"What a gorgeous airplane!" This is a typical comment from a pilot who sees a Charlie Echo, LLC airplane for the first time. It's usually hard to tell them from a new one. Of course, the beauty is more than skin deep....
Charlie Echo was the idea of Robbie Cowart and Gary Estes. Robbie, a respected residential and commercial builder in Vicksburg, MS who is also a pilot, had the idea to transform good airplanes into great airplanes.
Building on the premise of quality refurbishment with first-class paint, interior, engine, and avionics work as well as extensive airframe and instrument maintenance, Charlie Echo provides buyers with an airplane that will deliver years of dependable service in addition to state-of-the-art cosmetics, comfort, and avionics.
Starting with a low time, NMDH, no-corrosion airframe, Charlie Echo begins the refurbishment process by stripping the interior and pulling the flight instruments as well as the tach and mp gages.
All instruments are overhauled and refaced, or replaced with new ones. The interior sheet metal is cleaned and zinc chromated (like the factory does now).
All flexible hoses are replaced, including the vent hoses going to the leading edge that are rarely changed. The old, worn out (or missing) fiberglass insulation is replaced with soundproofing closed cell foam. Before the headliner is reinstalled, the upper cabin is treated with Corrosion X.
Avionics and Interior
Normally, a Garmin stack is installed and a stec ap installed. We usually install a panel dock for XM weather.
A custom leather interior with wool carpet is installed. All plastic is either replaced or repaired and refinished to complement the upholstery.The glass is carefully inspected and if it shows signs of aging or crazing it is replaced.
In the engine department, we pull the engine; then we pull the engine mount. We send the engine out for a new limits overhaul with new CYL assemblies, or we exchange for the same. The engine mount is checked for cracks or corrosion and refinished to match the baffles, which have been rebuilt and refinished. While the engine mount is removed, the firewall is thoroughly cleaned and polished.
Any wiring or cables that show excessive wear are always repaired or replaced. The prop is either resealed or overhauled, unless it has fairly low time. The landing gear is addressed by removing the axles and checking the attach bolts.
All wheel bearings and races are usually replaced with new, as are the brake linings and caliper o-rings. Finally, the airplane is stripped, etched, alodined, primed and painted in a late-model or custom scheme.
We can, of course, do any or all of these renovations to your airplane. You get to pick and choose the level of refurbishment you desire and we can even procure an airplane for you to refurbish.
Whatever your needs, Charlie Echo can help you. Although Cessna 182s are our specialty, we will work with you on any airplane and give it the same level of commitment and professionalism that we give all our clients and aircraft. The photos on this page demonstrate some of the refurbishment performed on our aircraft. For more information about our history and airplanes, as well our processes and procedures, please contact Gary Estes.