It’s -45f outside and I need to fly tomorrow. Probably not going to happen, -30 is my cut off flying solo and -20 when I have passengers. It’s just too hard on equipment and people. Besides no one can come help fast enough if we have trouble. On the bright side, we just got confirmation that we have the funding in place to build our hangar. So maintenance and preflights will be much easier starting next fall! Keep an eye on the Hangar Project page for updates.
The Maule is back in Missionary Aviation Repair Center‘s hangar for it’s annual inspection. It has gone well which is a by product of taking good care of the bird and doing preventative maintenance along the way. We of have a couple of big ticket items on the horizon though. The engine has an AD (recall in automotive terms) that requires that I replace the crankshaft in 13 months, we are getting estimates now. I also need to replace a servo on the autopilot next year and replace the outdated Emergency Locator Transmitter to the current standard. Keep an eye on the Ongoing Project page for more updates on the Maule’s maintenance.
It seems that it is always a balancing act, short-term benefits verses long-term cost. Do you spend a little more now to save big down the road or do save a little now only to pay big-time later? These are the things that rattle around my brain especially after coming out of a major annual inspection of the Maule a couple of months ago.
After nine years of being kept outside and operated in the harsh Alaska environment the Maule was in need of a very through going over. The fuel system was weeping at various places, the carburetor needed overhaul, several instruments needed calibration and there were a lot of things that need re-torqued or adjusted. We also had to repair the results of the airplane being a corner post for the airport fox. The right main wheel was starting to corrode from where he would “mark” his territory every spring. Most of these were things I had decided could wait till later during other inspections but now was the time to make it right.
A special thank-you to the folks at Missionary Aviation Repair Center for their help and expertise. Without their involvement a lot of these things would have been put off even longer which would only increase the cost and difficulty to fix. This is what got me thinking about so many other things in life that are the same way as an airplane. So many times the cost is not monetary, it could be time, relationships or any number of other resources. Are you counting the cost of putting something off till later when you know it should be done now?
This week I have been in Soldotna at Missionary Aviation Repair Center doing the annual inspection on the Maule. It has gone very well, we have been able to fix many little things that are hard to do without a hangar and extra hands. Today I was ready to go back home excited to have an airplane that was in top shape again. However… As I flew to Kenai (less than 10 minutes away) for a required instrument recertification the carburetor started to act weird. After more investigation it was determined that it needs to be rebuilt, only problem is that it will be next week before the overhaul shop in Anchorage can get to it. So I am flying home commercially and will come back when we get all the parts back. Thankfully this failure happened when I was close to great help and resources and not while over the rugged and unforgiving Alaska Range on my way home. Mechanical things break, that is just what they do. God protected me from disaster, that is just what He does.