Safety Briefing: Aircraft Maintenance
Earlier this month, at our June All Hands Meeting, we had an interesting 2-part safety briefing on aircraft maintenance, organized by Lt Baldwin. The first part was presented by A&P mechanic, Ms. Kohler, who is also the Executive Director of Education at AIM (the Aviation Institute of Maintenance), located across the street from us on Earhart Road at Oakland airport. Many thanks to Ms. Kohler for spending some of her evening with us and sharing her knowledge. The second part was presented by 1st Lt Choate, who is also one of our aircraft managers.
Ms. Kohler discussed her own experience as an A&P, an IA and a private pilot, to provide context for her comments on maintenance, what mechanics are likely to do to and with your airplane during its 100 hour maintenance, and what things to watch out for.
The 100 hour inspections are required when an aircraft is used for compensation or hire, and have the same scope as annual inspections – both are defined in the FARs, in terms of minimum requirements: 14 CFR 43 – Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Rebuilding, and Alteration. Added to those requirements, each manufacturer may add other/more detailed inspection requirements.
Besides taking us through what she would do in a typical 100-hour inspection, Ms. Kohler cautioned us that “not all mechanics are created equally… and not all pilots are either.” In other words, as a mechanic, when she starts working with a brand new (to her) pilot, she will ask a lot of additional questions, and review prior history of the plane, to ensure, for example, conformity to all applicable AD; consistency of logbooks and actual parts on the aircraft; clear maintenance manuals; etc.
At the same time, Ms. Kohler cautioned pilots to be similarly vigilant. This theme was continued in Lt Choate’s portion of the briefing, when he discussed the pilot who picks up the plane from the mechanic and becomes a test pilot on the plane’s first post-maintenance flight.
Some of Lt Choate’s tips included:
- Finding out what was done to the plane. Was it a 100 hour inspection? An annual? Was the gear removed? A new engine put int? …?
- Ensuring that what was worked on is the same as what was logged.
- Since we (CAP) have a great discrepancy logging system, comparing the work done with the discrepancies that were logged for that airplane. Did all the work get done?
- If any equipment was removed or installed, finding out whether the weight & balance was updated.
- Although your preflight should be thorough on every flight, performing an especially comprehensive version of it on the first post-maintenance flight.
- Becoming a safe “test pilot” on the first flight – no nighttime or IFR flights! Depart from the longest available runway. Avoid flying too far from the airport; if you have to relocate the plane, do a few “laps” around the pattern first, and ensure everything is working properly.
Missions this Month
We had several “real” missions this month, including:
- Maj Michelogiannakis(MP) and 1st Lt Roberts (MO) were out conducting a proficiency flight when an ELT alert came out, and they were redeployed to prosecute it, resulting in a Find. Remember to monitor 121.5 on every flight!
- Maj Blank (MP) participated in a WADS mission.
- 1st Lt Hollerbach (MP) and Capt Stevulak (MO) participated in a routine SoCal mission.
Squadron 188 hosted the three leadership development courses (SLS, CLC, UCC) at KOAK. For details, click here.
- 1st Lt Devine’s takeaway from one of the courses was that the greatest benefit for him was “networking with the people you’ll be working with.” These courses are one of the few opportunities for taking an entire weekend and working with other members from all over California Wing – people we otherwise only get to see on the few statewide missions or exercises (and usually under less relaxed circumstances).
- 1st Lt Fall also enjoyed the class he took, especially the conversations about various aspects of the CAP mission, as well as the “survival exercise” (which was really more of a team-forming and decision-making exercise than about survival per se).
Lt Choate and 2d Lt Mello participated in cadet orientation flights on June 12th and 26th. This was Lt Mello’s first time doing o-rides; apparently, both he and the cadets liked it a lot!
Promotions, Awards, and ES Ratings
We now have 16 Form 5 pilots in Squadron 188, including:
- Maj Brown completed an abbreviated Form 5 and how has added the G1000 endorsement. She also completed her first o-ride flight with 2 cadets.
- Maj Blank, Maj Ironfield, and Maj Michelogiannakis all completed abbreviated Form 5s for the new 172.
The previous month was productive in terms of professional development and other training:
- Capt Hayes completed Level III (Groever C. Loening Award) and completed the Master Level Communications Specialty Track.
- Capt Fenolio completed the Technician Level in the Legal Specialty track
- 1st Lt Devine completed Level II (Benjamin O Davis, Jr Award)
- 1st Lts Choate and Hollerbach completed Level III and each received a 5-year ribbon.
- 1st Lt Hollerbach was promoted to Capt.
- 1st Lt Ettingoff completed the Technician Level in the Health Services Specialty Track and renewed his MS and UDF ratings. Lt Ettingoff came to us from the Virginia Wing staff, where he’d gotten out of operational roles – we are happy to have him renew his activity and ratings with us.
- 1st Lt Fall completed his AP and UDF ratings.
- 2d Lt Zherebnenkov completed the Senior Level Historian Specialty Track.
- SM Vasquez completed her MS rating;
- SM Ganorkar and SM Pagels each completed Level I (Membership Award). Welcome and congratulations!
June (yep, these have now been completed as I’m slow in getting this posting out! Keep reading for July and August events...):
- AP Ground School at KOAK. Project Officer Capt Eichelberger.
- Encampment in San Luis Obispo. Over 300 cadets are expected to participate, as will Lt Devine.
- AEX STEM Academy at Edwards AFB. Maj Fridell will participate.
- Mission Aircrew School (MAS) Ground School at KOAK. July 14-15
- MAS at Bakersfield. July 28-29
- 5th Tuesday. Please plan for a joint activity with Squadron 18 at HWD.
- The new Tri Valley Composite Squadron 156 will be starting up in Livermore, with about 10-12 of our members moving over to the new squadron. You will be missed! For anyone interested in joining: meetings will be held at Livermore on Wednesday evenings.
- National Conference + California Wing Conference in Anaheim. If you haven't yet registered for it, please do so by clicking here.