The physical inspection starts with the dataplate.
The controls were checked for movement and any possible hang-ups.
The moment of triumph. Frank hands Sharon her airworthiness
certificate and gets a big smooch in return.
Frank helped us over the hump on that part. He noted
all the places that were incorrect, or not filled out at
all, and had all of them marked with sticky notes when
he showed up for the inspection. We were ready. The
inspection started with Frank and Sharon going through
all the forms and getting each and every line, space, and
checkmark filled in and marked accordingly. That took a
little more than an hour.
Then it was time for the physical inspection of the plane.
In all three inspections that I’ve been involved in, the
first thing the inspector always looks at is the dataplate
attached to the left rear of the fuselage. If it’s not exactly
like the registration form, you are dead right there. If that’s
okay, then the rest depends on you.
Did you use AN hardware? If the inspector sees anything
on the plane that screams hardware store, he or she may
become an unhappy camper. If you don’t know what I mean
by that, then before you start your project, you should get
the aircraft mechanics’ bibles, FAA publications 43.13-1A
and 43.13-1B, Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices
- Aircraft Inspection and Repair. They tell you everything you
need to know about building your dream airplane.
We had checked the dataplate on the Morane several
times against the registration form, and it was correct. Frank
verified that, and the real inspection began. He checked
every nut, bolt, clevis pin, cotter pin, cable Nicopress
fitting, control rod…everything, which is exactly what we
wanted him to do. Some builders hope to get an inspector
who isn’t very strict. Not Sharon. It was going to be her
in the plane, and she wanted to make sure everything was
Thirty minutes later, Frank finally turned to Sharon and
said, “It’s good to go; let’s go finish up your paperwork.”
Ten minutes later, he handed her the official airworthiness
certificate for her own Morane. I know that Frank doesn’t
usually get a big kiss when he finishes an inspection, but he
sure did this time.
Harvey Cleveland, Robert Baslee’s chief test pilot, made
the first few test flights of the Morane. It flew nicely right
out of the box. His only squawk was that the oil temperature
was hovering over the redline for the entire flight. We
needed to get the cooling issue resolved, so we pulled the
engine off the plane.
Robert stopped by and took a look at the plane just as we
got the engine off. Sharon’s Morane parasol is the prototype
of a kit Robert is going to offer with the rest of his World
War I stable. Robert pulled Harvey off to the side and asked
him if he needed to make any changes before starting on
the kits. Harvey said it was good to go right out of the box.
Robert was very satisfied with the flight characteristics
but asked us, since the engine was gone, if he could take
it over to his plant and do some tweaking while he was
repairing and measuring it. We asked why.
“I’d like to take the plane home to the Airdrome plant,
go over it, and make it so it can be completely assembled
and disassembled, on the field, in less than 30 minutes and
with no tools,” he said. “How about it?”