An Awesome Crazy Personal Aviation Day

To invent an airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything. – Otto Lilienthal
I have spend a lot of time with airplanes over the past few weeks.  One particular day turned into a personal aviation day taking me from one corner of Wichita, the Air Capital of the World, to the other.
 It was annual inspection time for the Aircoupe.  Even though the coupe spent most of the winter in the shop chasing down a pesky vibration left over from a number one cylinder failure last year, it still had to go back in for its “annual”.
Personal Aviation Day Stage One
I have participated in owner operator assisted annuals on my Aircoupe for the past nineteen years.  I have learned a lot, but since I am not certified as an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic , I am limited to certain aspects of this activity:Personal Aviation Day
  • removing cowlings, inspection covers and interior panels
  • lubricating hinges, rod ends, and other moving parts
  • draining and changing the oil,
  • filling brake fluid
  • repacking and greasing wheel bearings
  • maintaining tire pressure
  • cleaning and waxing
  • replacing inspection covers, interior and cowlings
  • I also run down parts, run errands and of course, write the check.

Only a certified FAA mechanic can do the actual inspection and repairs.  In some cases the latter can be delegated but under direct supervision.

Aircoupe Yoga Time

The coupe is a small airplane with tight quarters both inside and out.  I affectionately call the annual, Aircope yoga, due to the pretzeled positions one must take in the process.  Yes, there are photos….

This year, there were some extra repairs such as changing out the tach, replacing three aileron rod ends, chasing down a fuel line issue and replacing the front tire.

Annuals are a mixed bag.  You really want to have things in tip top shape, but when something goes on the “squawk” list it means time and money.  As a pilot, I prefer flying to fixing anyday.

The day the annual was to begin started with a friend and I ferrying the plane to the airport where the maintenance shop is located.  Of course we took the long way around visiting several airports to get there.  Why waste an opportunity to get some flight time?

Once the plane was relocated and the cars repositioned, it was time to start disassembling.  This we did until close of business.  The Westport gang are great to work with.

Third Shift

Personal Aviation DayThen came the third part of my Personal Aviation Day.  Each week my local chapter of the EAA has a work night to progress the chapter biplane building project.  I joined the gang for a few hours to add my bit to that effort.

I am grateful to live in a city where one day can hold so many facets of aviation life, without undue travel time.  Wichita, the Air Capital of the World, accommodates  such days with ease.


We all have a definition of a perfect day.  Although yours may not involve airplanes, What does yours look like?  Please comment below and don’t forget to subscribe!!

I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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