A visit to Leavens Aviation

By Doug Martin



Greg Mansell discusses crankcase assembly
with Carrie Martin (hidden) Jan Slavik, Gord Jackson,
Dick McLean, John Marlow and Rob Martin.


George Dailide illustrating a cutaway of a
feathering propeller mechanism while Greg Mansell
provides additional information to (left to right) Jan Slavik,
Carrie Martin, Rob Martin and Dick McLean.

On Saturday May 3, ten members of COPA Flight 28 were treated to a thorough tour of the Leavens Aviation operation in Mississauga.

Responding to a generous invitation from Jeff Leavens, general manager, the COPA group showed up on a foggy Saturday morning. Flying VFR was definitely out of the question, so what better way to feed our flying fever than immersing ourselves in engines and props for a couple of hours.

Jeff introduced us to Greg Mansell, director of maintenance. Greg walked us through the processes involved in rebuilding engines from the cases out. Considerable time was spent covering the internal ravages caused by engine inactivity. He had many examples of components rendered unserviceable simply by sitting idle with inadequate storage procedures.

If you’re not convinced of the necessity for proper engine storage and preservative oils, particularly for those winter months when flight hours don’t add up to what we had planned, then spend an hour with Greg and his parts collection and you’ll come away convinced.

I think everyone in attendance learned something new about the care and feeding of our precious engines and the very professional treatment that engines receive when overhauled at this facility.

Following the tour of the engine shop, we moved on to the propeller shop under the knowledgeable guidance of George Dailide. George is an active pilot himself and manages the propeller shop at Leavens. He illustrated many of the processes performed in the shop from inspection, balancing, re-pitching and refurbishing fixed pitch props through to the more complex processes of rebuilding and testing governors for constant speed props.

George has years of experience in the propeller shop and speaks with confidence about all of the processes necessary to keep props doing their job well.

Cutaways allowed examination of the mechanisms that make those constant speed props work, a real education for most of us. After inspecting a few examples of failed propeller blades, we will all be checking that leading edge even more carefully now.

As we were preparing to leave, Jeff provided each of us with a great package of technical articles, catalogs and mementos of the tour. Our thanks go out to Jeff and his staff for investing their personal time to provide us with a very rewarding and educational morning!