Sweepstakes Archer duty, day 4

April 11, 2008 by Paul Richfield, Senior Editor

Sweepstakes ArcherWell, the members have had a few days to consider the sweepstakes Archer, and I’m noticing more observations than questions. Two men told me its paint scheme is the best they’ve ever seen; two others asked me what we were thinking. It’s hot here in Lakeland, Florida, so it’s not surprising that people are wondering if the airplane’s black leather seats will be “hot.” Some have questioned our decision to install vortex generators–I’m convinced of the safety benefits and pass that information on to everyone who asks about them. Mechanics are weighing in as well. Most compliment us on the work done forward of the firewall, although two have pointed out what they view as minor discrepancies, or departures from established practice. These recommendations are certainly under consideration. There are a lot of judgment calls in aviation maintenance, however, and I’m past the point of taking all A&P/IA opinions at face value. There’s safe and legal, and then there’s the method that ensures a healthy revenue stream for a shop. There’s often a significant gap between these two perceptions, and owner/pilots shouldn’t be afraid to keep mechanics “honest” as the need arises. Beware of this statement from an IA: “I always replace [part x] at [x hours], even though there’s technically no time limit on it.”

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