Last weekend we got a call from our pilot in the field reporting that he saw something on the propeller blade on the 182. And in our high-tech world, he was able to take a picture of the concern and attach it to a text message so Rob could take a look from home! From the picture, Rob was able to determine that the aircraft was safe to fly the hour and half back to Tana so we could repair it at the hangar.
Once the aircraft was safely home, it was agreed that the propeller would need be sent away to MT Propeller in Germany (the only manufacturer in the world for this type of propeller) for repair. When we first arrived in 2012, Rob went on a course in Germany, where he was trained and certified to disassemble and reassemble the propeller. A huge financial advantage for MAF, not to mention time saving for our program. In any case, this repair would still mean grounding the aircraft for at least 4 weeks while we wait for MT to make the repairs. This same aircraft type has just arrived at the MAF base in Uganda and is currently in registration process, also fortunately, their chief mechanic had just been trained in Germany as well. So they were able to disassemble theirs and ship it out to our program. We will fly with their propeller, while they wait on paperwork and the registration. And while our propeller is being repaired in Germany, we will only lose approximately 1 week of flying with this borrowed Ugandan one, rather than a whole month or more.
It's at times like these, we are so thankful MAF is a large team. Because we are in so many countries, operating similar aircraft types, when it saves money and time, we are able to "share" around parts and resources. Sometimes the resources equal manskills and different levels of training, and sometimes the resources are physical flying parts for the planes.
On Monday we hope to see the propeller from Uganda in the hangar, and Rob and Michel will work to get it on and flying as soon as possible to be ready for the busy week of flying that is scheduled.