This past weekend, at 300.8 Hobbs hours total time, my SR20 experienced its first flap relay failure. I had been warned at the factory a year ago that this failure was possible. In fact, it was so likely that they encouraged me to buy an extra set of flap relays to carry in the plane so that I would not be stranded somewhere while new relays were shipped in. However, at the time I had no idea what to do with them except to keep them in my toolbox and be ready to turn them over to some A&P if asked.
Shortly before buying my SR20, I learned about COPA and signed up but didn’t pay to become a member. About a month after taking delivery of my plane I realized from various snippets of conversation on the public forums that there was much more information about owning and flying Cirri to be had in the members’ areas, so I spent the $50 to get access to those areas.
One of the things discussed IN DETAIL in the members’ area over the past year has been the flap relay failure issue:
(1) What the symptoms of a relay failure are
(2) Why the failures happen
(3) How to fix it yourself if necessary: Where the relays are, how to get to them, how to get them out, etc.
So, here’s why I’m writing this missive: At 3:30 pm. on a Sunday , 230 NM from home, my flaps won’t work. A year ago, my options would have been: (1) leave the plane until someone can look at it Monday. (2) Pull the flap circuit breaker, then do a no-flap take-off followed by a no-flap landing at home. (can you say “you just violated FAR 91.7 because working flaps are part of the airplane’s MEL!”?) Then I’d have had to get an A&P to look at, diagnose, and repair the plane.
But, since I had read the posts about flap failures on the COPA site, I knew the symptoms of flap relay failure and knew right away what the problem was. I also knew how to get at the relays and how to replace them. And, I still had the spare set from the factory in the back of my plane. All I needed was an A&P to supervise and approve the swap. In the end, I saved myself AT LEAST $50 worth of hassle because of the information available to members of COPA.
So join today! Better to have the information and not need it than to need it and not have it!