Crank Seal Replacement

I really liked “Maintenance Matters” in the June 2018 issue. I did a crank seal replacement this way myself a while ago, and it sounds a lot harder than it is.

One additional trick is to put a freezer bag over the flange before stretching the seal over it. It makes it glide even better and protects the seal from any small nicks that might be present.

—Sven Gruenitz

I agree—the freezer bag trick is another good tip if you want that little extra protection. I have not seen a seal nicked without one, but it is understandable how it could happen, and it’s cheap insurance if one is worried about it.—Ed.

Bureaucratic Insanity

Having completed an RV-7A, I read Vic Syracuse’s May 2018 “Checkpoints” column [“Three Common Discrepancies“] with great amusement. He states that “Many, but not all, airplanes will not be within the manufacturer’s specified CG range when they are weighed empty. That is perfectly OK! We only care about the CG range when we load and fly the airplane.”

Not in my case. In October 2015, I had an inspector from the local FAA office travel to my hangar to perform the airworthiness inspection. To my surprise, he found no issues until he reviewed my extensive weight and balance documentation, indicating every conceivable load configuration. In one condition, fully fueled but with no pilot, passenger, or baggage, it was out of the manufacturer’s CG range. I respectfully pointed out to him that, as the plane was not a drone, it would always be flown with a pilot of at least the 20 pounds necessary to bring it within CG. And, in the event the pilot had to bail out, all bets were off anyway as the plane probably was experiencing more serious issues.

As you may well guess, bureaucratic insanity prevailed, and I was required to construct and mount 8 pounds of ballast in the baggage compartment and wait an additional three weeks for the inspector to come out and issue the certificate. My advice to someone in a similar situation is to have the ballast ready to show in the event it becomes an issue. It may save three weeks.

—Sam Rousseau

Vic Syracuse responds: Wow. That’s really sad to have to carry around 8 pounds of ballast when our focus is on making them as light as possible. Once the inspector is gone, the pilot is the final authority for the operation of the aircraft. The regulations really do help us.

Single-Seat Economics

As I plan to build a single-seater soon, I enjoyed “Editor’s Log” in the July 2018 issue. I would think a recurring cost-saving item with a single-seat versus a two-seat plane is liability insurance. The insurance company wouldn’t have to cover a passenger should an accident arise that is the fault of the pilot.

—Chuck Kemp

The truth on insurance is that I see very little change in liability quotes between my two-seaters and the single-seater. I don’t understand the insurance business any better than most people, but for some reason, it doesn’t make much of a difference in the costs. And, of course, liability insurance is fairly cheap compared to hull coverage anyway.—Ed


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