Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Aspen Fixed

Update: my max is replaced. Hopefully will have better luck with the new one. My avionics guy says they are very reliable, they are a good company to work with and in his opinion they don't fail any more often than Garmin.  Well my last one was certainly reliable, it went 7 years with no issues.  I do like the unit, the max is easier on the eyes for sure, and smoother.  I asked about the failure mode and he said he wasn't sure but when he described it to Aspen they seemed to know exactly what he was talking about. I wonder if I got one of the old Max units maybe with the old software? Anyways fingers crossed.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Aspen fail

 Unfortunately my brand new Aspen Max failed with less than 10 hours on it. The failure mode was concerning too, the unit just powered itself down to a black screen. After a minute or so, it booted itself up again, aligned itself, then shut itself down again. It did this a few times and eventually just gave up to a dead black screen. If it's a power issue, it should give a warning and run on the battery. If it's like an ADC failure or pitot etc, it should red X the affected items. This thing is a lot of functions in one box and for it to just suddenly decide to shut itself down to a black screen of death without warning is unacceptable in my opinion. It's also making me totally rethink my panel strategy, at a minimum I now want another backup HSI. We've had a ton of very widespread fog lately which often means the only way down is a low approach. Without my Aspen I have no CDI.

Also ATC reported they lost my mode C, presumably the Aspen is providing altitude info to the GTX-345 transponder.  Since I'm under the modeC (and ADSB) veil, I am basically AOG (aircraft on ground / grounded).  I'll probably change that to a Garmin blind encoder.  Fortunately Aspen was responsive to my avionics shop and sent a replacement, so hopefully will get this resolved soon.  In the mean time I had to take the PC12 on my Thanksgiving trip to Borrego Springs.  Oh well, #firstworldproblems   It actually worked out great because the turbulence (as usual) was fierce through Banning and the PC12 made it quick and easy.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Aspen Max

I updated to the Aspen Max on the Oshkosh deal. It’s really the same unit but snappier response and better resolution. It’s brighter and clearer. I also already had the SVT and the Max now comes with it, but it’s quite a bit better now with the increased resolution. Had an o-dark-thirty departure into a thin OVC the other day and decided I really like the unit, it's a big improvement but hard to put my finger on why... it's just nicer to look at, clearer and smoother. Overall I’d say worth it at 3k, seems like a good piece of kit.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Annual time

Another year another annual.  No major squawks but it was time to overhaul the mags since the engines now have 550 hrs on them.  A few of those crap champion plugs had cracked the ceramic case so I just went ahead and replaced them all with Unison plugs.  I replaced all the augmenter blankets with new and made some slight tweaks to the rigging and now the trims are all perfectly centered up.  

Overall the plane is remarkably reliable and easy to maintain for a 60 year old twin.  I've been pretty much skating between annuals.  The Baron required far more non scheduled maintenance...  I'm knocking on wood right now.

Compressions were great.

L/E  1-76, 2-76, 3-78, 4-76, 5-78, 6-74  
R/E 1-78, 2-78, 3-76, 4-78, 5-78, 6-74

Sunday, June 13, 2021

NOS fuel panel

 Got my NOS (new old stock) fuel panel installed.  The wood panel just didn't jive with my new sidewalls, so I found these brand new replacements on eBay.  I think it looks great now.  Here is the before and after:

Saturday, June 5, 2021


 I finally rescued my plane from the interior shop at Lincoln...  5+ months for carpets, sidewalls, sound proofing and leather wrapping the yokes.  I heard every excuse in the book but I'm mostly happy with the end result.  Especially the sound proofing, the plane is definitely noticeably quieter.  I don't think they put the headliner back up correctly because it has some waves in it now, but I wasn't going to nitpick about anything I just wanted the damn birdy back so I paid the bill and got out of there.  I was worried the battery would be dead but the old girl fired right up.  I haven't gone more than 3 weeks without flying her since I bought it, so sitting for 5 months is far, far from ideal.  I didn't even get the seats done and now they're pretty mismatched.  I can do that later, they're still comfy.  What's I had done looks great though, and I'm happy with the result.  I think it was a matter of over promising, being understaffed, covid, yada yada... and far from cheap.  End of month she goes for annual too, so yet more downtime coming up.  Good to have lots of airplane options!

The Aircon control installed here is epic.  Love the way this turned out.  The armrest I found new old stock from Arrel aircraft and it's awesome, like new with a working little hinge door.  The wood panel pieces on the fuel panel don't match anymore so I found some new old stock in matte black on eBay for a reasonable price.  Will replace those soon.  

They did a nice job wrapping the window frames and repair the front window pillars which were in bad shape.  They came out awesome and I know that was a ton of work. 

Really happy with the carpet.  It's lush Italian wool and they did a really nice job with it and the cutouts for the seat rails.  The sidewalls look great in the color of a baseball mitt which lends to the vintage look.  The seats just need to match now.

Refurbished the airstair door and it looks really nice and vintage.  Super happy with the the modern/vintage look for the whole plane now.  I just need to do the seats to complete the look.  

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Long time

I haven't updated in a long time...  that's because the plane has been stuck at the interior shop at Lincoln Skyways for 14 weeks.  I'm super bummed out at this point, clearly they put me on the back burner and left me sitting in the hangar with almost nothing getting done.  At this point I could not recommend this shop, there is no excuse for it taking this long and I'm just glad I didn't even have them do my seats.  I'm reticent to post this because I hate to bash a company, but enough is enough.  I just want my damn plane back but I'm a hostage...