N2893Z Annual

Surprisingly another year passed and it was time to bring N2893Z in for annual inspection.  We have now owned this plane for over 2 years and have flown many miles.  We have made multiple trips to Pennsylvania & Michigan to see family, New York City & Charlotte to see friends, Myrtle Beach and Orlando for vacations, and even used the plane to come out to Illinois to look for houses last year.  I also completed my instrument rating in early 2010 in N2893Z.  A quick look at the logbook shows 250 hours and more than 17,000 miles have been traveled!

Last year I took the plane to Cecil Aero Service at 58M for the annual inspection.  I took the week off and worked with Roger and the guys through every step of the process.  I learned so much about the plane and felt very good about being involved with the maintenance on the plane.  One of the things I was concerned about with moving to Illinois was finding another shop that I could trust.  Luckily it didn’t take long as I was referred to Schuler Aircraft Services at Paxton airport (1C1) which is a short hop from Champaign.  Jim Schuler is a mechanic at the University of Illinois Flight School as his day job and does work out of his hangar in Paxton in the evenings and on weekends.  I worked with Jim a few times over the last 6 months or so on miscellaneous items such as oil changes and a starter replacement and I could tell that he was a very knowledgeable mechanic so I scheduled the annual with him.  Jim even agreed to let me be apart of the process again and I even was able to purchase all the items such as oil, filters, and ELT battery prior to the annual to help keep costs down.

I flew the plane up to Paxton on Wednesday 9/28 and Jim and I went to work right away.  We drained the oil and checked compressions right away and all were good.  I went to work opening all the inspection covers, removing the wheel pants and seats.  Upon inspection of the filter we saw a few flakes of metal that were metallic.  I had taken an oil sample so I would send it in the next day.  Even though the cylinders are only 600 hours old it has been about 1930 hours since major overhaul and the engine is starting to show signs that a rebuild is coming.  We decided to increase the frequency and change the oil the next time at 25 hours and continue to monitor.

On Monday we got down to serious business and Jim continued his detailed inspection while I serviced the landing gear.  This is a messy job which entails cleaning and repacking the bearings.  I also turned the tires around as they were showing increased wear towards one side.  By the end of the night we had a list of all the parts I would need to order including brake pads and a capacitor for the alternator to address the whining I hear occasionally.  I also needed to order an exhaust stack for the #2 cylinder as Jim noticed a crack with some evidence of an exhaust leak.  The parts were received by Thursday we started putting everything back together and Jim started addressing some of the smaller items that he noted during the inspection.  He made a repair to the carb heat baffling and the rivets for the air filter enclosure.  I put on the new brakes and put the wheels back on.  Afterwards we set the height of all the wheel struts as the mains were low and the nose gear was high.  On Friday I came up to the shop during the day to vacuum the interior, close up all the inspection covers and reinstall the wheel pants.  Jim would get the exhaust tube and put that in on Friday night.

Saturday morning came and we had almost everything completed.  Jim continued to address some other minor things as I put on the tail cone assemble and cleaned the spark plugs.  By late afternoon everything had been completed and we pushed the plane out of the hangar to start up and do a leak check.  Everything checked out good so we pulled back into the hangar and put the cowling back on.  The only step left was for Jim to complete the documentation which he did on Sunday. Everything was settled up on Monday and I flew N2893Z back to Champaign that afternoon.

It has been another great annual I am glad to have been a part of the process.  My experience from last year helped out quite a bit as I was able to jump in without asking as many questions.  I also learned quite a few things this year as well though.  Jim was very patient and good to work with and I’m glad that I was able to find him.  Here are a couple of snapshots that I took after the annual was completed and when I brought the plane back to KCMI on Monday.

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Sounds like a very good annual and the added bonus of saving $$ on parts. Good post, jogs my memory for what lies ahead the first week of November. Man I hate concrete floors…..

Sounds like a pretty straight forward annual. Good on you! I haven’t checked your blog in a long time. Looks like you’ve made some great trips this last year. Thanks for sharing and I’ll try to check back more often.
Geoff Nelson

Yes, it wasn’t too bad. The IFR Cert a few weeks earlier was a little more than expected as there was a bad switch that is tied into the electric trim and they had to track down and repair some minor leaks on both the pitot and static side. I read your blog as well and I’m sorry to hear that you are grounded right now. Dr. Bruce Chien in Peoria, IL is great when dealing with SI and other medical related issues. He can even consult with your Dr and help expedite things for you. Hope to see you flying again soon!

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