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NEW LIFE FOR CIRRUS N741CD


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INTRODUCTION

In August 2015 NexAir Avionics purchased N741CD. This aircraft started life as a 2001 Cirrus SR22. In May of 2015 the airplane suffered a hard landing at the DeKalb Peachtree (KPDK) airport in Atlanta. The airplane experienced damage to the left main gear, nose gear, motor mount, left wing and of course the engine and propeller. With less than 1500 total time on the Hobbs, We felt this airplane was a good candidate for a NexAir total Spinner to Tail restoration. We purchase the airplane with the intent to make this airplane new again, inside and out.

This post will be updated during the restoration process showing the complete process and showcasing the total capability of the NexAir Avionics Team.

STARTING AIRCRAFT - N741CD

The following pictures were taken after the initial purchase and highlight the damage to the airplane.This was our first inspection of the airplane in October 2015 and the goal here was to take things apart and make the initial decision that this was a viable project and an airplane that could be brought back to new standard. The following is a summary of our October initial inspection of the aircraft:

Propeller Damage:

Plan - to replace the propeller with new and the engine with a Continental Factory Re-manufactured Engine.

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Left Main Gear / Left Wing Damage:

This was an area of concern. The left main gear De-laminated as shown in the next picture. It came up so far that the bolt holding the wheel pant on punctured a hole in the left fuel tank.

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Nose Landing Gear / Motor Mount Damage:

The next three pictures show the damage to the nose landing gear and motor mount. The nose landing gear was hit hard and bent. The concern here is always the firewall and damage that may have occurred to the firewall making the chance of a repair impossible. In the pictures you can see that the motor mount broke at the top of the NLG puck tower which was a good thing. This, although destroying the motor mount, it allowed the landing gear to flex higher allowing the stress of the landing to be absorbed by the mount, engine and propeller and not the motor mount.

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October 2015 Initial Inspection Summary:

The airplane suffered damage to the left main gear and wing, nose landing gear and engine mount and of course the propeller and engine. On this inspection we did an initial inspection of the firewall and could not see any damage to the aircraft structure. All the nose gear and motor mount parts could be replaced with new along with the left main gear. A new propeller and a re-manufactured engine would remove any concern about the original engine and propeller. The damage to the left wing was in a repairable area and with the proper engineering approval from Cirrus the wing could be built up with new composite making it as good as new.

The decision to move to the next phase (Damage Repair) was done and plans were made to come back in December to go to the next step.

Look for the next post to cover the Damage repair of N741CD

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Posted (edited)

DAMAGE REPAIR

In December 2015 NexAir Technicians Chris Moberg and Andrew O'Shea headed down to Atlanta to inspect the firewall of N741CD for hidden damage and to accomplish the major repairs to following the approved Cirrus Engineering Repair Procedures. If all goes well then the new engine from Continental will be put on order. We were able to work on the aircraft for the week inside the hangars of EPPS Aviation. We could not have asked for a better host and EPPS was a fantastic company to work with.

Motor / Mount Removal and Firewall Inspection:

The stainless firewall cover had been dented when the A Frame of the NLG broke and pivoted higher than normal. The first step of our repair was to pull the engine and motor mount off so we could peel back the stainless to inspect the firewall composite. Here are some pictures as we removed the engine and motor mount to clear the firewall area:

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We were of course very pleased to find the composite firewall to be in perfect shape. With this behind us we cleaned everything and resealed the stainless firewall cover.

Composite Wing Repair:

The damage to the wing, while it did not look good, the repair was not so bad and we are very lucky to have one of the best composite technicians (Chris) working at NexAir. We had done our preparation for this trip and had a full repair procedure approved by Cirrus Engineering. With the approval of Cirrus, Chris went ahead repairing the wing. Pictures of the repair are as follows:

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The wing repair went very well and ended up as good as new. With the firewall inspection done and wing repaired we installed the new motor mount, NLG and Left Main Gear.

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Then the Interior went back in and basic Avionics installed to ferry the airplane back to Massachusetts.

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A lot of great work completed in a week at the EPPS facility in Georgia. The new motor from Continental was ordered and the airplane prepared with a new cover to wait on the ramp for its new engine.

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Next trip to Atlanta will be to hang the new motor and ferry the airplane back to Massachusetts.

Edited by Dave Fetherston

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Posted

Great to see this happening to my old aircraft. I owned her for many years - flew across the Atlantic in her. My girlfriend cried when we sold her. Only reason I sold her was I wanted FIKI and turbo to get above the summer tops in Europe. Wonderful that she is getting some great care and attention.

Anything you want to know about her, please let me know

David Brockbank

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Posted

Thanks for the nice post David - we are just completing the avionics upgrade and then she goes to paint and interior. Come to Oshkosh this year and see this airplane totally re manufactured better than new.

Dave

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Posted (edited)

NEW ENGINE, LOANER PROP AND FERRY TO MASSACHUSETTS

In February 2016 there was a shiny Factory Motor from Continental waiting at the EPPS Facility in Atlanta. Since we were planning a new 4-Blade MT propeller, Ross Robillard of Midwest Aircraft Refinishing had also sent us a loaner Propeller. The new MT prop would be at Ross’s place and installed during the Paint and Interior Phase.

NexAir Technician Chris Moberg and NexAir Director of Maintenance Michael Rearick headed back down to Atlanta to hang the new Motor and get the airplane completed and ready for ferry back to the NexAir facility in Mansfield Massachusetts. It only took our team a week to do all the composite repairs and put the aircraft back together last December so we were determined to have the plane ready to fly in the same amount of time. Once again EPPS while amazed on how fast the airplane came together, they were very helpful with hangar space and equipment support to allow us to pull this all off in record time. Our two technicians flew down on a Sunday and reported to work first thing Monday Morning.

Electrical Cleanup:

As is very typical with Cirrus we had some MCU issues. In December when the team was there they had trouble even powering the airplane with a power cart or the battery which was beyond repair. We knew we would replace the battery but when they came back from Atlanta in December they brought back the MCU. This was sent to Jim Barker for as complete tune up.

 

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The fully functioning MCU now installed back on the firewall we knew we would not have any electrical gremlins going forward.

Another area of concern in the Cirrus is the grounding, and most problems relate back to the Central Grounding point – the ole Dog Bone. With the engine off and the firewall all apart for inspection, this just seemed like the best time to remove and polish up the dog bone.

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Here is a picture of the Dog Boner all cleaned up. We knew this extra work would keep us from having any future electrical issues.

Motor Mount - Nose Landing Gear:

We located a good serviceable motor mount. With the single exhaust and the additional cost to go to a 6-point mount, we elected to put the money into a new 4-Blade MT propeller and stick with the original 4-point engine mount. Before mounting we had the motor mount bead blasted, inspected and painted with high gloss white powder coat.

The nose landing gear and all associated hardware were replaced with new Cirrus parts. Here is a picture of the motor mount and Nose Landing Gear complete and ready for the new motor.

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Here is a picture of the new puck stack and tower – looks great.

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With the new, perfect motor mount and nose landing gear it is time to hang the new Continental motor.

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Hey, did we mention that we replaced the brakes and tires while we had them apart – nice and shiny new.

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Electronics Testing and Initial Ground Runs:

We were not able to test any of the electronics when we were putting the airplane back together in December because of the faulty MCU. Now with the engine all set it was time to get some electrons flowing enough to get us back to Massachusetts.

With some minor issues cleared up the Avionics came up and went through initial testing and we were ready to turn the key.

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Notice we even put in an Avidyne IFD440 for the flight home?

With everything on and working, it was time for the initial engine ground runs. The airplane was towed out to the run-up area and read to go.

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Now Thursday afternoon and I get the call that the ground runs were all good. They have requested the ferry pilot (me) to come to Atlanta to fly the airplane home to Massachusetts. I got on a plane Friday morning and by noon I was in the EPPS hangar looking at a rebirth of and airplane just a few months ago was ready to be parked forever.

We did some initial checks and then planned on the initial local test flight Saturday morning. Here is a picture of N741CD ready to go Friday night in the EPPS hangar.

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Off for a good dinner with the team, a good night’s sleep and we were back first thing Saturday Morning. The initial local check flight went very well circling the airport for ½ hour. We landed and did a complete inspection.

We decided to do the break in procedure on our way north. One last check and we were off on our 900 mile trip back to Massachusetts.

Everything went very well on the flight home; even the autopilot flew the plane perfectly. Here is a nice panel shot on the way home.

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With one fuel stop in Virginia we landed in Mansfield MA without any problem. Here is the airplane all tucked away in our hangar.

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Next Stop - - The Avionics Spa.

Edited by Dave Fetherston

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