It’s no secret that MAF’s seasoned mechanics and volunteers are adept at creating useful items for plane maintenance on the field. But for a guy whose mechanical prowess doesn’t go much further than the twist of a screwdriver, I find myself fascinated at the creativity brimming out of the MAF machine shop.
On my latest trip to the cavern of creativity, John Miller showed me the propeller feathering spring compressor – a necessary tool for removing the propeller on a Caravan.
This tool costs over $2,600, but with MAF’s ingenuity and resources it is built for a cool $75.
So, how did they do it?
“We used reverse engineering with one that we had purchased and were able to draw up the schematics and specifications to make them ourselves,” John said. “We’ve already made quite a few and the mechanics on the field seem to like them.”
MAF volunteers Steve Broughan and Jeff Morgan are responsible for the production of the tool, with Steve serving as the machinist and Jeff taking care of the welding.
Without this tool, mechanics and maintenance specialists in the past would have to borrow them from other programs, putting the plane out of commission while waiting for the part to be shipped. But that is no longer the case.
“This isn’t a tool you use everyday,” John said. “It just sits up on the shelf most of the time. But when you need it, it sure is good to have it handy.”