the High-energy spark plugs have a service life of 500 hours.
You may have noticed in the latest videos an audio intro starting with ‘Clear Prop.’ I would like to thank Matt Wing for this. A few videos later we added a single engine piston engine flyby as it drones away.
To help with finding videos we have added a complete video list that will be maintained to the website as an option under “Channel” option. i.e. Channel-> YouTube Video List
443 videos now in the collection.
Subscribers 51this last month bringing total to 426
Views 10,554 last 28 days with a total of 69,900 views.
Watch time 47,235 minutes for the last 28 days.
Although the USA get most of the views, it is interesting to see what other countries are watching. These include:
We are Working with Bob Reed to import his propeller series of videos into the ‘Grumman Pilots’ Channel, stay tuned for these and the announcement.
We also received our first royalty payment from Google for the videos. You may also have noticed that we are in 28 countries now, mostly found from the YouTube videos we put out.
Flew it for awhile after I bought it to check out all the bugs. Then started in on the project a couple of months ago. Original paint had excellent adhesion, it was just faded and worn. Interior was in terrible condition as was the overlay on the panel. Prepped and painted the airplane using and Read more
So like many of you I have all kinds of digital numbers flashing in my cockpit. That included a digital timer to not let me forget about changing tanks. But I found it to be to “ordinary” and it didn’t really draw my attention to something so important. So I got this online and place Read more
The Dreaded Pre-Purchase, Myths and Mysteries
(Adapted from Bondline.org)
Note: Buy the bet plane you can afford at the onset. Thinking you will find a bargain project and be able to do a lot of the work yourself and have a great plane at the end of it that you can sell for a profit is a myth. Just buy the best plane you can afford.
There are as many different ideas on the proper scope and depth of a pre-purchase inspection as there are buyers. What makes that interesting is the expectations of those buyers, and how those expectations change after owning a plane for 11 months and having gone through the dreaded “first annual”.
When is it a better time to discover the true condition of the plane, during the purchase process or after the money has changed hands and the plane has flown away? This is the reason it is suggested that a purchaser do a thorough pre-buy and do all that is reasonable to identify things that will later bite him in the wallet. What that means is a full annual inspection by the checklist in the factory maintenance manual — 13 pages for the AA-5x, a few less for the AA-1x.
“But it just had a fresh annual last month and has flown nearly no hours since then.”
Perhaps, but who did the inspection, and did you get a copy of the signed, dated list of discrepancies?
Most planes sell because the owner is moving on. Sometimes it’s to larger or smaller aircraft, but often it’s away from aviation. So what did they tell the mechanic that performed the last annual? Probably something along the lines of: “I’ve got it listed in T-A-P, so don’t spend any money on it that you don’t have to.” That is a pretty sobering thought when you know that you are going to take your family and friends up in your new plane just as soon as you can get it home.
Another factor that enters the discussion is that an “Annual Inspection” is just that, INSPECTION. As in ‘LOOK AT IT.’ No repairs or service work are part of the inspection. And while it’s true that the basic oil, filter, fluid levels and mag timing checks are regularly performed in conjunction with the inspection, that is just a convenience for the owner, since the plane is in the shop, they have it opened up, and most planes haven’t had any service work since LAST year.
So if it’s just been inspected, and no actual work was done to repair or improve the plane, just what did you get? Probably just bare minimum that the FAA requires for the plane to be legally operated. Certainly nothing that says there won’t be any catastrophic failures or even minor items wearing or breaking on the very next flight. The plane was just “looked at”. Maybe sort of a super pre-flight.
There have been many tales on the GG of woe and expense after purchasing a plane, and yet it seems that new buyers never learn, and the same mistakes are repeated again and again.
Lets go over some items that really ought to be checked during the pre-buy inspection on your intended purchase.
As strange as it may seem, the FAA is more focused on the paperwork than they are on the actual components. The reason for this is that if the paperwork is correct, then the physical components can be manipulated to create “Airworthiness”. However if the paperwork is incorrect, then one can not make the plane “Airworthy” because the records that support the airworthiness are incomplete or inaccurate. The FAA takes this to the point that the DATA PLATE is the component they are most interested in, the rest of the airplane or engine are just parts which can be replaced as needed.
One must have the “AR(R)OW” paperwork for flight, and one must have an Airworthiness Certificate to determine that the aircraft in question was EVER in a condition to hold US Certification. Many planes were built and shipped overseas without ever having US paperwork, such as the ones that went directly to Canada that often are brought back to the US later. The price, especially considering the current exchange rates, may be very attractive, but one is left to PROVE to the FAA that the plane conforms to its Type Design and is therefore eligible to have an airworthiness certificate issued.
Logs are an important part of the paperwork. It’s quite common to see planes for sale with some or all of the logs missing. This is a big red flag for the novice buyer. WHY are the logs missing? It could be that they were truly lost or destroyed. It’s possible that the plane was a repossession or transferred in an estate at some time, and the logs were not available to the new owner. Or, a more nefarious possibility, they were intentionally kept back to avoid the documenting of repairs from some unreported accident! Perhaps there were even substandard repairs that included the use of undocumented parts or unapproved repair techniques. Lost logs require an even higher level of due diligence on the part of the inspector and purchaser.
Props have a TBO, just like engines. When is it due for an OH? Just consult the manufacturer’s data for the prop in question. Most fixed pitch props are due for OH at engine OH, or at any time that they have wear or damage that exceeds the prop manufacturer’s field dressing limits. Props are a “Class 1” appliance in FAA speaks, and that means that they SHOULD have their own log. Most older planes do not, and this then makes it more difficult to establish the history of that prop. Models such as the McCauley prop used on the 70’s production Tiger have AD mandated inspections every 200 hours. Without a dedicated prop log, where are those entries kept? Usually in the Airframe log, but what if a prop is bought used, did you get the airframe log entries showing past compliance with the AD and an accurate Total Time in Service? Better obtain a $5 prop log and transfer the available history to it, and begin logging inspections and maintenance from here forward.
The single largest issue can probably be summed up in one word: Corrosion. As the fleet ages and time takes its toll on our light alloy airframes, oxidation is the number one problem that the fleet faces. The factory engineers never expected that we’d be flying significant portions of the fleet 35 years after production. They built the planes to last 10-15 years, and then expected that we’d scrap them and buy new ones. If aviation products didn’t go up at over twice the rate of inflation, perhaps that would be the case. A new $30,000 Tiger? Sure, where do we mail the check?
Recently there seems to be a rash of planes with corrosion in the center spar. Not some light surface corrosion that might leave little pits in the spar tube, but full blown inter-granular corrosion that was raising bumps on the spar tube. This requires an expensive center spar and many hours of labor to replace it. Not all planes that have this sort of corrosion are “Florida” planes. The corrosion is severe enough on many planes that you have to ask WHEN in the last 20+ years of annual inspections was this overlooked, since it was quite obvious that it hadn’t JUST popped up in the last few months.
Sellers are very fond of speaking highly of the good running of the engine, even though it’s at or very near TBO. The implication, if not outright spoken statement is that TBO is just a “suggestion” and since THIS engine is running so well, has such fine compression and uses negligible oil between changes, that it’s going to reach TBO and even go well beyond.
Of course this is total hogwash. No one can predict the future accurately by relying solely on past events. There are inspections such as the SB388C “Valve Wobble” test to check for hidden wear, and even invasive inspections like pulling cylinders to look at the cam and tappet bodies for spalling and corrosion to help determine if the engine is healthy. The manufacturer (Lycoming) has established a TBO based on field experience. What Lycoming has actually said is the criteria for determining what the REAL TBO for a particular engine should be is in Lycoming SI 1009AR, and is based on 12 calendar years, OR 2000 hours, WHICH EVER COMES FIRST. (Or 2400 for O-235C and O-235L series in the AA-1x, under certain restrictions.)
Now, how do you feel about that 30-year-old engine with “mid-time”? It’s already 250% past it’s factory recommended TBO! Busting the TBO by a few percent is one thing, by 2-1/2 times is another?
The Inspection Process
The inspection should be performed on the plane after the owner and the prospective purchaser have met, flown the plane, and negotiated a price for sale ‘in its stated condition. ‘ The buyer should ask for and the seller should supply a complete list of every known squawk. This along with the Total Time of the airframe, engine and prop, the list of installed equipment and an accounting of the life limited components (spar tubes and wing attach shoulder bolts on AA-5x/AG-5B series, no life limited parts on the AA-1x series) comprise the documentation of the stated condition.
At this point, the price has been agreed to, the buyer wants to purchase the plane, and the seller is willing to sell and warrant the plane to be as represented.
The seller now schedules the Pre-Purchase Inspection, with the intent of determining if the plane meets the stated condition. The purpose is not to pick the airplane to pieces and scare away the buyer or to find thousands of dollars worth of work the seller should pay for, rather it is to establish the true condition of the plane for comparison with the previously prepared squawk list. It’s possible (and desirable) to do a PPI on a WRECKED plane. Again, the purpose is to bring to light the true condition of the plane, so that both parties are aware and accept the current condition as the basis for the sale.
It’s quite common to surprise the owner with items that are worn, cracked, corroded, etc. And the seller and buyer make adjustments in the price to account for them, or the seller has them repaired to everyone’s satisfaction, in order to bring the plane back to the previously stated condition, upon which the sale price was negotiated.
I was talking today with a Grumman owner who was curious what Xmas presents we might have for friends and family to give him this year. Fifty dollars was the target, so we talked about Rudder Springs )sexy right?), air vent kits, nav lense kits, spark plugs (2 for $50), etc.
While we are on Christmas, if you care about your feet being comfortable, then let me tell you about the socks that Luann just bought for me. They are called ‘Spyder’ 3 to a pack and quite comfortable even for long days on the concrete floor of the shop.
New Traveler Emblems
The original Travelers came out with this emblem on the fuselage, below the canopy aft of the pilot. We have just completed this project and have orders a supply.
Also in the works are similar emblems for each of the 2-seaters, Yankee, Trainer, TR-2, T-Cat, and Lynx. We did not leave out the 4-seaters and have the Traveler pictured here, along with Cheetah and Tiger.
Wrench and Elbow Bending
We have scheduled another in this popular series for this coming January in Kahului HI. Bill Baldwin has loaned us the use of his hangar with some overflow. Should bring some much needed maintenance to some of our flock.
Inboard Fuel Tank Leak
I have a fairly recently purchased Tiger that has developed a fuel leak near the wing root right along the rubber trim gasket that goes around the wing. I’m assuming this is bad news and was wondering if you could give me a ballpark quote as to the amount of $ we are talking to reseal the tank.
Since it is leaking in the inboard section, it can only be from three sources.
The tank itself, usually under the spar, that means a inboard rib scrape and clean and a reseal and test, and then maybe another reseal. Figure 1,000 dollars or more.
Fuel or vent lines, not likely but it does happen. Maybe $100.
Fuel sender or fuel sender gasket leaking. Usually just a gasket change after draining the tank. Under $200 for sealing and gasket. More if sender is leaking.
Any long persistent fuel leak will leave a blue stain, if long enough in time, then it will look black and tar like.