Disastrous First (and Last) Annual - Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by obw, Jan 22, 2021.

  1. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    Thanks. My worst nightmare is it disintegrating mid flight, and I'm very grateful that didn't happen. But yeah.
     
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  2. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Did the mechanic find the corr then removed the insulation or did he remove insulation first then find corr?
     
  3. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    RV-9, 160 kts on 8 gph of mogas. New, pristine airframe. Do your own condition inspections. By the time you are signed off on the 25 mile restriction you will have forgotten all about this
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  4. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    He saw corrosion at the tail by shining his flashlight down the back on the inside, and became suspicious. He then removed the vertical stabilizer and saw significant corrosion in both the fin and the fuselage at the back of the plane. Now he was very concerned since he saw some mild corrosion in the baggage area but thought something bigger might have been covered it. He then removed the headliner and called me with the bad news....
     
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  5. Gary

    Gary En-Route

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    OUCH!! Those pictures are sad to view!!

    Not sure I could offer any useful advice. A second opinion couldn't hurt, BUT, from what Im seeing, this could be ugly. Not sure I'd be ready to bring in the legal beagles - yet. I cannot fathom how the previous mechanics missed all this during annual/pre-buys. Whoever put their names on the last inspection stating that the aircraft was airworthy really was missing the boat, incompetent or just didn't look. How any decent mechanic could miss the fact that wing spar nuts/bolts were missing borders on criminal. Get everything documented, maybe a trip to the FAA isn't a bad start.
     
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  6. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    So let me get this straight. You take aircraft to him for an annual inspection. He sees something during the inspection but instead of making a list of discrepancies he disassemble your aircraft without your knowledge and then calls you before he finishes the inspection?
     
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  7. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    Was the Cherokee shot down over the pacific in 1944 and only recently recovered? I think I've seen WWII planes recovered with less corrosion than that.
     
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  8. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    He spotted the tail corrosion during the inspection and asked me if it was OK if he checked it out further because he was concerned. I agreed.
     
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  9. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now we know why the last owner sold it.

    Who did the engine overhaul? Given the condition of the airframe, I'd be wondering whether the engine is also a POS.
     
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  10. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Agreed. There probably isn’t a route where you will ever see a financial payback through litigation. I absolutely would not let this lack of professionalism go un checked. If not for your self, do it for the other people who may trust the previous mechanics.
     
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  11. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    OBW - where are you located?

    But definitely get a second opinion, for no other reason than to document all the identified problems as well as any others that may be found. Then, and only then, do you take the next step, whether it's a report to the local FSDO or call a really good aviation attorney or call a salvage shop. Or combination.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  12. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    The mechanics, of course, will say the nuts/bolts were in place. No way to prove otherwise. But the corrosion? No way that happens over the short term. Even if the FAA can't do anything to them, I suspect all of them will get a good reminder about their professional responsibilities.
     
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  13. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    Plane is in Taunton MA (KTAN). I already have calls into salvage yards...
     
  14. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you're going to complain to the FAA about prior mechanics, the FSDO may well want to look at the plane themselves....
     
  15. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    They will have a non affiliated mechanic review the airplane and make a squawk list. Been down this road before, not as severe as the OP extent thankfully. Given the multiple people this oversight passed through I wouldn’t expect serious action. They will get a stern talking to, maybe probation, at worst they will have their license suspended until they re-take the written test.
     
  16. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I'd go that route. The only thing left is revenge.
     
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  17. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    Um, let's be clear here. This is absolutely not something one normally comes across in an annual inspection. In fact it's probably something that should be reported as you'd definitely want to find out how a couple of wing spar nuts went missing. It may be an error or it may be a material defect of some sort that could affect others.
     
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  18. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Yup. That level of corrosion didn't just happen in the last two or three years. Which highlights the big factor in all of this: Annual inspections that are little more than an oil change and a preflight check. There is no way that this sort of thing would get past an inspection that complied with FAR43 Appendix D. Some excerpts:

    (a) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall, before that inspection, remove or open all necessary inspection plates, access doors, fairing, and cowling.

    (f) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) all components of the wing and center section assembly for poor general condition, fabric or skin deterioration, distortion, evidence of failure, and insecurity of attachment.

    (g) Each person performing an annual or 100-hour inspection shall inspect (where applicable) all components and systems that make up the complete empennage assembly for poor general condition, fabric or skin deterioration, distortion, evidence of failure, insecure attachment, improper component installation, and improper component operation.

    You can see that the corroded fin and stab attachment and missing spar bolt nuts should have been caught years ago. $200 annuals don't buy you proper inspections. All you're paying for is a signature, not safety.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  19. NordicDave

    NordicDave Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    @obw What a gut punch. Don't rule out a low consumption legal route.

    @Dan Thomas comments above are good insights.

    A strongly worded legal letter outlining a case for the Pre-buy mechanic, and last 2 IA's which inspected the aircraft might need to pony up. Part of the letter should be threatening action with the FAA. People lose their credentials over stuff like this. The IA's or the shop they work for may even carry insurance. Some do and some don't. Sounds like malpractice or even fraud from several parties.

    Easy to make an accusation of fraud and negligence from the previous A&P who painted the plane, and the A&P/IA inspecting the carry through spar.

    With low time, bet the plane was a ramp rat the A&P pulled out of the weather and painted over.

    Even if you decide to just move-on, Some of these characters need to come to the attention of the FAA.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  20. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Not normally, no. But I did ferry a 172 once, and subsequently found the lower strut attachment bolts were missing their nuts. There was a long list of almost-equally shocking findings on that airplane, including a stabilizer forward spar that was broken completely through.
     
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  21. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    Wow. I hope she wasn’t flown with the bolts off
     
  22. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    Are the wings good? Is the fuselage repairable?

    If so, there are a crap ton of vertical stabilizers on this planet, should be able to find one that decent.

    Or at that point maybe you can get some decent $$$ for what still good.
     
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  23. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Final Approach

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    And people have the temerity of casting shade on the E-AB mx rules and allowances as "the" slippery slope in this sector. Un-f---real, this fac-built moral hazard swamp. This is why my delta_capex on fac-built is staying at $0 until I fully exit to EAB. Patronizing this stuff is defending the indefensible anymore, but I'm still railing from the latest moral hazard AD on my lap, so I digress. To each their own.

    I'd def put the prior mechanics and that POS airline time builder who sold it to ya, right on blast. That plausible deniability shtick may work for the courts, but we all recognize that kind of damage doesn't happen overnight. Pushing it forward on someone is criminal in my moral code. Allegedly/presumably flying with the 2 missing bolts per wing from the eddy current inspection? JHC. That has to be investigated, even if to put it on the record wrt the inspecting party. That could have led to an overstress condition on the spars, and get you killed. At best, initiating the crack the inspection was meant to guard against in the first place. All around this whole arc of a situation is a football bat of moral hazards.

    I'd be 100% be the squeaky wheel with the FSDO over this, just for the catharsis and stress-inducing value onto the aggrieving parties. It would be 100% worth the effort if I was in said position.


    --break break--
    As to the salvage and parting-out angle, I'm actually quite interested in the answer to that, as it is unlikely I'll ever overhaul the engine on my current plane. I've never dealt with the salvage side of the house, though frankly I've tired of the buy/sell kabuki. Salvaging it, parting out, or going the static display route like @Ted did with the Aztec would be an easy way of recouping a few nickels after I'm done getting the utility value out of the purchase.

    Like @Morgan3820 suggested, I've too also been toying with the idea of ripping the 430w+indicator out of it on my way out, and putting it in whatever RV I get to replace it. Thought about the engine, but I'm told an angle valve 360 plus heavy hartzell CS prop combo is too much engine for the nose of an 6A (which I'm inclinded to agree). But that's on a timed out engine, I'd figure on a freshly overhauled unit like you're sitting on, the resale value would be much better.

    Keep us posted.
     
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  24. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    To clarify, "static display" isn't exactly what I did. I sold it to an A&P school and to my knowledge they are still using it to train the next generation of A&Ps. That is an option, and you can donate it as well to such places. The A&P school where I learned to fly had a number of donated airplanes, including a 727 from FedEx.
     
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  25. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow, a disgusting shame to all those who knew about it or missed it. Especially the missing spar bolt nuts. I wouldn't look at this whole situation with a soft glove and just give a pass on it. People are paid to inspect, to know, to fix, and to help those trusting these airplanes to not kill us. Just think if you had hit some serious turbulence that the airplane couldn't handle but should have. The accident report would have discovered all of this and it would have been a monumental event.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  26. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 En-Route

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    Holy hell... here comes another Piper AD

    just kidding

    @obw ... sorry you're having to go through this. That's a total heartbreaker. I really hope something works out to cushion the blow. :(
     
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  27. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Considering no one here on PoA has personally seen your aircraft yet you're ready to sell it as salvage then no use offering other options. Regardless, for what it's worth, based on the very limited info/pics you've provided I did not see anything earth shattering that would require scrapping the aircraft. But to each their own. Good luck.
     
  28. obw

    obw Pre-Flight

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    I'm definitely interested in hearing options. One of them is scrapping the plane, hence the call to the salvage shops to see what it might be worth, but I haven't made any decisions. The feedback from the forum has been very helpful, and I'm all ears.
     
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  29. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    If the previous owner was in the habit of cheaping out on annuals, who's to say that the engine overhaul wasn't also a shade-tree affair? That engine might have the original 1962 cylinders on it, just honed a bit for the new rings but with the original corrosion pits still visible and maybe worn beyond service limits. Those old cylinders also had a habit of cracking their heads between the sparkplug holes and valve seats. Are the magnetos just cleaned-up 1962 mags? How about the carb and fuel pump?

    I'd be checking a bunch on that engine, including the parts list on the overhaul work order and the list of ADs addressed at the time. If there's no such paperwork I'd get really suspicious.
     
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  30. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yikes, that's the kind of rust I expect to see on a 30 year old pickup truck not a supposedly airworthy aircraft. Never seen one that bad that wasn't already wreckage. Sorry that happened to you, man. At least nobody had to find out in the air.
     
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  31. Unkljohn

    Unkljohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That sucks! Sorry you have to deal w that. Good luck.
     
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  32. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    Wow that is bad. Cut your losses.
     
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  33. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Dunno if you're aware, or if he said it earlier in the thread, but Bell206 is an A&P, as well as being SGOTI.
     
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  34. AGLyme

    AGLyme Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I would say that were extremely Un-Lucky... and LUCKY to have found these issues. Sure it sucks from a $ perspective, but better the issues were found on the ground. I hope this cautionary tale sparks some headliner removals and the usage of tons of flashlight batteries... good work on sharing your story, you may have saved a life or two.
     
  35. YKA

    YKA Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would sue the idiot that did the prepurchase inspection, and while i am usually anti gubment, I would make them aware of this.
     
  36. Racerx

    Racerx Line Up and Wait

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    A few months back there was a 61 Cherokee for sale in Michigan. Not sure if it was a 150 or 160. Engine had almost zero time. Owner had it overhauled...then the next year lost his medical. Plane sat in the barn ever since. The ask wasn't much. Put your engine, prop, radios, and interior in the other plane. In the end its probably all the same. I feel for you! Based on log entries, can you tell where this plane was based for its life?

    Perhaps others can weigh in. I was actually trying to use the google machine the other day to verify this. But wasnt all the Comanche interior aluminum primed and Piper failed to do the same on the Cherokee and why the Cherokee has some corrosion issues?
     
  37. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    Sue the F-- out of the guy that did the pre-buy.
     
  38. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    A few options here:

    Bend over, and sell it for what you can scrap value. My least favorite option.
    Give the previous IA's a chance to make it right, and if they have to drag the previous owner into this, then so be it.
    Legal route for gross negligence and misrepresentation
    r/nuclearrevenge
    No matter what the above choice you go with, in regards to the IA's that signed off on this:
    Everyone chant with me "Dox them! Dox them! Dox them! Dox them!"
     
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  39. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

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    Perhaps read the first the 1st six words of your original post. You have zero idea if salvage is even on the table let alone an option. If you want options take a big step back and start this process over with a 2nd opinion. ;)
     
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  40. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    Yes. But I wouldn't characterize it as "Failed". Chose is the more appropriate word. Nobody thought "starter" airplanes would still be in common use 60 years after they were built.
     
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