Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

  Ever had a good or bad experience w/a avionics, engine, paint, interior shop, or an FBO or other aviation related service provider? Ever wanted to warn or advise others in the G.A. community about a great or lousy experience, where the info is available via a Google or Yahoo type search engine?
Well, there is now. I just started one due to some bad experience from a shop in Texas. Any and all are welcome to post experiences that youve had, good or bad. You can reward good service, or warn others about the bad apples in our GA community.
Im new at this, so I welcome any and all comments and advice.

http://groups-beta.google.com/group/AirplaneMaintShops

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Mark,
To be fair about it, how about we also start a thread for FBO's to read about the aircraft owners to stay away from?

Remember, there are always at least two sides to every story, and it wouldn't be fair unless the FBO could participate as well.

Also, you are the responsible party concerning the maintenance of your aircraft, so if you didn't check out this FBO prior to allowing them to work for you then that's your fault.
If during thier performance, or lack of, they did anything illegal per the FAR's, then you should handle that situation on a local level with your FSDO.

FBO bashing, same as aircraft owner bashing, is non- productive and serves no useful purpose.

Sorry about your bad experience.

Del Lehmann

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Hi Del, thanks for the thoughtful and cival reply. What prompted al this is: I went to a 'name shop' for a complete ovhl and new interior. Everything always looks good, freshly painted, etc. When I went thru annual some 97 hrs later, my alternator was hanging by one bolt, not safety wired, one of the brackets not installed at all, wrong size belt, and the one bolt was worn half way thru. Had to get all new hardware, brackets, and and alt. ($1000). Next, there are supposed to be alum retention rings around the pushrod seals to prevent bulging/leaking. These were NOT reinstalled. This will run me $450 to rectify. Seats were reupholstered, and were (in writing) supposed to get all new foam. They just recovered the old (as I have since found out, automotive grade) foam, with no lowering of price. The existing foam doesnt pass the burn specs. So to fix this, Im out $1250. When I asked the owner of shop, he said "I didnt think they needed it", and he wouldnt even consider a refund.There are other issues, like the door jambs were supposed to be repainted, but never were. When I flew in there, the oil pressure sensing switch was fine, but on initial start up after the ovhl, it leaked profusely! Lost a qt in 15 seconds. They replaced it with a set screw. Cost me $35 to repl it myself. They set the timing so far off, that my EGTs ran 200-250 hot, but my CHTs were 50-60 cooler. They said it was normal till the rings seat. After 23 hrs, and a terribly stained (brownish tan) belly, I had another shop check the plane out and they found the timing problem and corrected. Cost me $400 and the Texas overhaul shop covered half this ammt. I was provided w/a 3 yrs workmanship warr, but they refuse to even discuss issues with me.
Del, what would you do if you were me? They are in Devine Tex, near SanAntonio, and I am in SoCal. Lawyers/courts arent a viable option. FAA doesnt have a 'consumer affairs' dept that Im aware of. How should I proceed? Please, Im a fair guy. I can back up anything Ive said with picts! I have kept all the parts that had to be replaced. Thanx for listening, Del, and anyone else.

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Mark,
Well, the location of the work certainly gives it away.

I'm sorry to have appeared "civil". Really I am.

From what you have described above, I would suggest if you haven't already, to document everything you can about all the discrepancies you've had since they did the work. Get written statements from the mechanics that had to correct the problems. When you have this information gathered and organized so that it offers a presentation format that an FAA FSDO could decifer, then send a copy to the owner of the "Devine" business. Let him know that you will send a CC to Ed Greer at the San Antonio FSDO (210-308-3300) if he doesn't make things right.

I have had 2 customers in the past 10 years that I wish I could have warned other shops to avoid doing business with, thus my reasoning in my previous post.
It's best to learn and go on. There is no such thing as a bad experience. Experience is knowledge gained, and knowledge ain't a bad thing.

I'm not saying to forget about it, just do what you need to without going nationwide.

I don't know everthing that has transpired between you and them, so if my advice is inappropriate or to late I apologize. If your not mistaken about the description of the poor work you decribed, you definately have good grounds to file a complaint with the FAA and they don't care much about state boundries. I also know a couple avid aviators who happen be Attornies at Law in that area. A little money to have them write a love letter may go a long way to helping you regain what you feel you've lost.

Kind regards,
Del

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Mark,
This is part of the reason I don't care much for negative publicity. This is a recent post on the Piper Owner website:

"Author:  Dan -  E-Mail Address
Date:     5/12/2004 8:24:17 PM

Price spread in Trade A Plane.Factory over haul $13,869.00
would not include remove or reinstall,but would include new heads. I beleive.
Devine Engine & air frame $8,695.00 including removal and reinstall with        rebuilt heads.
I personally know of seven engines Devine has overhauled, including my own a IO 540. The hours on the engines at this time variy. maybe 600 on the oldest one that I'm awere of. 21 hours on my own. Time will tell but at this point all seems well.
After talking with the other owners I decided to go with Devine. In my case the savings seamed worth the risk. I had checked with a number of good shops ( LyCon,Victor,Air west and more) the price was going to be aprox. $22,500.00
plus $3,000.00 for remove and reinstall. A savings of $12,000.00.
I picked the plane up flew around the patch, landed to check things out. I then flew 10 hours back to California were I live.They are located in Devine,Texas (San Antonio) I have burned 1&1/2 qts of oil in the last 21 hours which is all I have on it."

A piece of paper (or computer) will hold still while a person writes anything they want, good or bad, positive or negative.

Del



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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Del, Thanks for the advice. Im not trying to be a PITA, but I honestly my case if blk/wht. I cant even generate a reply fron the shop in wuestion. Much obliged for the  lead on the FSDO guy in SAT area. I didnt know where to start. And thanx for being a gentleman!  Ill keep you posted as to my progress.  mark
PS: I get the impression you are aware of this particular shop. Are you also in Tx?

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Mark
I have heard of the business in Devine TX that you speak of, but have had no personal experience with them.

My shop is in Mena Arkansas. I know the folks at the SAT FSDO and alot of others across the country because we deal with them getting ferry permits to bring damaged aircraft here for repair.

I know what parts and labor cost should be for most operations that are performed to general aviation aircraft. So, when I see another business advertising services at significantly lower prices ( prices so low that I know the job could not be done right) I ask myself; How are they doing it that cheap?
Are they skipping important steps? Paying unskilled labor? Using inferior products or parts? Working out of thier garage? Not honering thier warranty? (ALL shops will have warranty issues on occasion).I'm not saying that this is the case in your situation, nor insinuating anything about the facility who performed the work because I've never delt with them. When an aircraft owner needs a service and finds a business who can provide the service much cheaper, it should throw a red flag and you should ask why. Maybe they can really do the job right, better, cheaper, but find out how.

If I did not warranty my work, I could lower my shop rate.
If I substituted new parts with good used serviceable parts without telling my customer, I could lower prices.
If I were to exchange my skilled employees for greenhorns, I could lower my overhead, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure the result.

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Aircraft go thru that shop probably for resale. Great to give a warranty to original purchaser of work then not have to worry about it afterwards. All gussied up to appeal to someone.

Best bet I think is to go to someone in your area with a known reputation and/or customers you can talk to. When prices may be about 30% cheaper watch out, look carefully at what you are getting.



 

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

MY COMPANY, DEVINE ENGINE & AIRFRAME, INC. OVERHAULED THE ENGINE IN MR. DYMOND'S PIPER ARROW. I AM NOT A MEMBER OF THIS SITE SO I DO NOT KNOW EXACTLY WHAT MR. DYMOND'S COMPLAINT IS, ALL I SEE ARE YOUR RESPONSES. THE COMPLAINT SEEMS TO BE IN REGARDS TO A WARRANTY ISSUE. THE ONLY WARRANTY ISSUE THAT I AM AWARE OF WITH MR. DYMOND WAS AN ISSUE REGARDING THE TIMING OF HIS LASAR IGNITION SYSTEM. THE LASAR SYSTEM TIMING WAS OFF SOME, ACCORDING TO MR. DYMOND'S LOCAL MECHANIC AND I ACCEPT THAT. MR. DYMOND CALLED ME AND SENT ME THE INVOICE. I PAID FOR HALF OF THE INVOICE. THE REASON THAT I PAID HALF AND NOT THE ENTIRE INVOICE WAS THAT THIS COULD AND SHOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED. WHEN MR. DYMOND TOOK DELIVERY OF HIS AIRPLANE, AFTER NUMEROUS GROUND RUNS WITH ALL INDICATIONS GOOD, HE CHOSE NOT TO FOLLOW MY ADVICE TO PERFORM A 30 MINUTE TEST FLIGHT AND UNCOWLING OF THE ENGINE TO CHECK THINGS OVER. MR. DYMOND JUMPED IN HIS AIRPLANE AND WAS OFF TO CALIFORNIA. IT IS MY OPINION THAT IF THERE WAS AN ISSUE WITH THE TIMING IT WOULD HAVE BEEN CORRECTED AT THAT TIME.I BELIEVE THAT I MORE THAN DID MY PART IN THIS MATTER. IF THERE IS AN ISSUE OTHER THAN THIS, I AM NOT AWARE OF IT. I HAVE NOT HEARD FROM MR. DYMOND IN PROBABLY 9 MONTHS OR MORE. I THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE MY SIDE OF THE STORY.

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Bruce:
I see the following reply that you posted on the Cessna site. I will do the same, for a letter I sent you several days ago.



This is now the 6th letter Ive sent you, and still no reply.
As you may remember, I departed on a Monday afternoon, right at closing time. I mentioned the high EGTs after the warm-up, but you said the rings have to seat. Plus, if you couldnt get the timing right initially, then how were you intending to get it right the next time?
Next, in previous notes, I listed several problems that I have become aware of, but will list them once more for you. (And if I dont hear from you via private email, I will post this note on the Cessna (and Piper, Beech and Mooney) boards tomorrow, along with the photos,  as you do seem to read those.
Here is my most recent letter to you, from May 11, 2005
*******************************************************************************


May 11, 2005  0750

Bruce:  Ive sent you (4) notes in March, and have not even received the courtesy of a reply.
Now, after completing an annual inspection, some other problems were found with the work performed at your shop. I am making a claim on the workmanship portion of the warranty you provided in accordance with the work done at your shop.

1. The alternator was improperly installed, not safety wired or secured properly. One bolt was missing the nut,  (2) bracket bolts were loose, one causing damage to the threads in the case; holes in brackets and alternator were worn such that they were far 'out of round'.  The installation compromised safety. To rectify, all new brackets had to be installed; new alternator, associated hardware, and belt. Materials and labor were $1050. Since the alternator wasnt new, but all the hardware and brackets had to be replaced, I feel it is fair you should cover $700.  of this ammt. I have graphic photos of the components if you would like to see them.

2. #1 Cyl EGT probe was installed such that the spark plug cant be removed unless the probe is removed first. Also, it was drilled  1.75" down from the head, whereas it was supposed to be between 2" and 4" down. The other (3) were drilled at  1.85". To rectify this, a new exhaust tube for that cyl will cost $185., and the installation will run 4 hrs @ $75.00, so total of $485. I feel this is totally your responsibility.

3. The rear seats were previously done by an automotive shop. They used automotive grade fabric
and foam.  After learning of this, I paid you to completely redo them, incl the foam.(All your internet advertising promotes this, as did your written estimate/offer). I even discussed how to shape the foam with your interior man, Blake.  But, you elected to just cover over the existing automotive foam. When I asked you why the foam wasnt done, as agreed upon, you just said "they didnt need it".  I assumed that meant that the existing automotive foam was legal for aviation.  Well, according to my local FSDO, it turns out that they DO need it. I paid your company do it, and it wasnt done. To get this done at a local airplane upholstery shop will now cost $1250 for the pair, as they have to be recovered. The existing covers wont fit properly over the new, thicker foam. I feel this is totally your responsibility.

4. The aluminum bands (8) that had been around the green rocker arm seals were not put back on after the overhaul. They seem to be showing signs of bulging. To remedy this, my mechanic will need to buy (8) green rubber seals, (8) aluminum bands, (4) valve cover gaskets, and (4) rocker pin retention plate gaskets. Total materials are $57.00, and 5 hrs labor is $375.00, total of $432. I feel this is totally your responsibility, as your shop neglected to re-install the bands.


5. My oil pressure sending switch was damaged while in custody of your shop. I flew into your airport, and it was fine. First time the engine was started, right after the overhaul, it leaked profusely from a large split. You replaced it with a set screw, rendering my Hobbs meter in-op. I had to buy another and have it installed here. $35.00  Again, your responsibility.


Total for the above mentioned items is $2902.  As a side note, the plane currently has 97 hrs since the work was done. Also, all these claims are "WORKMANSHIP" claims, not failure of materials claims.
I hope you will have the decency to respond to me re these matters. If you would like to see pictures detailing these items, I will be glad to furnish same.
******************************************************************************

I am enclosing photos for you re items #1, #2, #4, and #5.  And if you choose not to respond again, I will forward the photos, your work orders that clearly stated seat foam was to be REPLACED, along with statements from the IA who recently completed the annual regarding the other (airworthiness) items, to the SAT FSDO,  the Texas Consumer Affairs, and the BBB.

Also, you originally promised competition in four weeks. So I bought an advance airplane ticket for five weeks. I had to pay $80.00 two times to change it, because you werent done with work. And when I finally did arrive, seven weeks later, I had to spend five nights in a hotel and rent a car.  You never even offered to take responsibility for the delays.  And during the annual, the prop had to be removed to deal with the alternator situation, and your shop had loaded the O-ring inside the hub up with RTV. Both the IA and prop shop say this is improper and could lead to blockage in the oil system. (I have pictures of this as well.)

Hope to hear from you today,
Mark Dymond

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Mark

I've been an airplane owner for ten years.
Sorry to hear about your missfortune and thank you for sharing it with us.
I, and several of my ac owner friends have had similar experiences, and all agree that you should not refrain from spreading the word.
(We live in Texas, so this is very good to hear).

For another similar & pleasant experience, use TELFORD Aviation, in Maine. They'll be more than happy to invoice you for work they have not performed, and then ignore your repeated attempts to contact them.

Steve

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

wow, this is scary. I would think a lawyer would have a field day with this guy. Letters can be ignored, but filing a court case cannot.

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Oh the stories i could tell you from 28 years of using a big shop that were supposedly friends.New muffler installed,25 minutes later all exhaust header nuts fallen off.Another time new rudder cables installed ,3 landings later rudder cable comes off and jams into side of pulley. Another time new skis installed and bungees pull out of hook,safety cables too long and ski hanging straight down.Oil leaks ,bolts loose all the time.Now i do my own work.Also estimates given and always 300% higher.1 in a 100 aircraft mechanics are really qualified to work on aircraft.I just had a new i/a do an annual,clunking in back after first take off.Radios in rear compartments fell out of quick clamp brackets and slapping side of fuselage.I suggest if you dont check your plane out after your mechanic worked on it ,quit flying.

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Re: Airplane Maint Shops: Comment Page

Oh forgot about last years annual after new throttle cable intalled,clip came off and after applying full throttle she stayed there.Dont trust anyone,but yourself.It is your families life at stake.

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