Before you call, or send us an e-mail with your question, check the Frequently Asked Questions that are listed on this page. Most likely, your question can be answered here.
If your question is not addressed here on this FAQ page, then by all means, give us a call or send us a message.
An Annual Inspection for your aircraft is a flat rate of $1,750.00. This includes all items on the Cessna 185 Maintenance Manual checklist, all items on our own checklist for both the engine and the airframe. It includes checking and adjusting the unmetered fuel pressures, checking the brake disc thickness, all cable tensions, changing the oil and filter, (oil and filter are charged as parts and are not part of the flat rate), lubricating all controls per the aircraft’s lubrication chart, including the propeller, (you’d be surprised at how many propellers we find that haven’t been greased in a long time), checking for A.D. compliance, performing A.D. requirements, checking for all STC compliance, and cleaning of the aircraft’s exterior and interior. After the initial inspection, you will be given a list of discrepancies and a cost estimate to remedy each item to bring the aircraft into compliance. All discrepancies and all parts are not included in the flat rate, and are charged separately.
It all depends on the aircraft. In most cases, aircraft can be turned around within four to five days depending on what discrepancies there are, what parts are needed that we don’t have in stock, and things like that.
If a shop can turn your aircraft around in a day or two, unless they have “team of technicians” working on it around the clock, they’re not accomplishing everything listed on the manufactures checklist and lubricating the aircraft per the lubrication chart in that short amount of time and are certainly not “looking” at every square inch of your aircraft. If they are using a “team of technicians” to inspect and service your aircraft to meet that turn-around timeframe, then you’ll be paying the wages for each of those “team members”. So instead of paying a flat rate or the time for one technician that’s based on that flat rate, you’re going to be overpaying. Your aircraft cannot be thoroughly inspected, serviced, discrepancies complied with, logbooks inspected, A.D. notes researched and checked for compliance, and cleaned in that short amount of time. Period.
There is no simple answer to that question without knowing how much more we are in price than the shop you’re taking your aircraft to now, or to what detail their inspections are. But, let me give you some examples. We had a client several years ago that for the last twelve years, had been paying anywhere between $500.00 to $800.00 on the Annual Inspections for his Piper PA-28-236. The time came for the owner to sell the aircraft and his regular guy was no longer in business, (for reasons that will be clear in a moment). So, he contacted me to Annual the aircraft as a contingency of the sale. Nearly $10,000.00 later, the aircraft was airworthy again. Some of the issues were the outdated fuel and oil hoses. The 500 hour magneto inspection was never performed (and we’re at 1,100 hours). The impulse coupling A.D. was never accomplished even though the logbook and the data plate indicated otherwise. All three struts were dry and oozing black “mud”, the Chrysler style alternator was an automotive (Mopar) unit, and the list goes on. The moral of the story is this: All those years of those five to eight hundred dollar Annual Inspections, has now caught up to this owner. Remember, you generally get what you pay for. Another example, we had just inspected a 1981 Piper Aerostar that was just purchased by the new owner. The aircraft had been advertised as being maintained at an “approved Aerostar” facility, so the perspective buyer elected not to have a Pre-Purchase inspection performed by a reputable shop. (His first mistake). Once here, we inspected the aircraft and logbooks, and found a cornucopia of discrepancies. The first one was again the fuel and oil hoses. Now, unlike the Pathfinder above, Piper mandates that all fluid carrying hoses be changed at certain intervals. This had never been accomplished, as the hoses were dated 4Q79. The IO-540-AA1A5 engines were fairly new Factory Remanufactured units, but because of the Machen conversion(s), the incorrect turbo controllers were re-installed. To top that off, the fuel servos were of the original configuration for naturally aspirated engines and had not been “mapped” per the Machen specifications. Again, the list goes on and on. When all was said and done, it cost the new owner over $25,000.00 to bring this aircraft into compliance. You’re paying for my experience and thoroughness. (As a side note. Had this new owner hired me to perform a Pre-Purchase Inspection on this aircraft, he could have at least negotiated down the purchase price to reflect the cost to remedy these discrepancies).
That’s a tough question to answer without seeing the aircraft and assessing its condition. Assuming it is still flying, in all honesty the degree of restoration will be directly proportional to the thickness of your wallet. I would have to see the aircraft and discuss with you what your vision is for it, and how much you are willing to spend to realize that vision.
Simple answer is no! You cannot just install something like this without the proper approval and documentation. Depending on the aircraft, some aircraft Type Certificate Data sheets will state what, if any, other tire sizes are allowed. If not, then it depends a lot on your wheels and brakes. A larger diameter tire will effectively increase the arm, (leverage) of the tire compared to the original diameter. This means that your brakes may not be as effective with the larger diameter tires. Also, the wheel may not be rated to handle the increased loads imposed on them because of the increased mass. Now, with that said, if there are no provisions in the TCD’s, and no STC exists for this simple change, it may be possible to get a Field Approval for your particular aircraft and wheel/brake configuration if no previously approved data exists for your model of aircraft. We submit Field Approvals all of the time for various items, and installing larger tires is fairly routine. In these neck of the woods anyway.
If you’re comfortable with the level of service of your current shop, then by all means stick with them. Only bring your aircraft to us if you are having reservations or are questioning your current shop’s inspection and servicing practices. Maintaining your aircraft to a high standard is paramount to ensuring its value. As an Aircraft Maintenance Technician, I have a certain level of responsibility in keeping up your aircraft’s value. Poor workmanship and corner cutting just to get it out the door, will compound over the years and ultimately lower your aircraft’s value. Not to mention higher costs in more time spent to correct previous poor workmanship.
Also, keep in mind, that if you do bring your aircraft to us, the risk is very high that I will probably find plenty of discrepancies that will have to be dealt with. You must be prepared for this fact. If you wish to fly an aircraft that is in tip-top shape and will retain its resale value, then I’m your guy. It’s money well spent to pay for quality work. Simply put, I spend your money like it’s mine. I won’t waste it, but if your aircraft has some issues, then we’ll have to spend some cash to correct them.
Yes! I have restored many older Coke, Pepsi and other types of vending machines over the years. If you have “chest” type machine, it’s probably a “slider” style if it is a refrigeration type machine and not a “cooler” type. Cooler type machines used chilled ice water, and are very old. I have restored only two of this style. I also have restored numerous “ice chest” picnic type coolers. One word of warning though. A non-embossed machine has far less value than an embossed one. If the cost doesn’t matter to you, I can restore your non-embossed machine with decals to the same quality job as the embossed style, and nearly the same cost. It just won’t have the high resale value as the embossed units.
Yes! I have extensive Limbach experience from maintaining other aircraft with the Limbach brand of aircraft engines, and I have also been to the Limbach Factory in Königswinter, Germany. As you know, the Limbach line of aircraft engines is a derivative of the Volkswagen Typ I and Typ IV engines. Keep in mind though, you cannot install parts from a VW auto parts store onto your Limbach aircraft engine. All parts must be obtained through Limbach to maintain the aircraft’s airworthiness. As in most cases, the Limbach engine is part of the airframe Type Certificate.
Absolutely not! None of the late model Typ II’s had a “Porsche” engine installed in them. Matter of fact, no Volkswagen never had a “Porsche” engine as factory equipment installed in them. The VW was “People’s Car”. Cheap and economical. The Porsche line of engines are NOT cheap! Now, with that cleared up, the engine that the late model Typ II’s since August of 1971, (1972 model year), the VW 411 and 412 models, and the Porsche 914 all had in common, was the VW Typ IV engine. This engine was developed for a larger displacement than the current, (at the time) Typ I engine of 1,600 cc’s, (1.6 liters). The first Typ IV engines installed in the VW Typ II’s, displaced 1,700 cc’s. Then 1,800 cc’s, and then 2,000 cc’s. This same engine was installed in the VW/Audi built Porsche 914. The only major difference between the three vehicles was the cylinder head configuration on the 2.0 L models of the 914 and the fuel delivery system. So, now when you hear someone say, “Yeah, it’s got a Porsche engine in it”, you can smile knowing that they’re clueless.
Absolutely not! We are a business and not a training shop. No offense, you may be very knowledgeable in the workings of your aircraft, but the pure fact of the matter is that it takes more of my time to check everything you did than if I were to do it myself. Unfortunately, and please don’t be offended, I essentially become a glorified “babysitter” when you “help”. For example, I have a client that wanted to “help” the first year we did his Annual Inspection. He said he was very knowledgeable and that I would be impressed at his abilities. Well, he wasn’t and neither was I. I had found that he had installed several machine screws into a receiving fastener that was designed for a “B” type sheet metal screw. After checking all of the wing panel fasteners, I had to check everything else he did, and found other tasks that were not performed properly by this owner. Sorry, but it’s a waste of time, and it disrupts my work sequence. You’d end up spending more money because of the extra time I have to spend “babysitting” you. Again, no offense.
Unfortunately, no. The tools and equipment to properly maintain and repair your aircraft are here at my shop. I can work more efficiently when I have everything right at my fingertips. I need to be able to answer the phone here and to be here if another customer needs a part or something. Plus, I don’t need someone looking over my shoulder asking questions all day either. This also takes up more time than is necessary. You can either bring your aircraft over to us, or I can retrieve it if it’s here on the field. If this is not acceptable to you, you may need to stick with your current mechanic. I’m sorry, but those are the rules.
Yes! I have experience on many of the European S-LSA’s with the Rotax engine in them. I am a certified IRMT, (Independent Rotax Maintenance Technician) and have the tools and equipment to perform all of the maintenance allowed by BRP/Rotax for field technicians. We carry a fairly large inventory of Rotax parts, and have many of the consumable parts for many different European built LSA’s as well.
For us, it’s a matter of complexity, scope and detail the project entails. For example, the Aircoupe project entailed a complete disassembly, a thorough stripping of all of the paint, a thorough cleaning, acid etching and applying Alodine to all surfaces, completing all necessary fabrications for the many modifications, performing a multitude of airframe repairs and all A.D. Notes and Service Bulletins were complied with before we even applied any primer or protective coatings. The aircraft was essentially “Remanufactured” albeit to a much higher standard than Alon could ever imagine. We basically started from bare structures and built up from there. Nothing was put back on the aircraft that wasn’t either new, rebuilt, restored, or attention given to it in some way. This project went way beyond a “rebuild” or a “restoration”. So, to answer your question, it really all depends on the complexity, and the scope & detail of the refurbishing process.