Attention to detail

Interior front door, cleaned and ready for chromating.

All cleaned up.

Air Mod–located at Ohio’s Clermont County Airport–has built a reputation on its attention to detail. Sure, it’s best known as an exemplary interior refurbishment shop. But when you drop your airplane off at Air Mod, the team goes far beyond what you might expect. That’s because Air Mod will check out your airplane with a thoroughness that’s hard to find these days.

It all starts with an inspection and cleaning of the interior airframe. Then a cleanup of any corrosion, dirt, debris, mouse nests, etc., follows and then there’s a zinc chromate treatment¬†¬†to prevent any further corrosion. “Yikes!” one reader commented after seeing Air Mod’s documentation of trouble spots and corrective actions. “It makes you wonder what your own airplane looks like down deep.” Yikes, indeed. A whole lot of general aviation airplanes were built in the 1970s, a whole lot of them are still flying, and a whole lot of them are beginning to wear out, corrode, and otherwise fall apart. BUT, you can’t see a lot of this damage unless to strip the airplane down and take a really good look.

Light corrosion at location where old seat rails were installed

Light corrosion at location where old seat rails were installed

At this point, several work projects have been completed at Air Mod–projects that go beyond interior design. For example, the old seat rails have been replaced by new ones from McFarlane Aviation Products (, and the corrosion beneath the old seats rails has been cleaned up and restored. This means 1) No more corrosion in that area, 2) No more fears of a seat-slip accident when flying at nose-high attitudes, and 3) No more AD requiring 100-hour inspections of the seat rails for dangerous wear patterns.

Also completed is the installation of the Knots2U wheel pants, along with the installation of exterior fiberglass components for the wing and horizontal stabilizer tips. Another important step was the removal of the old, recessed, standard-issue fuel caps–dubbed “killer caps” because they can trap water and allow it to enter the fuel tanks. Now, Hartwig Fuel Cell Repair’s Monarch fuel caps grace the Crossover Classic. These screw down and ratchet into the locked position. Their crowns prevent any water from entering the tanks–and they look great, too.

Check out some of the in-progress shots provided by Air Mod. Some serious work is afoot here, folks. Agree?

New Monarch fuel caps

New Monarch fuel caps

Cabin area completely zinc chromated

Cabin area completely zinc chromated

Drilling the new McFarlane seat rails prior to installation

Pattern drilling the new McFarlane seat rails.

9 Responses to “Attention to detail”

  1. Wallace Smith says:

    Costs. I love this yearly feature. However, it is maddening to read about the wonderful work from each vendor but have no mention of the costs.

    I am considering buying a 1963 PA-24 that has been hangared and is in good shape. I am familiar with its history and need to do my over “Crossover Classic” conversion. (R&R the two-piece front windscreen; add 1/4 windows all around; gut out the original interior and bring up to date; add sound insulation; R&R the extensive avionics and steam gages with modern glass; evaluate whether to add a three blade prop; Add liberally from the Lopresti and Knots-2-u catalogs; completely strip out the asbestos and 1960s artifacts from the engine compartment.

    Once finished, this bird should compare very favorably with new airplanes costing three or four times as much as I will have in it.

    I would like to use many of the vendors you have mentioned (not only this year but with the twin Comanche from a few years ago). Of course you have strategic relationships with the vendors you use and the costs are below market. It would be very helpful to be able to know at least what the list prices are for the services and products rendered.

    Keep up the great work!
    Wallace Smith

    • thorne says:


      In many cases I have given the retail prices. As for Air Mod, the charge to redo an interior like ours would be around $30,000. But you get a lot for your money–and 30 more years of airframe life.


  2. Total restoration! Just thinking, how much this airplane will be worth in another 35 years from now. I bet in the year 2046 there will be no more, or very few Cessna 182 around. I hope a person in there twenties, wins it. And keeps it in a hanger. What a nest egg for retirement it could be.

    • thorne says:


      As you know, the number of 100-series Cessnas that are truly airworthy are diminishing quickly. We had a lot of trouble finding simple parts, like the baggage door and nosewheel assembly parts (bushings were shot)


  3. CJ D'Antonio says:

    At the time of replacing both fuel blatters in my 1978 Cessna 182Q, I installed the Monarch fuel caps. On the first flight fuel was forced out the cap on the right side tank and exacerbated the crossover problem that did not exsist with the old style flush Cessna caps.

    Cessna Pilots Associaton tech note #003 (uneven fuel flow/vent tube position) was followed but the problem continued. Hartwig had no explanation other than the FAA established the check valve pressure settings in the cap. The problem was finally resolved by going back to old reliable. With regard to “killer caps” Replace the 20 cent oring at annual time.

    Hartwig did refund my money.

  4. With the seat rails replaced, do you still need the inertial reel belt under the seat that connects to the floor?

  5. thorne says:


    No problem. That’s what we’re here for…


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