Ants in the Pilot's Seat & Other Surprises

Now that the Vixxen is back from its latest maintenance, I thought a quick note as to what work was done, is still upcoming, and what was a surprise, would be of interest.

The Required Work:

  1. Annual & 100 hour airframe inspections and servicing
  2. Rotax 100 hour service - including new spark plugs all around
  3. 50 hour oil change
  4. Logs updated (available at

The Known Squawks:

  1. Replace the pilot side tire
    • The passenger side tire is going to be flipped to get a bit more life out of it before being replaced (tires are $143 each)

  2. Replace the nose landing light
    • Still on order but not a flying impediment 

  3. Troubleshoot the integrated backup battery system (IBBS) as it no longer keeps the Garmin alive during startup. We are still working to understand this one but….
    • Ants-Ants-AntsWhen the pilot’s seat was pulled out to get to the IBBS, we discovered $0.32 in change, and surprise (not the real surprise), a small army of ANTS!  
      • Why ants? Well, somewhere along the line, someone spilled something sugary and it pooled in the pan below the pilot’s seat… the same pan where the IBBS lives.
      • Coincidentally, the IBBS blew a fuse. However, replacing the fuse didn’t solve the problem and so we are working with the IBBS manufacturer to resolve the issue.
      • Because that same liquid spill that attracted the ants may have splashed down the center console slots, remember, you can see control cables through the console, the team cleaned the cables to be sure they were not as gooey as the pan under the pilot’s seat.
    • There are three lessons to draw from a sugary drink spill in the cockpit
      • Even a small amount of spilt liquid may invite ants to move in underneath your seat
      • Hydrating liquids in the plane are fine, but do be extra careful not to spill anything. If a spill does happen, drop me a note so we can make sure it wasn’t just a surface spill.
      • And lastly, when you want to leave a tip, CashApp is better than letting change slip out of your pockets and into the seat pan.😉

The Real Surprise (it seems there is always one when it comes to airplane maintenance)

  1. The inspections uncovered a small, fine crack line on the paint at a weld on the nose gear assembly. Further investigation showed it wasn’t just a crack in the paint, nor a crack in the actual assembly (whew), rather it was a crack in the weld itself and likely an issue from the beginning.  
    • After consultation with the manufacturer’s USA distributor, the nose gear assembly was pulled, the paint stripped away, the weld inspected again, a weld repair implemented, and finally, it was all repainted and reinstalled.

Still Upcoming To Do:

  1. Flip the passenger side tire for tread wear (likely to happen in the next week)
  2. Pop in the replacement light for the center landing spot
  3. Resolve the IBBS lingering issue

At any rate, the Vixxen is back in flying form, and in fact, there were 3 flights on its first day back online! Thank you.

Go ahead and book your Vixxen flights as you wish and I’ll keep y’all posted as to progress on the still “upcoming” elements.

Happy Flying & Merry Christmas!