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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:56 pm 
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I've been involved in aicraft maintenance of some type, for quite a few years now. During this time I have seen things that really made me stop and think. I've started this thread for all you wrenches out there to share your stories of funny, scary, or just plain odd things you've come across while working on aircraft. For you pilots out there, this is the type of stuff that will make you want to hug your mech. or hang up flying for good.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:13 am 
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I found a nipple fitting on the outlet of a gravity feed fuel tank behind the instrument panel of an antique aircraft to have a short piece of plastic tubing as a spacer for the larger (chromed automotive) steel braided hose that was hose clamped into place. Not only would the engine stop 30 seconds after the hose slipped off but your shoes and socks would get doused as the cockpit would be filling with the leaking fuel.

This same plane had the gascolator hanging off of the carburetor with a brass pipe fitting. I suppose that might have snapped off first and sprayed the exhaust with fuel instead.

Luckily all this was discovered as I was reassembling the airplane before it was ever flown this way.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:45 am 
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A groundloop necessitated the removal and repair of a lower Stearman wing. On the wing walk there were some markings that indicated that the wood used had come from a shipping crate.

Next, bird nests! And plenty of ‘em!

Then there’s this T-28 flap here that’s spent some time in the desert. I don’t know what crawled in there, but there’s a bunch of big bones rattling around the inside of it.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:10 am 
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Seeing the wing spar fitting cracked from an A-26 bomber. We also had a Cessna 207 land at our airport with an engine fire, The fire had burned the mounts off and the engine was sitting on the top of the nose wheel mount assy. Scarey stuff!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 12:49 pm 
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P-51 has trucks which slide on rails to move the canopy. The emergency release is a hook on a truck that captures a bushing on the canopy. The bushing is trapped in a casting by a bolt. The 1st annual I did I noticed the bolts were not installed. Owner commented that the bushings would vibrate out and he would use his finger to push them back in while flying.
Same P-51 found a #40 hole drilled 90% through coolant line wall thickness.
A T-6 I worked on had large deposits of black goo where the L/H lower fwd steel fus attaches to tailcone. Upon insp found the 5/16" holes were elongated by close to 1/8". I guess it is easier to install the bolts they fit into a slot.
Same T-6 I found the spinner brackets cracked on all but one mounting point. The spinners felt retaning channels were chafing sharp grooves into the prop blades.
Later same a/c had a slight leak from r/h mlgear. Replaced seals but would still leak on occasion, like when towing.
Found the lower sealing area rusted. Disassemble gear and found the flapper restrictor worn and cracked on one side so that the plate had seperated from 2 out of 3 pins. The 3rd pin was bent so the flapper valve could not contact the surface it was supposed to seal against. The other side had 2 pins welded on but the 3rd along with the flapper valve plate was MIA. It must have fallen out during a previous seal replacement. (Not mine)
We decided to replace the gear and pull stress doors to insp the gear linkage, downlock pins, ect. Found a lot of worn parts and replaced those as well. Other item found was the center rib between the fuel tanks was bent from possibly being set down on something. The center rib required replacement as well.
I call this OLD AIRPLANE SYNDROME.
Rich


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 6:20 pm 
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Hmmm..well a few things I've seen or found while fixing Navy jets.

Rebuilding a P-3 flap once we found a wrench and a handfull of rivets, nuts, bolts and washers rattling about inside after peeling a damaged section of skin off.

I tested/inspected a hyd pump once that had the end casing bolts saftey wired backwards....and it was brand new from the factory (Vickers).

Five 5 gallon buckets of "cr@p" collected from a Marine AV-8B fresh from the first round of games in the sandbox. Acceptance inspections are SO much fun :roll: Said "cr@p" consisted of dirt, gravel, dead bugs, broken saftey wire, nuts, bolts two unfired 9mm rounds and a pencil flare, those were under the ejection seat :shock: .

Not FOD related but a former CO of mine was on a cross country once, he stopped for fuel in Kansas and despite the large "CARGO BLIVIT, NO FUEL" stenciled on both sides.....some individual of questionable judgement filled it anyway. Ruined everything, he was going to a change of command then on to a wedding.

During a 56 day on an A-6E once I found an small piece of metal back in the tail....see, I was just skinny enough that I could crawl inside the tail through the ALQ-126 panel if all the boxes were removed (I think it was the -126 pnl....just forward of the stab, it's been awhile :lol: ) Apparently nobody had looked that deep in awhile because the chunk of metal looked a lot like Flak shrapnel. There was a patch on the fuselage just aft of where the speed brake had been. The log book had entries about flight control binding over the years.....wonder why :shock:

Oh, mustn't forget the packs of condoms stashed in the map pocket of an EA-6B that had just returned from a "bingo to the beach" near Sigonella....low fuel my a$$ :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:50 pm 
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A couple of months back, a guy flew into my FBO in very nice 182. He was going to be away for a couple of hours and wanted to know if we could change his oil. The boss agreed and after he left we pulled the plane up to the hangar and started to pop the cowling. I started pulling the top left side and another mech. was on the right. Without warning, laughter erupted from the other side of the engine. Knowing this would be good I hurried to the other side. The other mech. had just lifted away his side of the cowling and sitting right on top of the cylinders was a bright red can of .032 safety wire. Next to that was a pair of long handle side cutters, and a Mini Mag Lite had worked its way between the cylinder and the baffling. We divided up the booty and completed the job. I got the Mag Lite and safety wire. The last maintenance entry was an oil change 50 hours before at a rather high end outfit on another airport. I don't think anyone ever told the owner what we found. Later on that day I decided to try out my new toy. I took it apart wiping off the grime, replaced the rather melted batteries and changed the burned out bulb for the spare in the end. The flash light has deep grooves from the cooling fins wearing on it for some 50 hours, but it works like a champ. I really should write Mag Lite and tell them what a fine product they make.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:05 am 
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Assisting with an inspection of a mate's (he's a LAME) newly acquired 180, I was working the flaps while Lyn checked something or other. As the flaps came down, I heard a slight "twang". We did it again and heard it again. Removing a couple of inspection discs at the wing root end of the flap, we worked the flaps again and heard the noise a lot easier. Turned out a screw in the flap mechanism was catching the aileron wire as the flaps were lowered. The 180 had been reassembled by the local experts in the big smoke who had used the wrong size screw to what the book said! Fortunately, there was no damage to the aileron wire but over time there could have been.

Then there was the Auster that flew in for a 100 hourly and was found to have the under cockpit floor crossmember completely cut through! It was completely disassembled upon request by the owner who then went backwards and forwards deciding whether to rebuild it or not. He eventually carted it away.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:18 am 
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A friend found the aileron cables installed incorrectly in his Cessna 120. They cross behind the cabin and normally clear by an inch or so. Someone in the past had reversed them so now they were rubbing. That was solved by a liberal dollop of grease where the cables were sawing through each other...

Another guy I knew paid a know-it-all airline pilot buddy do a pre-buy inspection on a Stearman. When it arrived in Chino it was found to have solid core house wiring and some of the ribs in one wing of this former duster were made from CDX plywood.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:47 am 
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I was working on a 100 hr. for a 172 owned by a flying club at another field. When I pulled up the carpet I found a rather large pot leaf under it. Seeing as Olympia is pretty close to Canada, nether I nor anyone else in the shop was very surprised. We did get a good chuckle however.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2007 4:38 pm 
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When the B-25 was in the paint shop they found a dead rat in the wing. I think they named it "Doolittle". :?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2007 1:10 am 
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I want all my stuff and the pot back but you can keep the dead rat! :P

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:32 am 
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A friend was flying his cub one day (he had several hundred hours of Cub time) and as he was landing (about 1 foot off the runway) the stick pulled out of it's casting and he was left holding it in his hand. Apparently, the bolts meant to hold it in had never been installed and the only thing holding it was paint.

RICK


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:53 am 
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I found a dead rat in an attic of an old house I was working on, he was mummified with his teeth around a hot wire. Hee hee hee...


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:27 pm 
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I was flying a Birddog on a wildlife survey flight and on pre-flight banged by hand as usual under the bottom of the fuselage to see if I could hear any FOD bouncing around. There was a dull thud a couple feet in front of the tail wheel. I grabbed the closest A&P and we poked around, only to find a 5 lb hammer and an 8" cold chisel on the bottom of the rear fuselagel!

The worst I ever heard was from a friend who did a pre-buy on a (homebuilt) Pitts S-1S. They found the fuel tank had been mounted to some 2x4s that were DUCT-TAPED to the longerons!!!


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