Saturday, July 18, 2009

Time for Rejuvenation-taking the plane out of the water

My plane's paint was getting very tired, the floats were leaking, and parts of the interior could use some love. It has given and given and given over the years. It has sat out in the summer sun...through numerous thunder storms...and alone all winter in the cold. I think it knows that our other airplanes live in hangars.

The 25 year old paint job has done its work, and the floats are starting to leak more than they should. So how does one deal with the rejuvenation of a plane that lives at a dock? You put the plane on a trailer, take the wings off, and drive the plane to a hangar for the work to be done. I had a really good final flight and parked the plane back on the trailer, which is really just a pontoon boat trailer with the bunks set at the proper width for the floats. It was very sad to park it for the last time for months

The first step was to drain all the fuel from the wings, otherwise it would be messy when we removed them. This took about 30 minutes. While that was happening the mechanic, Kevin, started unhooking things like control cables and flaps. Once that was done we stood precariously on the bed of the truck holding the wing tips while Kevin took out the four bolts that connect each wing to the plane. Two hold the strut on and two hold the wing root to the plane. In about 3 hours we had everything dealt with and I watched my dearly loved plane drive away. It would be months before I could fly it again.

Ahead of us we had stripping, fixing everything we can find to fix, replacing the glass, updating some of the avionics, replacing the carpet and the insulation, repairing the floats, and generally doing everything to the plane that can and needs to be done while the paint is not an issue--cosmetic things that have been put off for years because it might mess up the paint. I should get back a plane in excellent shape that looks like new. So she would be down for a while. I would spend more money than I planned. There would be unexpected issues to be dealt with. For now I would just have to fly other types of planes, dream of my rejuvenated plane to come, and pine for for seaplane flying.

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