Oh the joy of being an engineer in the HAAF! After the busiest winter maintenance period on record, we thought we were nearly there. Auster 9 – Serviceable. Sioux – Serviceable. Beaver – Serviceable. Scout – Serviceable. Ahh, no, Scout fuel leak from the sump!
Scout de-fuelled and pumps removed. Leaks sorted and pumps tested, all good. Pumps refitted. Aircraft fuelled. No leaks but one pump failed. Aircraft de-fuelled and pumps examined. Electrical plug failed. Plug repaired and tested, all good. Back to square one with a serviceable Scout. This week we will fill the Scout with fuel again for another leak check and check flight.
Hopefully all is well and we will have four serviceable aircraft for the first time this year. We are getting good at Scout de-fuels but we hope not to do any more anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the Chipmunk has fallen from grace. We have discovered that we now need to change the engine. The current engine has a life of 20 years, which expires in July this year. We cannot extend this life because of what we want to do with the aircraft. Fortunately we have another engine. Sadly the replacement engine requires an internal inspection before fit so we are in negotiations with another company to deal with the inspection and certify it again. Should be fairly straight forward, but famous last words?
We dusted the Uckers board off, ready for the slow summer season. It was put away again. New to Uckers? https://www.forces.net/news/uckers-what-it-and-why-do-military-play-it. The rules are always on the back of the board and cheating is whatever you can get away with. It would be good to get some free time to re-learn the game.
Every cloud has a silver lining and we are now able to begin to put a dedicated crew onto the Auster Mk 1 which has been ticking over in a corner. Working with all these vintage aircraft is a privilege and a pleasure. We all pretend we are young again and remember the “good old days”, only the good bits of course. Eventually we will have six serviceable aircraft, just a few hurdles to cross yet. Watch this space.