MORE SUPPLY WOES
Larry Anglisano’s First Word commentary in the August 2021 issue of Aviation Consumer hits very close to home. I’m a 2004 Cirrus SR22 owner who has spent about half of the last 12 months AOG due to parts availability problems.
I had tried the SureFly magneto replacement at the last annual inspection, and it worked for about 25 hours until it no longer fired on cylinder number three. I ended up pulling it after tech support was unable to figure out the issue.
Subsequently, I’ve had three AOG events with overhauled magnetos. Each time, a new magneto couldn’t be purchased at any price, so the same mag had to be sent back to the overhaul shop to be repaired. It would come back and work for 10 to 20 hours then have to go back, and each time it took six weeks.
The shop never figured out what was going on and has replaced everything inside, keeping only the case. I’m still waiting with bated breath for the next time it fails, and I’ve added a mag check at shutdown so I at least know if my plane is AOG before I plan a trip.
Additionally, I just finished my annual inspection where a 1/4-inch crack was found on the lower gusset plate of my nosegear strut assembly. Cirrus has a Service Bulletin and guidance in the aircraft maintenance manual for cracks in this assembly, and what the allowances are. However, no cracks whatsoever are allowed on the bottom gusset.
My estimate from the mechanic and Cirrus’ parts department for a new replacement was mid-September—a three-month wait! Ultimately, I scoured the internet, called people from old forum posts, looked on eBay and at salvage yards. I was able to find someone on the COPA forums that had a used one available and had it shipped to me. It didn’t come with an airworthiness disposition tag, so my A&P/IA inspected and installed it. The secondary market saved me from losing the ability to fly my Cirrus for the entire summer.
Thanks for taking this topic on in an upcoming issue. I really believe this is the most pressing issue for aircraft owners at the moment (though the insurance market sure is giving it a run for its money).
William Dillon – via email
We’ve been getting these kinds of notes and calls from owners on a fairly regular basis and like the parts shortages and high demand in other markets, the problem seems to be worsening.
As a reminder, we’re preparing a field report on the problem and what it means for prices of engines, accessories and consumables in an upcoming issue of Aviation Consumer. We want to know what problems you’ve been having when it comes to sourcing components and scheduling service.
RADAR PERFORMANCE BOOST
Excellent article on weather radars in the August 2021 issue of Aviation Consumer. I was one of those owners of a broken King RDR2000 you guys were talking about and after spending a few grand on its repair a few years ago, I elected to yank it from my Beech Baron when it failed again. While doing an ADS-B upgrade, I had my shop install a new Garmin GWX system.
Turns out I had buyer’s remorse the first time I flew the airplane around some ugly weather last spring. The portable ADS-B-sourced weather picture on my iPad was ten times better than the Garmin system I had just spend over $20,000 for. It wasn’t until a paint shop spotted what it thought was a neglected radome when I brought it over for an estimate for a paint job did I ask my shop to take a look. It confirmed what the avionics shop should have: The radome needed overhaul.
The long story short is that after overhauling the radome, the radar works flawlessly. It wasn’t a cheap repair, and if I knew I would be into the whole system for as much as I am I might not have upgraded. Still, your article offers valuable advice to go all in, or not at all.
Matt Pruett – via email