Tire trouble

Tire 018 (3)I just returned from the club and discovered that the other main tire had been replaced as well. Turns out the bearing issues had nothing to do with the tire. Instead, a renter (PPL, not a student) flat-spotted both tires very badly. The first blew on the runway because he burned entirely through the tire and punctured the tube underneath. The other tire was flat-spotted into the cord.

I don’t know the specifics of what happened, but it was probably landing fast and long and trying to stop in time before the end of the runway. I’m thankful that the aircraft did, in fact, remain on the runway. The take-away lesson, though, is that if you’re not on a stabilized approach, go around! Saves us all some grief.

The owner of the club is negotiating with the renter right now, but he will owe a pro-rated share of the tires and the tube. I don’t know exactly what the amounts will be, but I expect that about $250 will be the charge to the renter. For me, the total cost was about $700, so it takes a little of the sting out, but it’s still pretty painful. (I’m not counting the cost of the bad bearing, which doesn’t really factor into this. It just happened to be found at the same time.)


Tire trouble

First month on the line

Wow, 2015 is done and N194SP has had it’s first full month on the line at Trade Winds. I just got my first ever statement from the club. Surprises were included, some good, some bad. I updated the squawks page with what I learned.

After all was said and done, I got a check for $141. I estimate that means I actually lost about $1850 this month, as I have about $2000 in other expenses that Trade Winds does not pay. This wasn’t unexpected. The first couple months will be losses as I deal with bringing the plane up to full-time rental spec.

The plane flew 49 hours in December. Unfortunately, 7.1 of those hours weren’t profit generating. 0.1 was maintenance and 7 was my flying for the month. I estimate I need 50 hours of income flight to break even, so it wasn’t a great month. That was expected, as the students needed to get familiar with the new plane. Most have favorites and they all cost the same, so I’m guessing January will be better. 22 pilots took 29 flights.

Maintenance held some surprises. I knew about several of the higher dollar items on the list, but the blown left tire was news to me. Apparently it blew on the runway, probably on landing. Upon disassembly, it was discovered that the wheel bearing was dry. So far, I’m less than impressed with the quality of service that Bender Aviation in Clearwater, Florida provided this plane before I owned it. Fortunately, Tom here at Trade Winds is being much more complete, and all these problems are falling by the wayside, one by one. Lots of dollars attached, but still, going away. The tire is new now, the tube is new now, and the wheel bearing is new and well lubed.

In addition to the wheel bearing, Bender should also have caught a fuel line that was bent tighter than AD2015-19-07 allowed. They should have caught the intake leak on the #4 cylinder. They should have caught the dry jackscrew on the co-pilot’s seat adjustment. I’ll give them a pass on the fuel injector, as that wasn’t showing any symptoms when I got the plane. All of that is corrected now, but it cost me $1400 that I should not have had to deal with. The joys of plane ownership!

I was also surprised by the insurance. $570 per month is steeper than I was anticipating. I’ve got an email in to Walt asking if this was an anomaly because it’s my first month. The $110 tie down was expected, and the $145 for detailing was also expected. Maintenance, at $2850, was a bit higher than expected, but not by too much.

Next month will be the first 100-hour inspection. I expect the MX to be high again in January. Let’s see what happens!

First month on the line