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  #1  
Old 07-27-2019, 05:23 PM
chrispratt's Avatar
chrispratt chrispratt is offline
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Default BACON SAVED ? AIRPLANE MECHANICS ROCK

I?ll admit right up front that the problem was my fault. But the reason for my posting is to thank Orin Baudette for saving my bacon and helping me get back in the air when I was away from home base.


Orin Baudette (sp?). Orin you are a saint. Excuse me if I misspelled your last name. You came to the rescue and worked through the issue for me. I am so grateful.


I flew to Sulphur Springs (KSLR), Texas for breakfast. It?s about 35 minutes from home base at 52F. Everything went fine including the landing and taxi until I approached the tie-down spot at the terminal at the south end.

As I pressed the break to make a hard left, the pedal went to the floor ? nothing. I quickly reduced power, and said a mild curse. Now what? On getting out of the airplane (thankfully not a busy ramp at 0900 on Saturday) I could immediately see a trail of fluid that confirmed what I suspected. Brake fluid everywhere.


The telltale trail of fluid shows where the airplane stopped prior to my moving it into a parking spot




Removed the wheel pant and the scene confirmed my suspicions.



What to do? I finally had the chance to put my emergency tool kit to the test after 14 years of non-use, and I quickly realized I was missing a few essential items ? like a 7/16 open-end wrench for the wheel pant bolt. And I wrench for the brake bleed valve.


You never have enough tools. Note to self: add 7/16 wrench for wheel bolt, small wrench for brake bleed valve.

I needed a mechanic.

There was no one in the terminal at the time so I started walking toward the first open hangar I could see. A couple of guys who had just returned from Oshkosh came out and after a quick introduction made a call to their favorite mechanic, Orin Baudette. Orin showed up 5 minutes later and said let?s take a look.

Orin maintains a fleet of three Falcon 10s plus some piston aircraft. He worked for Legend aircraft before starting his own business. He had that calm demeanor you like to see in mechanic.

Thank God he was there. After I described my problem, Orin thought it might be a cracked brake line as he had seen this quite a few times with aluminum lines like Vans kits use. As he took the brake line fitting off, I saw an embarrassingly poor fluting job that I had done (one of my first ever attempts), and we suspected that was the issue. He cut the tube and made a new flare and with an overblown sense of confidence we tested it. Leaked like a sieve.


First suspect was a poor tubing flare (my bad!). We fixed that, filled the brake line, tested and? splash. This was not the problem.


So the next suspect was the brake puck. We removed it and saw: a) the O-ring was trying to squeeze itself out of the assembly, and b) the puck was installed backwards. I really couldn?t believe I had done that because I know better. I?m blaming it on Gremlins.

So another trip to Orin?s shop (we made several). He cleaned up the brake caliper, tried a new O-Ring but found it leaked, so we put the old back O-Ring back in and it held up fine under pressure.

So back to the plane and this did the trick. Success.



The next suspect, and real culprit, was the brake puck was inserted backwards. I can?t believe I did this. The O-Ring was literally working its way out of assembly.


The real point of my long story, is to say thank you to Orin for being there, for spending a couple of hours of his Saturday helping me when I know he had much more important items to attend to ? like prepping one of the Falcon 10s for an afternoon flight. I had to force some money on him for his help.

This is what I love about aviation, people like Orin.

If you ever get to Sulphur Springs (KSLR) and need help, ask for Orin. He?s well known there and for good reason.

Happy flying!
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RV-8 Flying, 850+hours
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52F (Northwest Regional, TX)
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2019, 05:58 PM
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scard scard is offline
 
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Default

Thanks for sharing that Chris. It is a humbling reminder of the little things we can do to improve our dispatch reliability.

Now that you're home safe, I'm sure you've already pulled the other caliper and puck to inspect .
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  #3  
Old 07-27-2019, 06:28 PM
Flying Canuck Flying Canuck is offline
 
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Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 581
Default Nearly my exact story

Amazing how similar this is to my experiences on my cross the country trip earlier this month. Had the broken flare on the brake line and leaky o-rings on both brakes. I too didn't have the 5/16" wrench for the bleeder or the right angle Phillips that I needed to get my wheel pants off. I did split my troubles into 3 failures and added in a flat tire. My mechanic heros were Doug from Southeast Aviation in Estevan, SK and Rick from the Hamilton, NY Municipal Airport.

The willingness of the aviation community to pitch in to get a plane back in service astounds me. I have never seen a community like it. I think it's because we've all been there and think nothing of helping out when someone else gets there.
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Last edited by Flying Canuck : 07-27-2019 at 06:30 PM. Reason: minor tweak
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  #4  
Old 07-27-2019, 11:07 PM
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chrispratt chrispratt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scard View Post
Thanks for sharing that Chris. It is a humbling reminder of the little things we can do to improve our dispatch reliability.

Now that you're home safe, I'm sure you've already pulled the other caliper and puck to inspect .
That is my Sunday chore, Scott. Thanks for reading.

Chris
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  #5  
Old 07-27-2019, 11:08 PM
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chrispratt chrispratt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Canuck View Post
....
The willingness of the aviation community to pitch in to get a plane back in service astounds me. I have never seen a community like it. I think it's because we've all been there and think nothing of helping out when someone else gets there.
Amen, brother.

Chris
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Chris Pratt (2021 VAF DUES PAID)
RV-8 Flying, 850+hours
N898DK
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52F (Northwest Regional, TX)
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  #6  
Old 07-28-2019, 02:22 PM
rightrudder rightrudder is offline
 
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I had a similar situation in Santa Maria. I had to back-taxi for a mile on the active runway, in a pretty decent crosswind. Feeling a little freaked to be on the runway that long, I taxied too fast and while riding the right brake, cooked the O-ring to the point of failure, with consequent total fluid loss on that side. High ambient temps didn't help.

With one functioning brake, a trike gear RV does beautiful 360s but not much else. There's enough rudder authority to steer while taxiing, but you have to be going at 20 mph or so. Way too dicey & unsafe to attempt.

Got a tow back to the FBO and in the hands of capable A&Ps, my RV was repaired within a couple of hours. Great guys! I tipped them well.

Extra brake o-rings are now part of my tool kit. Fortunately, the guys at Santa Maria had the correct size that day.
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  #7  
Old 07-28-2019, 06:42 PM
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chrispratt chrispratt is offline
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Default Brake update

Quote:
Originally Posted by scard View Post
...
Now that you're home safe, I'm sure you've already pulled the other caliper and puck to inspect .
Hey Scott: Here's an update for you. I removed the right brake caliper today and sure enough, I put that puck in the wrong way as well. At least my "Gremlin" was consistent. Everything is back ship-shape now.

As a point of interest, I changed the O-Rings back on October 1 last year. I've flown about 40 hours with the pucks in backwards. So this mistake does not necessarily become noticeable right away. Braking was fine right up to failure.

Chris
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Chris Pratt (2021 VAF DUES PAID)
RV-8 Flying, 850+hours
N898DK
Lycoming O-360-A1A, Hartzell CS
52F (Northwest Regional, TX)
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  #8  
Old 07-28-2019, 06:49 PM
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chrispratt chrispratt is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rightrudder View Post

...With one functioning brake, a trike gear RV does beautiful 360s but not much else. There's enough rudder authority to steer while taxiing, but you have to be going at 20 mph or so. Way too dicey & unsafe to attempt.
...
Doug: The taildraggers are no better when it comes to losing a brake. I had a brake master cylinder failure (left brake) on one of my early Phase 1 landings and promptly exited the runway surface while barely missing a runway light.

IMO RVs need brakes. They are just too squirrelly to handle without them and not worth the risk.

Glad to hear your situation worked out well.

Chris
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RV-8 Flying, 850+hours
N898DK
Lycoming O-360-A1A, Hartzell CS
52F (Northwest Regional, TX)
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  #9  
Old 07-28-2019, 10:58 PM
maus92 maus92 is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Annapolis MD
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispratt View Post
Hey Scott: Here's an update for you. I removed the right brake caliper today and sure enough, I put that puck in the wrong way as well. At least my "Gremlin" was consistent. Everything is back ship-shape now.

As a point of interest, I changed the O-Rings back on October 1 last year. I've flown about 40 hours with the pucks in backwards. So this mistake does not necessarily become noticeable right away. Braking was fine right up to failure.

Chris
I guess the pads need to wear a bit. I've blown out a seal before, but I didn't notice until I saw the puddle during the following preflight. That one needed replacement (I changed to Vitron.)
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