Collings Foundation B-17
Collings Foundation B-17 The Foundation bombers (and P-51) were in residence at Reno-Stead last week.

I knew it had been a while since I last wrote and article, but a had no idea it had been almost a month four months. Ugly.

Ok, what has happened since the last update?  Bear with me, as you get older just recalling what you had for breakfast yesterday can be a test of will…

Collings Foundation B-24
Collings Foundation B-24

That last update was on February 11th. My logbook says I flew down to Minden (KMEV) on February 23rd. I had a really nice $150 plate of spaghetti with a friend of mine who lives near there. Obviously, I topped off the tanks before I flew back to Stead. That was the last nice weather in February that I was available to fly. The plane was running great on that flight but it really didn’t matter as far as the FAA is concerned, because the annual inspection ran out on March 1st.

The weather in Reno in March and April was unsettled at best. It seemed that every time I was able to clear some time to work on the plane a cold front would come through and drop the temperatures below my 40-degree threshold for working in the unheated hangar. I managed to work in spurts of time, starting the inspection from the tail and working toward the front of the plane.

When I got to the landing gear I decided it was time to do a re-seal operation on all of the hydraulics. The struts were seeping hydraulic fluid as was one of the actuators. So, everything came out of the wheel wells. I had the local Swift mechanic in Gardnerville, NV re-seal the struts and pressure-check them to make sure that they were sealed well. Meanwhile I placed all new seals in both actuators and downlocks. While I was at it I replaced all four of the position microswitches. The ones installed were the original parts from 1948 and were really looking their age.

When I got the struts back i started the re-installation and rigging – to make sure the micro-switches were located just right to turn off the hydraulic pump when both gear were either fully up or down.

Once all that was completed and the landing gear recurring ADs were checked I moved to the aircraft belly and the flap actuator. It had a small seep and, since I was already covered with hydraulic fluid…

I finally finished all of my checks and then scheduled a time with the IA to complete the annual and paperwork. The last check was of the operational pressures in the fuel injection system. All were in the middle of the acceptable range, so the annual was officially completed – on June 1st. Ugh. That took way too long.

A couple of days later I got back into the air for the first time since February. I flew around for a while and made sure that everything was still working as it should – sometimes I wonder whether taking things apart every year does more harm than just flying it until you notice something out of whack. Oh well.

Last weekend I flew down to Paso Robles for the weekend – logged 2:10 each way. It was good to get the plane out and about. The big engine makes it a nice cross-country machine.

This week PRS in going on at Stead (Pylon Racing School), so a TFR goes into place tomorrow through Saturday. If a tenant needs to fly they can get a PPR number and can work out a time to slip out and then back in – between training sessions or before/after the training day. But, in general, it’s a pain when you’re used to coming and going at will. There is a Father’s Day fly-in at one of my favorite breakfast destination (Quincy, CA  – 2O1). The TFR will have expired by then so I may try to make it there for some pancakes.