Sometimes airplanes break

My father-in-law mentined on Thursday that the airplane had a more substantial oil leak than prior.  Then Friday morning, one of the other partners texted me that there was a large amount of oil coming out of the cowl after a quick flight.  I was in Springfield, so I planned to stop by the hangar on my way home.

The first thing I did was check the oil and noted that the oil level was down to 3 qts.  I immediately pulled the keys out, put a note on our scheduling board that the plane was grounded until further notice, and called our mechanic who agreed and offered to come out Saturday morning to see what was going on.

By the time he arrived on Saturday I had already removed the cowling and done my own looking around.  After a thorough inspection of the engine, we decided to clean all of the oil off of the engine and firewall, then do an engine run to see if we could identify the leak.  After a thorough cleaning and adding some oil to the engine, we rolled it out and started it up without the cowl.  It only took 30 seconds of engine running for Larry to identify the leak with an obvious stream of oil coming out through the alternator.  The diagnosis was that the oil seal on the alternator was bad, or perhaps a bent shaft on the alternator.  

We pushed the plane back in, drained the oil and removed the alternator, which was just installed during the annual earlier this year.  Now, we start the dance of getting a warranty replacement.

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