November 11, 2009
Jan. 17 - The team of mechanics at Tornado Alley Turbos in Ada, Oklahoma, is finishing up the annual inspection on the AOPA 2001 Sweepstakes Bonanza as this week draws to a close. Mark Schofield and his crew used a detailed annual inspection checklist to insure that the 40-year-old airframe, and all the related systems, will be airworthy for all of 2001.
The 2001 Sweepstakes Bonanza is a 1966 V35 airframe that started life as N14422. First sold in July 1966 to a company in Kansas City, Missouri, N14422 accumulated 601 hours before again being sold in December of 1970 to an aviation insurance underwriting company in New York City.
During the next 15 years, big ticket maintenance items included the installation of a Beech wing tip fuel system kit in 1974; replacement of the left and right fuel cells in 1977; installation of a Continental factory remanufactured engine in 1978; a complete airframe repaint in 1979; and installation of an STCed ruddervator spar strengthening kit in 1984. Even with these projects sidelining the airplane, 2,242 more hours rolled over on the tachometer before the airplane was sold to an individual in Santa Maria, California, in 1985.
During the next 15 years, the airplane was never flown more than 25 hours a year. And although hangared, the airplane was exposed to the regular wet/dry cycles brought on by the local marine layer fog. The prepurchase inspection showed that the airframe was straight, with no damage history, yet the annual turned up a few areas that needed attention because of surface corrosion.
During the annual inspection it was determined that the corrosion was minor and it has been treated. The extensive annual inspection turned up 48 discrepancies. The most serious discrepancy on the list was that the nose wheel needed replacing. Servicing the main landing gear struts, complying with recurrent AD notes, lubing the airframe, and calendar items such as a pitot/static/altimeter check filled out the list. So the first hurdle has been cleared. The airframe is ready.
Next week the engine and turbonormalizer system will be installed. Stand by for more updates. For more on Tornado Alley Turbos Inc., see the Website www.TATurbo.com.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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