Saturday, April 20, 2019

At last

At last she emerges from annual.  We installed new fuel tanks, re-rigged the landing gear, and all new hinges on the gear doors, plus new spinners.  She's running smooth and strong and should be all ready for paint on May 6th.  Bummed about more downtime but will be nice to have her all dolled up in a new scheme, even though the paint show pretty well right now.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Shiny spiny things


I'm 6 weeks in to my annual, which is a huge bummer but not really the shops fault. The fuel tanks took a long time to fabricate and they sent them back to me with only one nipple on the outside edge where there are supposed to be two... a vent and a fuel return. Long story short, the tank is being sent back to Eagle to be fixed. They didn't have an explanation as to why it was built incorrectly, but at least they are paying rush freight both ways and they say they can have it fixed and back to us by the end of the week. We'll see... I'm also having new hinges installed on the gear doors and a minor crack repaired in the engine nacelle. This is discretionary stuff normal people would skip but I'm going for paint and I want her perfect.I also bought some new spinners and here they are installed...


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

New fuel cells


Oooh, ahhh.... you know you're a Tbone geek when the sight of new fuel cells has you giddy like a 7 year old on Christmas.  I'm in annual now and the tanks on the right side were dripping a bit.  Turns out they were the original fuel bladders from 1961!  These were from Eagle fuel cells and were not cheap, :sad: But I figure after 60 years of service it's hard to justify a repair!  I'm also having some new spinners I bought installed, and a couple new gear door hinges to get ready for paint scheduled for May.  Exiting times for this old TBone!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Mega electric tug

I have a thing for giving my big Bone a good tug, apparently.  I have a Sidewinder, a re-engined gas tug, and now a brand new super heavy duty KingAir ready electric monster tug.  I bought it from a KingAir guy in Livermore after he decided to move into a managed situation that includes pull out service.  Even though I don't really need another tug, it was too good a deal to pass up.  There is just something about a great big power tug is so satisfying.  The thing weighs a ton and I had to rent a heavy duty uhaul trailer just to pick it up.


Electric car towing an electric tug.  Brave new world!  Unfortunately the thing hadn't been run in at least a few years, and the batteries were toast.


It's two 12 volt heavy duty marine batteries wired in series.  They didn't even have enough charge to move the tug, and it was a bitch to drag it around without power.  $215 worth of batteries later...


All wired up and ready to rock and roll...


Hopefully I'll try her out this weekend!


Sunday, January 13, 2019

New old stock

Now that I own a vintage airplane nothing sounds like music to my ears more than the phrase "new old stock".  Sounds like an oxymoron, but the term refers to old surplus parts that have sat on the shelf for years and years and never been used.  Thus they are new in the sense that they haven't been used, but old stock having been manufactured decades ago.  Fortunately, the TwinBonanza was used in military service and the military would always keep 3-4 spare parts for every part flying, resulting in plentiful parts availability for my old bird.  Most of the stock was bought up by various parts warehouses and you can call them up if you need something specific, or do a parts search, or monitor eBay.  So far I haven't had any issues finding things.  There are a few items I'm always keeping an eye out for,  for example exhaust pipes and augmenter tubes.  Recently I saw a set of "NOS" fuel caps and since one of mine was a bit sticky, I bought the lot.


Beauty.  I love the gunmetal grey look, vs the old ones that had been painted over a few times.  I had seen caps before, but they usually had gallon markings engraved that didn't match my fuel tanks, and I didn't want that.  Here are the old caps.


Used ones seem to fetch 60-75$ each so hopefully that will offset the pain of $200 each for the NOS ones!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

smoked out

Had to get out of town because smoke from the Camp fire has gotten so bad we could hardly breathe in our own home. Can't go outside, can barely see across the street... my chest is tight and burning eyes.. horrible. They finally canceled the schools and it took me all of 5 minutes to throw some clothes in a bag and say "let's get the F out of here"... Norcal is hell right now. 




luckily Tbone also stands for "The Big Out Now Escape" machine. Loaded up the wife, kids and dog and blasted off into darkness and smoke with < 1 mile vis. I've got a lot of screens though...




Plenty of room in the Big bone and the dog gets his own seat. Took an hour of flying before I could make out some ground lights and was finally clear of the muck. Who goes to LA for fresh(er) air? I do!



Friday, November 9, 2018

New audio panel

Begone Garmin GMA 340 audio panel, and welcome PS Engineering PMA 450!  I never thought much about audio panels until I flew with my buddy in his Cessna 210 with a PSE Engineering panel.  The sound quality was so much better, so crisp and clear.  The difference is like a noise canceling headset vs passive, which is to say quite significant!  The other issue I wanted to address was the Garmin 340 has no dedicated inputs for music.  That prompted the prior owner to wire the XM audio into the ADF monitor function.  Not ideal!  I couldn't change the volume for different locations, and it just generally sounded crappy.  

The unit has some nice features, like bluetooth input and dynamic sound where you can set the copilot voice to seem like it's coming from your right side.  All sweet, but my primary motivation was simply better sound quality and it's definitely much better.  It was a simple swap.  I still need to have an avionics shop rewire the music input properly, but I got the radio installed myself in all of 2 minutes.  You just unscrew the hex nut for the 340 and slide it out, and slide in the 450 and screw it in.  Got a great trade up deal from Chase from Avionics Source, whom I also purchased my Avidyne's from.  Great guy/company, highly recommend! Here she is, looking good under the IFD 550.