April 8, 2013 at 11:00 pm #84128
Jerry Temple wisely told me once, every time you open up an airplane, you face “discovery”.
Right now we are having our C340 painted at Tejas in San Marcos. After stripping the airplane, in general we have found it to be super clean which shows it has been well cared for most of its life. However, we did find a repair done back in 2005 to the RH aileron that was less than optimal – in fact it was unairworthy. The metal on the scratch you see on the pictures below, was paper thin, and the guy that “fixed” this, just covered it up with Bondo filler, along with various other unconventional repairs and filing of rivets to an alarming level. After reviewing our options, it turns out the best course of action was to just find a replacement yellow tagged aileron, rather than wasting time and money fixing it.
I went back and reviewed our logbook records, 337’s, ownership history, and did some Googling which makes everything fairly clear now. The apparent hangar rash on the elevator occurred just before the airplane was sold in 2005. There is one cryptic logbook entry (following the previous year’s annual) that reads:
I certify one ferry fly to this aircraft from Lee’s Summit airport LXT to Kansas City Downtown Airport.
For some reason, someone reluctantly saw the necessity to record a “ferry flight” entry in the logbooks but fails to explain why it would be necessary on an otherwise airworthy aircraft. A few days after this, there is an annual inspection record done by a “free lance” A&P (Googled and found the guys resume) who was between jobs and entered a brief and cryptic notation embedded in the annual sign-off which reads:
Removed and installed RH elevator after paint.
No mention as to why, who, what, when or where. Five days later, the airplane changed ownership and the airplane’s off to the Northwest. The seller was a charter operation based in the midwest.
A year later, a fairly respectable shop in Bend, Oregon, performs an annual and finds damage to the elevator hinge (probably “overlooked” by the free lance mechanic a year before – who was between jobs and had been hired by the eager seller). There is a 337 regarding the hinge repair along with a structural substantiation report for the elevator hinge repair. It appears the shop in Bend, Oregon did most things right but missed the skin/rivet damage since they probably did not strip the entire aileron, but rather patched, fixed and painted the spot where the hinge was without knowing the other “repairs” existed.
Moral of the story – next time you buy an airplane, pay close attention to cryptic logbook entires. Cryptic and elusive notations will typically hide some unpleasantness.
Seven years later, this catches up to me and my wallet… The joys of aircraft ownership!April 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm #98317
Wow! Not a good thing to find. It does amaze me the effort that some people will go to to do something wrong. Glad that you’re getting it done right.April 10, 2013 at 12:44 am #98334
Logbook entries for repair seem to be cryptic quite often. It is left to your imagination to determine what the story is.April 10, 2013 at 1:48 am #98336
I have seen a lot of this in the aircraft appraisal business. It is scary sometimes.
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