Laurie asked if I would write a few words to tell what is going on in the hanger, since that’s why AIM Air asked for our help. I’ll try to give her a bi-weekly update to include as a part of her communications.
The first week started slow with helping to take care of the administrative side of the maintenance operation. A slow start was great as I was dealing with adjusting to the 7 hour time change from home and new ways of doing business.
A torque wrench is used to consistently tighten hardware to a given value. At home, MMS, the FAA requires that torque wrenches be calibrated at least annually and our Chief Inspector makes certain all our wrenches are in compliance. Here the Quality Manager and his designees normally take care of this for AIM but they are all out country temporarily on home assignment or permanently, having fulfilled their commitment. So my first task was torque wrench calibration.
I acquainted myself with their calibrating equipment, how their system requires the wrenches be tested and how to log the data. Though the equipment isn’t the same make or model, I was really glad I had used our test equipment at home and my statistical process control training from years ago came into play. I don’t know how many wrenches I tested but it kept me busy for a couple of days. Then I started over again with their micrometers, a measuring device, calibration.
At home the FAA requires an aircraft be inspected annually but a commercial operator can fulfill the annual inspection requirements by doing phase inspections at given calendar or aircraft operating time intervals. The advantage of phase inspections is that a detailed annual can take an airplane out of service for a considerably amount of time while phase inspections allow this time to be broken into smaller out of service periods.
Wednesday of the second week we, Marco and Joseph (two Kenyan nationals) and I, started a phase inspection on 5Y-CMA, a Cessna 206, and the airplane closest to you in the picture above. Neither of the men are certified \ licensed mechanics but they both are quite sharp and have been through many phase inspections. Joseph and I started on the engine and Marco took everything else. The engine was ran; the oil and filter were changed; the spark plugs removed, cleaned, inspected, and reinstalled; ignition timing verified; and then the propeller was greased. Marco removed the seats so he could inspect under the floor; removed the wing inspection panels; lubricated moving parts; and checked control travel.
We had a deadline of noon Friday because a flight was scheduled at 2PM. We were doing really well until Joseph found a crack starting in a piece of the nose landing gear. And while we were examining the crack we found some sticky residue which indicated the gear could be seeping fluid. Rather than change piece parts we remove the nose gear assembly and installed a replacement that had just been rebuilt. Even with the unplanned work, the airplane was complete and the paperwork signed by 5:15PM.
Until the next update,