Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hot Springs

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday, I had the chance to visit some hot springs near Pucallpa. My friends from the Swiss Mission were the organizers of the outing.

Half the group drove 90 minutes and then took a 20 minute boat ride to arrive at the mouth of the river where the hot springs mixed in with the main river. I flew the other part of the group in the float plane 18 minutes and landed on the river where we all met up.

It was then an hour hike to arrive at the place where the water came out of the mountain side. Yes, I realize the irony of visiting a hot spring when its already 90 degrees out... but in Pucallpa there is not a whole lot to do.

I particular enjoyed swimming back and forth between the hot and cold water at the mouth of the big river. Its definitely a unique experience to swim in a river that becomes part of the Amazon!

Interior pieces

On Friday I finished a mini-milestone on the 206 rebuild project. I have been working for the past two week off and on trying to fit the new interior. The new beige plastic pieces needed to be trimmed and installed. One would think that this process would be easy, but many pieced needed some "persuasion" to fit well around windows and where they mated up with adjoining pieces. I made judicious use of a heat gun that helped me to mold the plastics so a good fit could be obtained.

My friend Nathan finished repairing the horizontal stablizer. There were numerous dents that needed to be filled and then sanded down. The protective rubber boot on the leading edge was also coming unglued so some industrial super glue was used to keep it attached for the next 10,000 hours of flight time.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project update.

One of the big jobs for the re-build project is resealing the wing tanks. This model of Cessna 206 has "wet wings", basically a section of the wing is put together with sealant and is used to hold the fuel inside of the wing. This is different than a car which has the fuel in a separate purpose built tank. Other options on airplanes are "bladder" tanks made of rubber.

Almost all airplanes, including airliners, have the fuel tanks in the wings. Really small airplanes like Aeronca 7AC Champs have a tank right behind the instrument planel. But those airplanes don't have a second engine, flaps, a nose wheel, starter, or an electrical system... that is why they are much fun to fly.

After cleaning out all the fuel tank sealant, new sealant must be applied along every seam and over every rivet. (Its the dark grey stuff) Let me tell you, this stuff is SUPER sticky! Once we get done with this wing, there is one more to go!

Dave and Nathan have been painting control surfaces. Hot and humid weather can make it a challenge to get the paint to come out right. It takes a full day just to spray the primer and then the white top coat after that. Having worked in a paint shop, I know that prep work is 95% of a good paint job... but the last 5% can still ruin a good paint job.

Friday, January 7, 2011


Playing with the camera while flying on a beautiful sunny day.

Birthday Flying

On my birthday, December 27th, I celebrated by getting checked out into a new airstrip. This one is called Santa Rosa de Serejal. This is a community where we pick up people who are working on translating the Bible into their own language. They come Pucallpa where they work for 2 weeks and then go back to their village.

The interesting thing about this one was that after Craig (the other pilot) and I landed, we found a number of holes is in the runway! They keep cows on the airstrip and sometimes they make holes in soft areas after it rains. Thankfully we stopped about 20 feet before one of these holes (which we could not see until we walked the airstrip)!

The villagers filled the holes in with dirt and I got the chance to do 3 takeoffs and landings. They went well and I am officially checked out in one more place. As my friend Dave K. says, I am 93% of a SAMAIR pilot.