Wednesday, April 30

Livin' on Tulsa Time

Do you see the pride on their faces?
( This piece was written by Flagship Captain Steve "Jake" Jacobson.)

Last night Jim Skelly, Peggy Fairchild, and I returned from a short trip Tulsa and a static display event at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. It was one of the most impressive examples of teamwork and aircraft maintenance expertise I have seen since joining the Flagship Detroit Foundation.
The Tulsa Maintenance "Terrific Ten" team members are Jim Gentry (Team Leader), Bill Brown, Jim Ballard (avionics wizard), Devin Hassell, Patrick Mitchell, Rich Boom, Ben Jarvis, Stan Locker, Riley Carpenter and  Tommy Jones.
When we arrived, the cowlings had been removed for engine cleaning and oil leak sleuthing. The cowlings were polished to a level of shine that we have never seen before on our DC-3. The engines, props, gear boxes, and wheel wells were spotless. It was like looking at a Smithsonian restoration !  
When we were ready for the engine runs prior to replacing the cowlings, the left engine starter was not getting power and would not engage. Jim Ballard, the wizard, traced the problem down to a relay in the left wheel well. After years of faithful service, this little WW2 vintage relay finally died. We only had a couple of hours until show time at the TASM's Gala and no replacement relay, plus the airplane could not taxi on one engine in the 20-30 knot winds. It looked like we were going to be a no-show, but the TUL Team towed the Detroit for an hour in order to get the airplane to the Museum on time on the opposite side of the airport and around a massive runway construction project.
While the Detroit was on display for the guests of the Aviators' Ball, Jim Ballard and the TUL Team located a substitute relay that would start the engine and installed it during the Museum's Gala festivities. This allowed us to start both engines and taxi back to the AA Maintenance Base to avoid towing for an hour in the dark. The gentlemen on our TUL Maintenance Team are some of the finest in the business and a real asset to the Flagship Detroit Foundation. Some of them  have indicated an interest in attending the DC-3 ground school. I hope that we can schedule a ground school and recurrent landings in Tulsa during the coming months.
On Saturday we did walk around inspection training, and on Sunday we did engine starts and run ups. I recommend that the Board consider designating Jim Gentry qualified to do engine maintenance runs on the DC-3.

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