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Back with New Fuel Tanks

84R is finally back on-line after waiting a long time to have new fuel bladders installed.  Leaks in the old bladders were discovered while the plane was down because the rebuilt landing gear hydraulic pump motor was found to be faulty.  We couldn’t get another motor for several weeks, so we sent the “new,” but faulty motor out for repair, which turned out to need only minor soldering on one of the motor windings.  When the fuel leaks were discovered, we had to order new bladders.  New fuel bladders, at least the best quality ones, are not stocked by suppliers, because when folded and resting on a shelf, they tend to develop creases that can lead to premature failure.  It takes three weeks to fabricate a set of fuel bladders.

Installing new fuel bladders involves removal of much of the cabin interior headliner, multiple access panels in the wings that haven’t been opened in years, and old protective tape and adhesive from the wing cavities, followed by application of new tape over the wing rivets, feeding the rolled up bladders through the access holes and attaching corner tabs to the inside of the wings.  Then the fuel system attachments can be connected and the interior re-assembled.  Not an easy or quick process, and one I hope we don’t repeat for many years.