Horrible pun, but it’s laugh or cry time so it’s staying!
The good news is that all the current niggles with our engine are resolved and we’re back on 50 hour checks. The bad news is that the metal in the filter which had taken us off them turns out to have been coming from the camshaft, which is now so worn that the engine will not pass another annual.
We sort of knew we were coming to a decision point in the next year or so when the hours ran out, but didn’t expect it this soon! Several other bits are also approaching their ‘lifetime’ and the whole engine only has about a years worth of hours left at our current flying rate so it’s not really worth spending the rather large amount of money to replace the camshaft.
This leaves us without a huge number of options.
For what we’d have to spend on an engine we might get another aircraft — but probably only one of similar age and condition with possibly similar problems and without the benefit of knowing the service history and money that’s already been paid out like we do with TOMS.
We could walk away and find other groups, but we all get on so well and the running of the group works so smoothly, and our flying patterns fit together so nicely, nobody really wants to lose that.
We could go fly rental aircraft (and having worked out the maintenance cost this year we’d have saved money doing that), but most of us are too fond of dawdling over coffee and cake to willingly go back to being tied to someone else’s schedule .
Or we take the plunge and buy a new engine. To everyone’s slight surprise, this was the favoured option. Almost all of us thought that everyone else would rather give up on the aircraft and look elsewhere. Perhaps we’re more emotionally invested in TOMSyplane than we thought!
Only one person who hadn’t been able to fly much, decided to call it a day, and a some of us still have little-to-no clue where the money’s going to come from, but assuming we can find it, we’re in. Probably we’ll look at taking on another share or two to spread the cost. Can’t be that bad a deal — essentially they’d be buying into an aircraft with a shiny new engine.
On a happier note, the aircraft was ready to be picked up, and I once again found myself the willing ferry pilot.
Sleap was busy and the sky blue once again as I set off on the return journey. I’d forgotten the GPS, today but the route was simple, apart from a slight detour around the rather large clouds over hills surrounding the Elan Valley, which I detoured around.
I do adore flying over the hills, and intend to make the absolute most of all my flying with such a ticking clock on the horizon! I was already mentally scaling back a few longer trips this summer, both for finance and because it didn’t seem fair to use up such a large proportion of our remaining hours.
But for now the sky was blue, the wind was with me and there wasn’t another aircraft in sight. Pretty day.