Maintenance - Page 8 Aviation Articles

Brake Wear and Unknown Consequences

It doesn’t pay off to push the limits

strong> Brian McKenzie
Elliott Aviation Accessory Shop Manager

www.elliottaviation.com

Although it can get tempting to push the limits of your brakes, regular maintenance can save you a lot of money in the long run. Brakes can often get neglected and the lower the life, the faster the wear. This is especially true when you are close to 10% of your brake wear remaining. The reason being is that when you approach 10%, your brakes deteriorate at a much faster rate than before due to increased heat. This can lead to unusual wear, cracking and warping that could significantly increase your cost of overhaul. If your structural components get damaged, the increased cost for overhaul could be as much as 50% and if you get in a beyond economical repair situation, you will have to replace the entire core.

 

When maintaining brakes, many times an aircraft operator’s focus is on heat packs and they are the only components that get attention. During a brake overhaul, however, not only are the heat pack components changed but the O-rings are changed as well. The brake housing is inspected for cracks and corrosion and treated with a new paint job. Given that the heat pack components are the bulk of the cost of a brake overhaul, addressing the other components regularly will not only extend the life of the brake but keep down future cost.

Environmental factors to note that tend to accelerate wear include salt and sand. While salt accelerates wear and causes corrosion, sand will cause uneven wear in your brakes and limit their life. Also, if you have any drag on your brakes during takeoff they can warp due to extreme temperature changes in such a small amount of time.

In addition to inspection during an overhaul, there are several best practices you can do yourself that will help extend the life of your brakes. First and foremost, make sure you are always checking for leaks. If you happen to see hydraulic fluid around your landing gear in the hangar, make sure to have your lines inspected right away. Hydraulic fluid can rapidly break down all non-metallic components of your brake assembly and addressing the leak early can save you greater repairs later. Also, check your wear indicator. Each aircraft manual will have a section that will show you how to do this. It’s quick and easy and will help you better understand how much life you have left in the brakes. You can also easily check the paint on the housing itself to see what kind of condition it is in. A good paint job will help to prevent unnecessary corrosion to components.

Brian McKenzie started with Elliott Aviation in 2007 as a Quality Control Inspector and led the development of Elliott Aviation’s Accessory Shop in 2011. He received his A&P in 2004, IA in 2009 and ASNT NDT Level III in 2010. Brian started his career in the US Navy where he was part of the fixed wing and rotor wing maintenance and aircrew. He has maintained airframes and components on a diverse number of aircraft including Beechcraft products, Gulfstreams, Citations, Falcons and helicopters. Brian has also worked for Aero Air, Evergreen International, Flightcraft and Jet Services Inc.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

Determining the Right Cabinet Modifications for Your Aircraft

A little planning upfront can save you a lot of time and money

Jay Scarff
Elliott Aviation Cabinet Technician Team Lead

www.elliottaviation.com

When you think of technology changes affecting your aircraft, your cabinets and woodwork may be the last thing on your mind. However, many modifications you are considering could benefit from upfront planning with the cabinet shop you are working with. Not only do new upgrades in laminates and veneers involve the cabinet technicians, but items such as audio visual mods (including wide screen monitors, DVD or BluRay players, sound systems and cabin management systems) all have direct involvement with your cabinet shop.

For example, we have many requests to either install or modify cabin monitors to accommodate high-definition, wide-screen displays. Depending on what type of aircraft you have and whether you currently have monitors installed, modifying your cabinets to accommodate wider screens may cause you to lose structure in your cabinets. If this is a potential issue, your cabinet technicians will need to determine how much structure will be left and whether it will pass inspection. If there is an issue, you could potentially still make the modification with some reengineering to the structure.

Another thing you may not take into account when installing monitors is seat height. Monitors placed directly over a seat will often get blocked by head rests and, if someone is sitting in that seat, they can completely block the screen. If you do not have room to place your monitor in a proper location, you can solve the issue by installing pull out monitors. .

In addition to monitors, when you install a DVD or BluRay player, subwoofer, or a cabin entertainment system close outs have to be fabricated in your cabinets to allow for access to easily serviceable components. When you are installing these accessories, you always have to keep in mind that you have to utilize every square inch of space while keeping everything looking nice.

In addition to the more technical components, more traditional changes to your woodwork or cabinets may have also evolved since you last made changes. Many older laminates have been discontinued. Since laminate cannot be repaired, the only option you have is to re-laminate. If your current laminate pattern is not available, you will either have mismatched laminate or will have to redo all of your cabinets. That is why for a longer-term solution I usually recommend veneer. Veneer typically lasts about 30% longer, has a stronger finish, allows you to repair scratches and offers you endless options as far as species. Laminate only really offer you a handful of colors.

Jay Scarff has been fabricating and installing cabinets since 1990. His vast experience includes custom fabrication for aircraft, commercial and residential construction and disaster restoration. Jay joined Elliott Aviation in 2006.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA) .

A Wrench in your Deal

Or a Screw in your wing?

Jim Odenwaldt -Elliott Aviation Aircraft Sales Manager www.elliottaviation.com

Last month we touched on technical expertise and use of available resources during pre-buy (otherwise known as survey). We have all had bumps in the road as we move deals towards completion. Sometimes, it can be tough to get sellers and buyers to agree on price and terms when the pre-buy list is distributed. Here is a short story illustrating how the use of these skills assisted in delivering the best possible outcome.

Earlier this year, we had a light jet at an OEM service center for a pre-buy. It had come directly from a well-known non-OEM service center facility where a complete inspection had just been conducted for the seller, based on the calendar requirements of the maintenance program, prior to the deal being structured. The seller assumed that no major issues would be found as this inspection had just been completed.

At the OEM service center, during the pre-buy, however, a section of the leading edges was removed for a detailed inspection of the area. It was discovered a countersunk screw that was ¼" too long had inadvertently been installed in the corner of the panel. As this fastener was headed toward being flush on the outside, it was gouging into the structure underneath. The damage was beyond the allowable percentage of skin thickness. The service center had to call OEM Engineering to devise a repair, which could take up to three weeks at an undetermined cost. They did offer a 30 flight hour waiver so we had the option to move the aircraft to P&I, the next scheduled stop after closing. Either way, it had to be fixed.

The non-OEM shop that conducted the inspection sent representatives and ultimately took responsibility for the improper fastener. They agreed to cover the cost of the repairs but found it unacceptable to wait three weeks to get a repair scheme from OEM Engineering with no cost estimate. The buyer was willing to close and have the repair made during P&I but the company who offered to pay the bill, understandably, wasn’t going to offer their checkbook carte blanche.

I went to the buyer and presented the idea of having an independent DER devise a repair procedure and take the aircraft back to the non-OEM facility to conduct the repairs. This would accelerate the schedule and allow them to fix their own mistake. Thankfully, they agreed! We finished the inspection, settled the bill and had the aircraft towed back across the airport. The DER was able to quickly formulate a plan, and the work was completed in about two weeks. We were very fortunate all parties were very reasonable. Everyone proceeded with integrity and patience so this one was able to get done.

Jim Odenwaldt has extensive flying and technical experience with all Beechcraft products and sales expertise with all models of Hawker/Beech, Citation and Gulfstream. After graduating from Embry-Riddle in 1989, Jim worked as a CFI and maintenance technician. While with American Beechcraft Company, he was responsible for aircraft sales in the mid-Atlantic region. In addition to his ATP, Jim is an A&P and type rated in the Beechcraft Premier.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA).

Slander of Title: The Risk of Filing an Invalid Aircraft Mechanic's Lien

An individual recently called me and told me he wanted to file a mechanic's lien against an aircraft. When I asked him what type of work he had performed he indicated that he had performed some maintenance on the aircraft and also provided pilot services to the owner in the aircraft. Unfortunately, in this individual's state, as is the case in most other states, pilot services are not the type of work upon which an aircraft mechanic's lien may be based. When I told him that, he asked why he couldn't just file the lien for the full amount and then worry about whether he could collect for the pilot services component of the lien down the road. I answered that this was not a good idea. Here's why.

One defense an aircraft owner may assert in response to a lien claimant's attempt to enforce a mechanic's lien against an aircraft is that the lien is invalid because the lien claimant is knowingly demanding an amount in excess of what is justly due. This defense is very common in situations where the aircraft owner initially disputed the amount being charged by the lien claimant. It is also common where the lien claimant is trying to get paid for work that is not lienable work, such as the pilot services in the above-situation. Although this defense usually requires that the aircraft owner show bad faith on the part of the lien claimant or that the lien claimant knew the lien statement was overstated, that isn't necessarily hard to do when the lien is for work that is not allowed under the applicable mechanic lien statute.

And here is the risk a lien claimant may be exposed to if his or her mechanic lien is invalid: If the aircraft owner is successful in defending against the foreclosure proceeding, the aircraft owner will also probably succeed in a slander of title claim against the lien claimant. An aircraft owner asserting a slander of title claim alleges that the lien claimant improperly encumbered the aircraft with an invalid lien. A slander of title claim could have serious and expensive implications for the lien claimant if the improper lien prevented a sale of the aircraft or forced the aircraft owner to accept less in a sale than he or she would have in the absence of a lien.

The moral of the story? Perfecting and enforcing an aircraft mechanic's lien can be tricky. In addition to the federal filing requirement, each state has its own specific requirements governing aircraft mechanic's liens. Lien claimants should understand what their particular state laws allow and require in order to assert an aircraft mechanic's lien. When in doubt, contact an aviation attorney familiar with your state's aircraft mechanic's lien laws to analyze your situation and help you choose the best course of action.

Soaring with Tubreaux Over the Seabase at Oshkosh

This year was my first trip to Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture. I knew going in that there would be too much to see in one week – especially when I was seeking great stories to take in and put to print. But volume wasn’t my goal – a rich experience was what I needed. And on Thursday, I received the richest experience that many people don’t – even experienced pilots. I took my first ride in a seaplane!

I rode out to the Seabase, wondering how many patrons have never set foot in this area of Oshkosh. After all, it is a bit of a drive – about 20 minutes by bus (free to get there, $3.00 to return), and since the warbirds and airshows are all right there and easily accessible, the temptation to "go with what you know" is strong.

But once I emerged from the walking trail from the parking lot and campground to the base itself, I couldn’t help but wonder what those that have overlooked it know what they’re missing! The lush green land overlooking Lake Winnebago exudes a naturally relaxing atmosphere. The shelter house, built to handle maybe a couple hundred visitors at once, plus a giant fire pit on the shore still smoldering, reminded me of many of my scouting experiences. If Henry David Thoreau was alive today, this is where he’d hang his hat.

While there were docks around, all were in use. So when pilot Jeremy Williams of Tubreaux Aviation (pronounced "Two Bros") landed and floated up in his 1959 P-18 Super Cub, I shucked my shoes and socks and waded on out. It’s no easy trick for a large guy like me to slide into the rear seat, but I wasn’t deterred! Once I was strapped in and headset was in place, we glided out into the lake, accelerated, and off the water a moment later.

Now I’m not a big fan of heights (I know, I picked an odd profession then, didn’t I?), but Williams’ skill on the stick made the ride as smooth as glass, and I never once felt uncomfortable. He offered to let me try my hand, but I was enjoying myself way too much to change it up. As with anything that’s truly great, the ride was over way too soon, and I climbed down the float back into the water.

Shortly thereafter, I sat down with Wyche Coleman, co-owner of Tubreaux Aviation, to find out more about what makes them tick. I was surprised to find that giving fluffy journalist seaplane rides was just one thing they do!

"Luke Lambard and I built a hanger together. I was constantly being approached by people wanting to learn how to fly, since there wasn’t a place in Shreveport at that time training for licenses. So rather than sending people to Dallas for instruction, we decided to branch out. Jeremy was our first instructor – now we’re up to five full-time instructors."

Coleman and Lambert didn’t stop there, however. "When crew chief Dax Wanless expressed a desire to open his own maintenance shop, we saw the need and made the investment. Now we have three full-time mechanics with 20+ years of experience as an A&P/IA, we’re seeking a fourth, and looking to add avionics as well. We recently added acquisitions and sales to services offered, although we’ve been doing this for years already. There is no other place in Northern Louisiana that can teach you to fly, help you buy your aircraft, hanger and maintain it, all in one place!"

Coleman, an ophthalmologist by trade, has been coming to Oshkosh for a while, first flying there as a part of the 2003 Stars of Tomorrow (all pilots under 30 at that time). Now his brother Kevin, at 23, was flying in the airshow for his second year.

Once our conversation had ended, I wondered around to get a few photos, take some more video, change batteries in the camera, etc. – anything I could think to do to remain at the Seabase just a little longer. When we return in 2014, you’ll likely find me there again!

Check out the video of the Super Cub coming in for a landing, from the open door cockpit!

180 degree panoramic view of the Seabase in Oshkosh, 2013

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