Saturday, November 08, 2008

The annual check-up

It’s November and that means it’s time for the Cessna 182 to have its annual inspection. Planes have these inspections for just the same reason that people have yearly checkups—to either avert problems, or catch them while they’re still small. This is especially important to do with aircraft since they are usually airborne while operational, and the need for a quick pit stop would be very difficult or even hazardous. (photo above: Vilankulo Airport, Mozambique where we clear immigration and customs)

It’s quite the rigorous process, and I’m sure glad people don’t have to go through the same thing. Well, come to think of it, maybe we do. You be the judge. I’m not sure what your last check-up was like. ☺

First, the “cowling” is removed to expose the engine so every part can be examined, compressions tests done, etc. Then, the interior is completely dismantled and removed so all the inspection ports can be checked. The wheels get removed so the bearings can be greased, the brakes get checked and so on. I always feel a little embarrassed for the plane at this stage, I mean really, how humiliating! We need some drapes for a little privacy here.

As with any procedure, there are “tools” to help get the job done.

Hey, hold on….what’s a dental pick doing there???

Dwight spent around 4 days working on the job along with John, Daniel and Andrew Herbert. John is a long-time friend and one of the mechanics at Mercy Air. Next week, a Canadian MAF pilot, who is currently serving in Angola, will come to do a final inspection of the aircraft and complete the paper work. So we’ll be here at Mercy Air for a few weeks while this all gets done. It gives us a chance to get other business done as well that we can’t do in Mozambique, and it’s a great chance to connect with our Mercy Air family.

This is Mercy Air’s Beech 18. It was used recently as a double in the movie Amilia Earhart that is due to be released next year (starring Richard Gere and Hilary Swank click here more info). John Herbert did most of the flying that was done in southern Africa for the movie, including the portion over Victoria Falls, which is quite picturesque.

The Beech coming in to land with Ron Wayner in the captain’s seat. If you can see him in the photo, you get to skip your annual eye exam.

1 comment:

The Nelson's Dog Patch said...

So you're at Mercy Air. I'm definitely have to go see that movie when it shows up around here! I laughed out loud at your comment about feeling a little embarassed for the plane during it's check up :) Luke had to come see why I was laughing!

Luv you