In the Shop
Among the slow down and stay at home order, we have kept our doors open at SOAR. We all were deemed essential works due to the upkeep of the fuel system. We did have to momentarily ground our fleet to the available renters which also included the SOAR students. So with less of the flight training going on, we revved up the amount of projects that we've been doing on the maintenance side of things.
Of the various things that we have been doing inside the shop the past couple of months, one of the more exciting things is the restoration of one of SOAR’s donated airplanes. We started this process a couple months after I began SOAR and are now coming to the final stage of it; fabric covering and painting. It’s an interesting process that takes time, but can be very rewarding in the end. It entails cutting the fabric, gluing it down, ironing to shrink it (much like ironing a shirt), riveting it together, and many many layers of different types of glues and paints. The other new experiences that I’ve had the privilege to be a part of are replacing a cylinder on an engine, riveting with a rivet gun (it’s terrifying), replacing all the windows, and removing and installing a flap on a wing four times over.
During the stay at home order there was no flying at all. Therefore training was abruptly stopped in that regard. But now we are starting to pick that back up again. I had my first Instrument lesson since passing my written exam as well as my first lesson in a tail-dragger. Right before the pandemic took place, Kevin (our head of operations and mechanic for SOAR) and I were able to go on a unique trip to Texas to pick up one of the flaps we needed for our aircraft. We took the Helio Courier, an infamous airplane used for missionary work as well as Bush flying (in the picture of the flight you may be able to see two very small C-130 airplanes flying under us). Oh what an experience it was!