I thought I’d write a post for the mechanically-minded readers this week.  While my plane was down for maintenance, I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the guts that you may not often see unless you’re a mechanic.  Heck, I had to do something productive since I couldn’t fly it!  In one way, it’s depressing to see my baby in pieces since it belongs in the sky making its pilots happy; in another way, you can have those great “Oh, so that’s how that works!” moments when you can see a somewhat naked airplane.

This is just an overall shot showing the cowling and spinner off, the oil draining, and inspection ports open on the bottom of the wings.

Here Orion is bonding with other half-naked airplanes in the beautiful Hawthorne North hangar at Lakefront Airport.  Notice the wooden ceiling.  It’s a beautiful hangar!

This is what you can see inside the inspection port where the tail number is printed.  You can see the elevator and rudder cables.

This shows the inspection port we just looked in.  Bet you didn’t even notice it was there before!

Here we can see the aileron and flap cables from an inspection port on the bottom of the starboard wing.

That’s a lot of inspection ports!  In fact, there are hundreds of items that the mechanics have to check during a 100-hour inspection.  Good thing there’s a checklist!  Luckily, though, a 100-hour inspection doesn’t take 100 hours!  It’s called that because airplanes operating under certain FAA rules have to be inspected every 100 hours on the engine.  Since Orion is online at a flight school and is used in training, it has to have 100-hour inspections.  A normal 100-hour inspection for my Cessna takes about 14 hours.  That’s still a lot of labor time, and this is why maintenance is one of the main expenses of owning an airplane (fuel being the other main one).

Close up of the engine.  Still pretty new and clean since I just got a rebuilt engine in January.

Looking straight at where the spinner attaches.  It looks like one of those numbered connect-the-dots drawings.  I like to kiss Orion’s spinner, but it was sitting on the ground.

That’s all for now.  I hope you enjoyed this short peek at half-naked airplanes!