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Touring Motor Gliders Association (TMGA)
Jim Lee

Phoenix Maintenance

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Jim Lee

Hi Jim -

I'm sure you are back from Columbia by now. Looks like you had a great trip! I followed your adventures. It is great that you share your "InReach" plots with us.

I have a question regarding Phoenix Owner maintenance. Near as I can tell, we are authorized to do whatever maintenance we are trained for and authorized by the manufacturer or the manufacturer's representative. But I'm finding very little detail on what we are authorized to do. I installed my landing light, and according to the Letter of Auth, I am authorized to do that. I had originally thought that Phoenix owners were authorized to do quite a few things in maintaining their planes. Is that documented somewhere?

In the LSA world, the aircraft manufacturer is the king. Phoenix Air gets to decide who can do what to the aircraft and all components. Phoenix Air allows the owner/operator to do all regular maintenance on the Phoenix, including 100 hour inspections and annual inspections. The only exception is that only an LSRM (at a minimum, which includes A&P which is a higher certification) can sign off the 100 hour or the annual inspection. In my case, I do the work, and my A&P looks over my work in detail and signs the logbooks.

However, Phoenix Air cannot trump the warranty which Rotax offers on the engine. Rotax states that only a Rotax trained technician can do anything to the engine during the warranty period (18 months or 200 hours) or the warranty is void. After the warranty period expires, the owner/operator can do the oil changes, spark plugs, filters, and other regular scheduled maintenance. That being said, would an untrained (by Rotax) individual want to remove the gearbox or do something similar? Of course not.

The documentation for this is on pages 1-12 to 1-16 and elsewhere in the Maintenance Manual.

As to making changes to the Phoenix (installing a landing light, etc.) you must get an LOA, Letter of Authorization. Lee Aviation can help you obtain this LOA, as long as you don't want to mount a bicycle on your wing or something like that.

From : Maintenance Manual Section 3.6.2 Specific Training, Schooling

Following a request and a completion of the relevant agreement the producer undertakes training of the aircraft operator staff or training of an applicant for maintenance in the required maintenance extent. It is possible to perform a request.

Lee Aviation provides the training relevant to the usual on-going maintenance and adjustments during the aircraft delivery to the owner, such as how to adjust the prop pitch, adjust brakes, change tires and brake pads. On request, Lee Aviation can provide other maintenance information, such as changing the gear leg.

I have experimented with minor pitch adjustments on my prop, but then when I went looking for authorization for me to do that, I didn't find anything. The maintenance manual Section 3.1 "owner maintenance" appears to authorize main and tailwheel removal, brake work, and oil change (I'm no longer in my engine warranty period), but nothing else? Can you authorize me to adjust my prop pitch? Anything else (what else?) without me attending a LSRM 120 hour course?

Every owner has been instructed in changing the prop pitch, and is thereby authorized to do so. The instructions are also included in the Woodcomp Prop Manual. Contact Lee Aviation for further clarification if necessary.

Since the rear tab on my left wheelpant mount was broken at the joint, some time ago I ground the immediate area, and added multiple layers of glass cloth impregnated with epoxy resin and the repair looks good, with no more weight added than a couple of peanuts. I logged this repair in the aircraft logbook. Am I approved to make this type of repair, and by documenting it, am I opening myself up for problems if the planes log is audited? I'll probably reinforce the right rear tab, as the crack has not reappeared on the left.

This is a minor repair which does not need factory authorization. It is not necessary to put an entry in the logbook for this minor repair. Broken tabs are usually the result of pushing the screwdriver into the camoc without holding the backside. The tab is not designed to be pushed inward. Always hold the rear of the tab when you are pushing inward with a screwdriver.

Is there any update in the works to the Phoenix maintenance manual? Some of it appears to be written in a manner that could be a bit clearer.

You are absolutely right. The factory should spend time on a major overhaul of the Maintenance Manual. In the meantime, requests for specific information or clarification from Lee Aviation will be dealt with promptly, including obtaining further info from the factory when necessary.

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Thanks Jim. This answers all of my questions. I have copied this information and have included it as a supplement to my Phoenix Maintenance manual. It appears the above statement of yours is the only written approval, for example, for me to adjust the prop pitch. Your prop pitch training, on delivery of the new aircraft was excellent. It was only when I went looking for written approval to do what I've been doing, that I started asking questions.

Many thanks again for your support.

Russ Owens

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Oops! As Jim mentioned in his response above, the prop pitch adjustment by a non-mechanic pilot is authorized in the Woodcomp Propeller manual by the statement "ALWAYS PERFORM THIS ADJUSTMENT UNDER SUPERVISION OF EXPERIENCED PILOT, MECHANIC, OR FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR!!!"


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