Check your cowl after any work

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by benyflyguy, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy En-Route

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    Friend of mine opened his cowl to check the oil. Has a lot of flying coming up next week. Plane was in a shop a few months ago for 100/200hour.
    02409643-32D3-4B3F-B7CF-C5913627F73C.jpeg
    (not sure why posting upside down)

    Retrospectively he thought that engine was running just a tad hot compared to the other one.
     
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  2. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I used to think an A&P friend was kind of OCD about his tools (foam cutouts, everything in its place)... but then he explained how we can make sure no tools have been left in the airplane... he always always always did an inventory of his tools after working on an aircraft.
     
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  3. rk911

    rk911 Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    there ya go...

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. ETres

    ETres Line Up and Wait

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    I know a guy who had an overheating problem on his first flight after annual, so he diverted to the nearest airport. Upon removing the cowling, he found the mechanics JACKET.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  5. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    I deliver mine without the cowl for repair...
     
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  6. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    Now there is a mechanic who did NOT know where his towel was.....definitely not thanking him for all the fish.
     
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  7. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    who is responsible for stuff left in your aircraft?
     
  8. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    Trick question.

    I swear, if my mechanic didn't to a thorough once-over before cowling up my airplane, I'd really be ****ed! And, it wouldn't be the first time I was mad at myself...
     
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  9. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Line Up and Wait

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    I found a big screwdriver in the lower cowl of a Bonanza. It had the mechanics name engraved on it.
     
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  10. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    In the Air National Guard we had to check each tool out of the toolbox and then check it back in.

    A friend had a torque wrench migrate out the front air intake of his Cessna 180. It went through the prop.....pieces pierced the oil cooler and destroyed the cowling. This was RIGHT over Hells Canyon.
     
  11. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had a rule with the mechanics that serviced my plane: leave the cowl off and we'll reinstall it when I'm there after inspecting the engine compartment.

    I instituted that rule after finding a plastic oil bottle in the engine one time - it had been used when replacing the oil filter.
     
  12. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Stuff like that should have a length of red surveyor's tape attached to it. Makes it harder to overlook.
     
  13. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Shortly after I first got my rating, I took my granddad and my mom up - we flew over where my granddad farmed/ranched and my mom grew up. Cold winter day, strong north wind, set the 172 up for min controllable airspeed, turned into the wind - ground speed = 0 -- was very cool. Go back, land nice flight etc...

    Next day, getting ready to head back to where I lived - pre-flighting the plane - I was at the spinner and something caught my eye as I had taken a step. I step back and look - I see an 8" socket drive laying in the cowling. I was livid - and - scared - didn't know how I could have missed it before I took my mom and granddad up and scared at what could have happened and mad that it was there. I took it out, presented it back to the company that maintained the rental along with a piece of my mind. Very vivid memory to this day.

    Dean
     
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  14. A Martin

    A Martin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wait till you find an empty whiskey bottle in the engine compartment.
     
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  15. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    One of the very few things I really hate about my Mooney is there are at least a hundred screws holding on the cowling. Uncowling the engine enough to get a good look is the work of a half hour or more, and then they have to be replaced, and the screws don't always like to go in the way they came out doncha know. I have a really good mechanic, and I think I'm more likely to screw the pooch than him. But I certain do miss being able to just unlatch the cowlings and look at the engine, the way I used to on my Cherokee.
     
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  16. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    It takes about 2 minutes to open the cheeks on my Mooney and inspect the entire engine compartment and reinstall them. If you don’t have the removable cheeks, you have a serious problem.
     
  17. TylerSC

    TylerSC Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I once found a soldering iron in its case in the engine bay of my new Honda.
     
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  18. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    You must be the flash then. Like I said, lots and lots of screws, and they aren't always easily put back in.
     
  19. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    I opened this thread thinking I was going to get to contribute my first night flight post-annual this year. I'm glad I took off after dark, otherwise I wouldn't have noticed that the landing light was unplugged until I got home and could attempt my first no-landing-light landing (PA-28 with the landing light mounted to lower cowl, so there is a 2-pin connector that you unplug to remove the cowl). Or maybe the time the fuel valve handle came off in my hand in the Cub while flying it home from annual.

    Instead, I find myself trying to remember which episode it was of Ice Pilots NWT where a hammer left in the plane led to one main gear not coming down, and they got to land (I think) a Lockheed Electra on the nose and one main.

    Whether it's a part left out or a tool left in, the first flight after maintenance can be dangerous.
     
  20. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    It's amazing the "extras" you can find post-annual. I've found crescent wrenches, nice socket wrenches, rags, and screwdrivers atop the engine when opening the cowling for post annual preflight inspection. I don't use that shop anymore.
     
  21. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    Back in my Navy days tool box was inventoried at the start and end of every job. We had planes return to base for a missing tool. That mechanic cleaned heads for a month after that.. Not me by the way
     
  22. Southpaw

    Southpaw Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I am still non soloed student pilot . When my C172 came up for annual the A&P IA came to my airport , picked up plane , flew it to his hanger across the continental divide. Did the annual , delivered the plane back and put it in the hanger. His plane was hangered in my hanger all the while. 3.3 hours flight time total added to get it annuled . Was nice as I have lost 2 friends crossing that divide .
     
  23. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Haha in A&P school our instructor said to never engrave your tools for this exact reason.
     
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  24. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Humans are fallible. I’ve seen this in every sector of aerospace I’ve been in- tools and crap left over from the factory, mechanics leaving tools in engines or not torquing/installing stuff in correctly and causing more damage or a crash. Tools and flashlights being left in satellites that are now in geo orbit.
     
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  25. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You don't like getting free tools? ;-)
     
  26. A Martin

    A Martin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Happens to astronauts too ..... the capsule would reach zero gravity and stuff in the cabin would float up from hidden places .... including nuts , bolts , washers , rivets , drill bits and small tools that had been "inadvertently left behind" by aerospace workers.

    One experienced commander would wait until his rookie crew showed concern and then deadpan ....... " This spacecraft was built by the company that submitted the cheapest bid"
     
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  27. aftCG

    aftCG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Found a super nice brass punch in the back of my plane (tail dragger, ANYTHING you drop can be found in the back of the plane in minutes, even a washer in a parked plane. I'll state this was not a safety issue like y'all's situation.
    Used it a few times. Tempting to keep actually but my mother would haunt me from her grave. So I walked it over to the mechanic
    I watched a few emotions flash across his face in seconds. I didn't need to say a thing.
     
  28. Ryanflyer

    Ryanflyer Filing Flight Plan

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    Years ago, my post annual inspection of the engine compartment (before any engine start) revealed that a mechanic had positioned two spark leads so that each was in direct contact with an exhaust pipe. Quickly remedied with the shop owner using it as a teaching moment for the young mechanic who had reinstalled the plugs.
     
  29. ElPaso Pilot

    ElPaso Pilot Pattern Altitude

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    Don't forget surgeons -- oh wait, they're humans too.

    [​IMG]
     
  30. George Mohr

    George Mohr Line Up and Wait

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  31. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    USAF policy was if a pilot lost a pencil in cockpit the Ejection Seat would

    be pulled before next flight.
     
  32. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Of course! Tools are expensive and you don't want to be just giving them away! :eek:

    I always treat a first flight after any maintenance as a test flight. No passengers, thorough preflight inspection, thorough run-up pre-takeoff checks, and stay in close to the airport for the first several minutes of the flight. Doesn't have to be a long flight, just a quick test flight to make sure everything works as advertised.
     
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  33. aterry1067

    aterry1067 Pre-Flight

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    Yup, if it couldn't be located, same with the little buttons that would get kicked off the control stick grip when they climbed into or out of the cockpit. I have spent many hours hanging upside down in a cockpit looking for crap that pilots had dropped. And have also worked many 12+ hour shifts looking for a tool missing from some mechanics tool box....or even better, a piece of a broken tool.


    I don't own an airplane yet, but things described in this thread (and a few others) makes me want to go the experimental route more and more. I do most of my own maintenance on all of my cars and bikes, and I would like to do the same with an airplane.
     
  34. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yes, the great thing about an E-AB (or E-LSA) is you can do all your own work (except perhaps the condition inspection - depends...). But the down side is that if you don't get it done, it doesn't get done. My ride ain't flew since some time mid November. Engine came off for a water pump seal (Rotax 912) and when I went to re-hang it last Sunday, I found some *&%)^%$ previous owner had (*&^% up installing engine mount bushings and then the wife called and said it was time to come home. So, wait for Saturday. Then I can hang it. Then I can purge the oil system (did I mention it's a Rotax 912?). Then I can sync the carbs (on account of Rotax). Then, who knows, I might even be able to fly it.

    :)
     
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  35. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you want to do maintenance on your airplane there are a lot of

    A & Ps that will work with you.

    Key is establishing a relationship first and discussing any non Preventative ,

    Maintenance before wrenching.

    PM is itemized in FAR 43 and is quite broad in scope.

    PM you do as licensed pilot/owner on your own.

    Other tasks require oversight,
     
  36. RadialGal

    RadialGal Filing Flight Plan

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    I once did a cross country with a friend (as in he flew a second 172) and after we landed I watched as a full sized racoon scrambled out of the bottom of the cowling of his a/c!
     
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  37. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Pattern Altitude

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    My other safety note on this is a time I do owner allowed maintenance I make note to check the area I worked on over again in next preflight.

    recently had plugs out- next preflight I’ll grab em all and look over the wires even though I know I torqued each one to spec... just another redundancy to catch maintenance induced problems
     
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  38. Magman

    Magman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Several PA 28 s with fiberglass cowlings have had the Top Cowling depart.

    Might take an oil cooler, windshield or stabilizer parts with it.

    Assure security of forward pins.
     
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  39. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I would have loved seeing that myself. Raccoons are quite funny little animals (as long as they are not in my house or my trash can)
     
  40. mandm

    mandm Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When I did a runup the rpms wouldn’t drop. Later found out the new mags were not grounded.