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Thread: Strangest/oddest finds at inspection time???

  1. #1

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    Strangest/oddest finds at inspection time???

    I found my first wrench in an airplane this week. Craftsman 3/8" stubby. Ten minutes later I found a ring. What are some of the strange/scary/nasty things you've come across at inspection time?

  2. #2
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    oh....

    wrenches, hammer, bucking bars... dead critter(s) parts...shot gun shells in bad places, seal bombs....

  3. #3
    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
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    Bucking bar in the wing of a Pawnee, Lots of dead critters - mice just about ate through the landing light wires on a Pacer. Also put a 1/4 inch deep by 1.5 inch wide gouge in a Chief wood spar. That same spar is cracked in 2 places. Had another Pacer with a bent spar just behind the landing light, been flying like that for years. Your typical wrenches and various nuts and bolts.

    Scariest recently,

    Found all 4 of the lower studs on the #1 cylinder of a 0-470 broken off. The top 3 small nuts were finger tight. Only the top through bolt was tight and holding the cylinder on. Also had loose studs on 1 other cylinder. That was about 3 weeks ago. He was probably within minutes of blowing that cylinder completely off of the engine. Said that the previous week he was flying back country strips in Idaho.

    That's about all I can think of at the moment, I am sure others will pop up though.

    Brian.

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    Bullet holes - one in the rear spar just outside the fuel tank and one in the lower longeron just behind the rear gear fitting.

    Bear gall bladder.

    Satellite tracking device planted by the Feds.

  5. #5
    jnorris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabman
    Bullet holes....
    I found a bullet hole in a Tri-Pacer one time. Right down by the main landing gear front fitting. Looked to be .30 cal. Must have been flying too low during deer season.

    On my Cessna 180, the first annual I did on it after I bought it uncovered a whole can of safety wire under the floorboards.
    Joe

    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat

  6. #6
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Bondo over severe corrosion on a C-182 engine mount.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Just last week, flying after maintenance (not local) took off, climbed up, got into cruise. Few minutes later, I hit a couple of really hard bumps, and a big ole flashlight came bouncing out from under the instrument panel. Now I see why they make the cases on these out of plastic and rubber.....I mailed it back to the mechanic.

    Many years ago, I found half a tool box on top of a 185 engine during pre-flight at an Alaska maintenance facility which is no longer in business. Three open end wrenches, a pair of pliers, a small ball peen hammer, a 3/8 inch ratchet handle, extension and 7/8 deep socket, and a pair of vice grips. Took the collection to the maintenance boss there, and asked whose these were, with a big grin. His response: "Who's name is on them?" No names or initials on any of them. "Must be yours then, our mechanics never leave tools in airplanes" No grin on his part.

    Mac Tools--still got em.

    MTV

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    lost / found items......

    Found a wrench in the aft section of a F-104 after 500h inspection and test flight..........

    5-6 bullet holes in front & rear spar & ribs of a PA-18, once used to fly out a family of the former GDR (East-Germany, Russian sector. The PA-18 was hunted by an Russian helicopter and landed safe on an airfield of the former BRD (West-Germany). I gave the spars to an museum of German border of cold war. Photos of the bullet holes you can see at my gallery.

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    Bought a PA-18A about 10 years ago, got it home and found a .22 cal bullet hole and the .22 bullet stuck in the fins of the right front cylinder. Looks like it had been there for a while. During annual on my L-4 I once found 2, 10 gal buckets full of mouse house that I removed with one of those extended grabber tools a little bit at a time. Took hours to get it out, still some left in. I'll take it out when I re-cover. Got the new hangar sealed so well I no longer have a mouse problem. (yet). Bill

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    First inspection after I bought my cubby found a camera lens cap lodged inside the fuselage at the tail post. Also found a wooden clothes pin on one of the stringers.

  11. #11
    BlackFly's Avatar
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    First annual of my c-180 we found a 14" Iron Workers wrench which must have been used on float conversions. Corrosion-Xed to the hull under the floor boards.

    Coming back through US Customs, I had an officer quite distressed about the blood dripping from the tail cone...seems a bag of Caribou meat was leaking. He recovered after the thorough inspection, but confiscated my bag of baby powder that comes with the spare tail wheel and Tube.
    I always wanted to hear how sensational his side of the story became. I suspect that I played the part of a murderous drug smuggler on the dangerous Canadian border.

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    Fabman can you give a little more info on the sattllite tracker.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ulpilot
    Also found a wooden clothes pin on one of the stringers.
    I think those are standard fasteners for some old ultralights.

  14. #14

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    Not my find, but about 20 years ago at Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks I was watching a MTP do a post-maint ground run on a Cobra at flight idle or better when the t/r started slowing down and then stopped. Opened up the t/r d/s cover after shutdown and found one of those hard plastic flashlights had been pinched between the cover and shaft The flashlight had worn a groove clean through the shaft. They were known as Everready Troop for a quite a while.

  15. #15
    moneyburner's Avatar
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    Found a 2-1/4" Snap-On combination wrench on the runway at Payson, AZ one morning while checking lights . . . Nothing bigger than a 182 since the previous day . . .

    What in the heck has a 2-1/4" fastener on a 182????
    Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum videtur

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    Aviator's Avatar
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    1969. Skydiving club operating off a sand strip complained of poor performance on their stripped-down C-180. Underfloor inspection revealed space between belly and floor filled with compacted sand weighing 620Lbs (estimated).

  17. #17
    nanook's Avatar
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    strange finds

    new c-185 first 100hr out of the factory, almost a complete bucking bar set in the gear box.
    caribou hair in the leading edge at the tip of a c-207 wing after the pilot reported a "bird strike"...
    far too many scary things to report here....

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by tripleoption
    Quote Originally Posted by ulpilot
    Also found a wooden clothes pin on one of the stringers.
    I think those are standard fasteners for some old ultralights.
    Reminds me of an ultralight fly in I attended many years ago. There was one of those flying lawn chairs, all aluminum tube, and the wing frame resembling a ladder. Well, all the fabric was held on to the wing frame by heavy duty paper clips, straight from Office Max! The owner was really proud of his ingenuity!

  19. #19
    Jake's Avatar
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    I added the additional inspection plate service kit below the jackscrews to my C-180. After I finished cutting the hole, I discovered BOTH nuts to each jackscrew bolt had fallen off and were sitting in the tail. I sure got my money out of that kit.

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    Pilots were complaining about a "klunking" sound in the tail end of the T-6 especially during aerobatics. Mechanics could not find source. I found the source all right during 100 hr, was a Maglight and inspection mirror in the horizontal stab near the elevator control horn, talk about the ramifications it could have had if it got wedged in the control horn during an aerobatic maneuver upside down!
    ATAF your box! = All Tools Accounted For

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    We were x-raying the leading edges of of a C-123 and found two vise grips attached to an aileron control cable. The practical test I took as an AP was on a C-150 with 100 hours on a new engine. All spark plugs were hand tight.
    jay

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    Couple years ago, found a turnbuckle tightening kit still attached to the control cables of a newer Seneca. No safety clips on the turnbuckles, either, and it had flown that way since it's last inspection.

    A little while later, found where someone had rigged the elevator on a new Malibu using the bolt, and not the pulley. The bolt and cable were just a hair from being cut in two.

  23. #23
    Clyde and Susan's Avatar
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    Back a long time ago when I was in the avionics business, I found an odd looking box connected in line with the transponder antenna cable on a Cessna 310. It was a modified Narco transponder. When I connected my test equipment and looked at the output the code that was entered on the instrument panel was followed by another code. I called Oakland Center on the telephone and asked what it meant when they saw that code from an aircraft. They asked for my telephone number and wouldn't say any more. Within minutes I got a call from the DEA. After talking to them for a while I was asked to leave it the way I found it and not tell the customer (a transit, not a regular). We then talked for a while and he told me about some of their other planted transponders and beacons. He said that they once had one of their men hired as a ship yard worker and he planted a beacon in the mast under the running light so that its battery got charged when the light was on. They tracked that one for over a year. ...Look in all the hiding places in your aircraft and especially follow all the wires. Of course, if you're not misbehaving, you don't need to bother. ...Clyde Davis
    Susie's PA-11 N11S, Clyde's J-3 NC25806, our Fairchild F24R46 N81242...
    Thanks Coulee Clipper thanked for this post

  24. #24

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    I was inspecting a PA-12 that had a 7 year series of "coffee shop annuals" and found a cracked aileron bellcrank. There is an AD to inspect the bell-cranks for these exact cracks but it obviously had not been accomplished as this crack had been there for awhile and was about 3/4 of the way through the casting.

    Just last week found a 1/4 drive 6 inch extension wedged between the rear spar and a rib of a C-185. It was near the aileron bellcrank assembly. Owner said the wing had been installed 10 years prior.
    Thanks Bowie, supersport thanked for this post

  25. #25
    Pilatus_Porter's Avatar
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    No nuts on my wing bolts after flying said aircraft from SFO to NY Oh and did I mention the primary Oil return line to the oil cooler was filing the fire sleeve jacket with oil and then bleeding back into the rotten line when the engine was not running.

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    FOD

    One of the first maneuvers during the F 16 s factory flights was to roll inverted and collect any FOD that would find its way into the now upside down canopy. And like most flights this one was no different..no FOD at least until later into the sortie.

    Apparently a shiny object would show up airborne in the cockpit occasionally and at a time the pilot was too busy to grab it.

    We re getting all this in a debrief on the crew stairs hugging the side of the jet at shut down when I glance in the far back of the canopy up in the "hat rack" area and there sets the pilots Zippo lighter.

  27. #27
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Was working one winter as a helper in a shop for a 135.

    Beech 18 on floats, the alieron cable at the pulleys under the floor on once side were rusted through, yes rust. Once off we bent them twice and they came apart!

    Any time an owner tells me about his plane getting a yearly "restoration" I cringe.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  28. #28
    Tim's Avatar
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    Pilatus_porter
    I hope Tom C. didn't annual that airplane

    Tim
    Likes Bowie liked this post

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    found!

    How about 13! and I do mean 13. MOUSE TRAPS!
    If you get lost while flying, don't try hail a cop. Pick up the first railroad you find and hug it until you get somewhere.

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    Noted several times during preflights that the belly seams of my C-model 182 were wet. It was parked outside and I thought maybe rain water was getting in, so I took my dad's old hirdy girdy drill and drilled a small hole in at the lowest point. Several gallons of water drained out all over the ramp. Seemed like it took forever. No telling how long it had been trapped in there.

  31. #31
    AntiCub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbaldguy
    Noted several times during preflights that the belly seams of my C-model 182 were wet. It was parked outside and I thought maybe rain water was getting in, so I took my dad's old hirdy girdy drill and drilled a small hole in at the lowest point. Several gallons of water drained out all over the ramp. Seemed like it took forever. No telling how long it had been trapped in there.
    My 150 leaks somewhere and after a rain I have to push the tail down and wait a couple minutes as all the drains at each bulkhead run for a couple minutes. A 150's performance is anemic enough as is, without an extra 50 lbs of water in her belly.

    Scariest thing ever found at annual was a badly corroded spar slice angle. The rivet tails popped off when the mechanic brushed them with his fingers. See pictures here: http://www.mosquitonet.com/~wanderer.../corrosion.htm

    Both wings have been completely rebuilt and epoxy coated inside now.

    Phil

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    Some years back, after having my 12 pre-buyed by a mechanic not as good as the one I have now, and after having that same mechanic do the next annual due, I took the 12 to Dan's for a tail section beef-up....

    ......the guy at Dan's asked me to lift the tail and hold it up so he could easily point out what they would do for the beefup. Thought it was a strange request, but I was younger then, so I bent over, twisted a bit, grabbed hold of the tailwheel spring and began to lift.....

    ....before even getting the tail off the ground, the bolt holding the assembly to the fuselage broke. Turns out it had been nearly twist/sheared apart and there was about a 16th of an inch holding the bolt together.

    Thank goodness I didn't have just one more hard landing.
    Back In Alaska

  33. #33
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Re: strange finds

    Quote Originally Posted by nanook
    n........ caribou hair in the leading edge at the tip of a c-207 wing after the pilot reported a "bird strike".......
    must been a loaded raven or eagle huh?
    well Santa had flying reindeer, so sorta a bird........
    .
    .


  34. #34
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    [quote="AntiCub"]
    Quote Originally Posted by oldbaldguy
    Scariest thing ever found at annual was a badly corroded spar slice angle. The rivet tails popped off when the mechanic brushed them with his fingers. See pictures here: http://www.mosquitonet.com/~wanderer.../corrosion.htm
    Phil
    those broken rivets look like the ones holding the weights to cessna ailerons, first guy I worked with would always use his hand and a screw driver and bump the heads on the rivets holding weights on,

    quite a few were nothing but rivet shaped corrosion...under nice paint!!
    .

  35. #35
    Flying Miss Daisy's Avatar
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    I was stationed in the Navy on a fast frigate with a small helicopter aboard HS22. As part of my MM auxiliary men duties I maintained the JP-5 pump station and hoses up on deck near the helo hangar. The check called for a valve dis assembly and I forgot the 9/16th wrench needed. The Helo mechanics were right in the middle of completing an engine swap and were buttoning up the last of the cowlings so I borrowed one of their wrenches. I guess I should have told them cause in short time frame I was called away for a few hours for some emergency elsewhere on the ship.
    Yeah you might of guessed it when I returned it took me about 10 minutes to finish my check and when I looked over that engine was half way back out of the helo. Still being fat dumb and happy I walked over laid down the wrench on the nice canvas wrench pack they had and thanked them all very nicely for the loan of said wrench. Now these boys were 12 feet in the air on top of the helo but it only took them about 3 seconds to come off that helicopter and chase my dumb ass the length of that ship. I was smart enough to know what murder in someones eyes looks like though and kept far ahead until I got behind locked doors.
    From there on all the aviation contingents tools were painted God awful fluorescent colors and we were bound by death threats never to touch them
    Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a well preserved body but rather to slide in sideways, well used up proclaiming "WOW What a Ride"
    Likes jwmusgrove liked this post

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    At least the heaviest...

    About 15 feet of 3/8 chain wrapped around a Baron motor, cowling still fit nicely. The chain now resides here as a tractor accessory.

  37. #37
    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Re: At least the heaviest...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ballast
    About 15 feet of 3/8 chain wrapped around a Baron motor, cowling still fit nicely. The chain now resides here as a tractor accessory.
    someone doing a W&B adjustments? musta been hauling telephone poles sticking out the back eh?

  38. #38
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    How about a J-3 that was covered in blue tarps instead of aircraft fabric? They'd even made 2" tapes out of blue tarp. It was painted with buty and from a distance just looked like an average older cover job.... and it got more interesting from that point on......needless to say, it hasn't flown since...
    JH

  39. #39
    behindpropellers's Avatar
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    Found an aluminum fuel line in a PA-18 with a patch made out of electrical tape to fix a pinhole. That same one had house wiring, no bushing on one wing attach fitting, and some other things I can't think of right now.


    Some guy was working on my Dad's 182 and put an 8 or 10-32 rivet nut in the wing root and then proceeded to screw a pk screw into it when he put it back together.

  40. #40
    Ruffair's Avatar
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    Back in the 80's a friend of mine had been hauling fish from camps on the Yukon River and flying them to Fairbanks.
    After the season, he got to digging around behind the back seat and found
    a big ol' King Salmon that had been back there for some time... he said when he grabbed the tail to pull it out, it came apart, maggots all over.... and STINK.....

    He and his wife stopped by one day while he was hauling fish, and you could hardly see his wife in the back seat for all the fish slime on the windows.... ah the good ol days......

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