Akkatron / Johnny,
Thanks for the write-up of your experience. Your words echo my experience almost exactly, even down to having made the same mistakes (broken pawl jewel and disappearing date trip springs). I posted on another forum ( Accutron Date Indicator Repair Problem - National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Message Board ) about my problems with flying date trip springs and was told that "The calendar mechanisms are quite robust and easy to work on" and that "flying date trip springs should not be an issue". Hmm, well, perhaps, but they're still challenging for me!
Thanks also for the description of your technique for getting the gear train together. I'm a long ways from being comfortable with that and am still likely to botch something about 50% of the time. I recommend this decent, photo-documented write-up of how to reassemble an Accutron 218 gear train:
Third Wheel Installation