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Topic-icon SENECA I in Argentina

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5 months 3 weeks ago #1713

Hello everyone, I just joined Piper Flyer and would like to share with you a restoration project in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Last year I finally got my hands on a very low time (1900 hours since new) 1972 Piper Seneca I. As you probably know Piper had a few licensed factories in Latin America, and one of those was in Argentina. Initial production was focused on Tomahawks, Cherokees, Archers, Arrows and then they moved into twins with Senecas, Navajos and eventually graduated into turbos with Cheyennes.

Piper would ship crates with parts and engines and this factory would assemble, test and certify them. In 1972 they had some contractual obligations that demanded some Senecas already flying, but tooling and resources were not there. And that's how my Seneca got smuggled into the country (along with 2 others), flying from the US. Their tail plates say Made in Vero Beach, but at this factory a little AR was added with a rotating tool just before the model number (see pic below).

Serial number for this plane is 34-7250360 and as I mentioned it has a little under 1900 hours TT. You might wonder why? Well, it had a number of intervals on the ground, either because her owner died or because there was engine problem. This last hiatus started in 2012 when she got her last Airworthiness Certificate. After that the plane sat on the grass at San Fernando International (SADF) under the rain and sun, with one of the engines stored in a crate (some unspecified work was performed on it, probably on the OH cam).

My plan is to make her airworthy again and burn the 1400 hours those engines still had in (down here TBO is limited to 1800 hours). So far both propellers have been overhauled and all 8 cylinders and pistons are down for cleaning and inspection. I managed to rebuild 4 pieces of one of the engines exhaust (it was lost while the engine was in storage). I will take both FCU to the States for overhauling next week, along with fuel pumps. Governors, starters, magnetos and vacuum pumps will be overhauled locally. Then there is a lot of airframe work too: I need to remove, clean and re-install all 4 fuel tanks and change one of the filling ports and cap (badly rusted). All hoses will be changed. Tail assembly needs several bolts replaced (also due to corrosion). I will also replace all 3 tires, install a new battery, replace all pitot/static hoses, brake pads, spark plugs, gaskets and a few other items here and there :-0.

Unfortunately this Seneca still has the original trunions, which have a 50 hour mandatory inspection. I am not planning on changing them for now ... that's about $ 6,000 in parts only but I will change all nuts and bolts on the landing gear.

I will probably come up with a lot of questions for you, although I know there are not that many Seneca I still flying in the US. Down here we have at least 4 that are airworthy and flying regularly, mainly providing multi-engine training (no turbos, and cheap to fly at low power settings).

On the meantime, enjoy the pics.

Diego Becker
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Last edit: 5 months 3 weeks ago by Diego Becker.

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5 months 3 weeks ago #1714

A few pics with the plane already inside the hangar, and the engines open.

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5 months 3 weeks ago #1715

Very good. Thank you for joining and thank you for providing a look at your "new" airplane. From your post, it seems like you know what it going to take to get "Lima Charlie Zulu" back in the air.
Let us know what we can do to help.
Steve

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5 months 2 weeks ago #1719

Thanks Steve! I have been following this board for a while and now that I got my head (and wallet) into getting -LCZ back in the air I will probably ask a lot of questions ... like, how can I check how many Seneca I are still airworthy in the US and Canada?

All right, both FCU are dismantled and I will leave them this next Monday (March 4th) at Aviation Parts Executive (right off FXE) for overhauling. Let's see how this continues.

Best,

Diego

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Last edit: 5 months 2 weeks ago by Diego Becker.

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5 months 2 days ago #1738

All right ... first question B) :

Is it common for Seneca I to have 4 windows per side instead of 3? mine has 4, but the sister ship (-LCW) has only 3. Her S/N is smaller than mine, thus it might have been a 1971 model. Not sure.

Any light into this? The 4th window is on the baggage compartment.

Thanks,

Diego

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5 months 4 hours ago #1739

Next step ... fixing missing parts on the fuselage. So far just a part on the forward baggage compartment, probably stolen from those years sitting on the grass. Premier Aerospace Systems will get it manufactured and ready in 3 weeks.

D

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