N96418, our 1978 Cessna 182Q, is a fantastic airplane. A Horton STOL kit gives it great short field performance, and long range tanks make it a cross country champ. Its engine, though several years since its last overhaul, has maintained the compressions of a young engine, and runs remarkably smooth. Its Apollo avionics stack and STEC autopilot were complemented by a new GTN 650 earlier this summer. However, it was not a very attractive looking airplane. Until January, it still had its original paint and interior. The old, weather-beaten exterior was stripped and repainted January to protect the airframe against corrosion and to refresh the Carter-era look.
We originally planned to replace the interior in late Spring 2014, but ended up taking a strategic delay to avoid cutting into the summer flying season. 418 finally went into the maintenance hangar in early October, and its interior was stripped down, literally to bare metal. Old upholstery, carpeting, insulation, and trim were removed. Seats were stripped down to their frames, and reconditioned before the new foam and coverings were applied. Plastics were repaired and repainted, and four weeks later, a clean, modern look emerged.