Learning Experiences

July 2008 Issue

Just Out Of Annual

Wisdom in aviation, if there is such a thing, seems to be the sum total of bad experiences, hangar flying lies, magazine articles and direct advice from various characters who may or may not fit the description of "mentor." At some point in my flying career, one of these old salts advised me to be wary of flying an airplane freshly out of annual. "It probably worked okay when you brought it in, but it probably wonít when you get it back," he used to say. I took the advice to heart, so my standard procedure in doing the first pre-flight after annual was to uncowl the airplane and have a good, long look at the engine room and at the airframe in general. I once found an unsafetied oil filteróno big deal, really, but satisfying to have detected and drawn it to an embarrassed mechanicís attention. When I got busy instructing, I waxed and waned on this inspection habit. Sometimes Iíd do it and then, well, Iíd get in a hurry and not bother. After all, I really hadnít found that much before, so how much risk could there possibly be in skipping the check?

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