Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whopper storm

Times like these I feel lucky to live in California... it even makes paying the 9.75% "sales and use" tax bill I just got from the governator a little more palatable!

From acuweather:

A powerful storm of historical proportions is aiming at much of the Northeast Thursday into Friday and will follow up to a foot and a half of snow through Wednesday over upstate New York and western New England.

This second storm will be nothing short of a monster. Even in light of the blizzards earlier this winter that targeted the southern mid-Atlantic, this may be the one that people remember the most this winter in parts of
New England and the northern mid-Atlantic.

Unfortunately my plane will be in the middle of it, so this week is out.  Complicating my plans to fetch the plane is the new cylinder breakin.  Strangely the ECI instructions do not call for mineral oil, just 10w50 ashless dispersant.  I do need to run em at 75% power to properly seat the rings, so that means I need PA to be VFR.  The good news is I spoke with Jay and he said he can keep the plane hangared for me until I come get it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hangar leased

Today I picked up the keys to the hangar!  It's a nice big spacious powered T-Hangar.  The only thing wrong I could see was the middle overhead lights didn't seem to work, probably burnt out bulbs but I'm not sure how I'm going to get up there to replace them.  Also the floor is a bit dirty with a few oil spots, I'll check in and see if I can paint it light gray or something.  The cool thing was that the lady I'm leasing it from owned it with her husband to store their Navion.  The husband passed away leaving a bunch of aviation junk behind, and since she has no use for it she left it all there for me to pick and choose from.  The loot includes a case of aviation oil, a box of Champion REM40E spark plugs, a can of airplane wax, a compressor, a cordless drill, a few ancient WW2 era radios, a vacuum cleaner, ladder, fan and a couple of racks full of odds and ends.  Overall it's a bit dirty and needs a good sweep and cleanup.  I'd also like to put an old desk in the corner and store all my aviation books, charts, flight manuals, etc.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ready to go

Jay reports the new cylinders have been installed and he'll have everything cinched up and paper work completed by Monday.  He also needed to make a logbook entry for the Interior as apparently Advantage hadn't done that, and he couldn't find the entry for the LED Whalen strobe that is installed on the tail so he did a 337 for that.  So now all I need is a break in the weather... unfortunately mother nature cannot be bent to my will...

Looking ugly out there across the entire country!  Unfortunately the trend is worsening.  Hopefully all this will clear out towards the end of the week and I'll get a window with some good Wx... I had hoped to go on a weekend to limit the impact to my work schedule but at this point I need to be flexible.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Jugs

After discussing the cylinder issue with Jay, I ended up having him order new cylinders instead of buying overhauled ones.  That may have been a bad decision considering when I eventually overhaul that engine, if I want it to count as a "major" I will need to buy new cylinders then too, but the cost difference on the overhauled Conti vs. new ECI Nickel cylinders wasn't that great, so I told him to go for it.  Jerry had told me the Nickel ECI's are great, and I figured I'd just put those on and basically count it as half of a top overhaul.  Paul McCracken ended up letting me know he could have gotten me some good overhauled Conti's for $550, so in retrospect that would have been the best option... unfortunately I had already told Jay to just order the ECI's.  Lesson learned, just like in the cockpit... No Fast Hands!  Take your time and the correct solution will present itself... this is all a learning experience for me though.

On the weather side I'm still in California because the weather is not going to be good for the flight this weekend, which is fine because I want to me make sure the plane is finished properly, all loose ends tied up on the paper work etc.  After 2+ months I'm not going to rush it at the end.  Also I now need to factor in breaking in the new cylinders properly so will also limit my weather options somewhat.  I believe the correct breakin procedure is to fly 25 square at about 5,000 ft for 4-5 hours.  I will need clear weather to do that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Annual Update

Good news and bad news.  Good news first?  Jay checked the serial numbers on all the breakers and found the not a single one applies to the Circuit Breaker Airworthiness Directive.  How that came to be I have no idea, but since that AD is well known to be total BS I'm not going to question it... the AD is signed off as complied with and that's good enough for me!

The bad news is related to this item on the squawk list:

* Exhaust leak at #2 gasket, one nut is not up all the way.

I asked Jay why he doesn't simply screw the nut in all the way... the answer was that is not that simple.  When he tried to screw the nut up it still didn't make a good seal, and the nut was old and corroded and the nut head popped right off.  Jay had to drill out the screw, and even with a new nut it won't seal, so he had to drop the exhaust and replace the gaskets.  When he did that he found that the exhuast ports on 3 of the cylinders are cracked.  So now I get to be the proud owner of 3 new cylinders!  Lovely.  Jay found 3 yellow tagged overhauled cylinders available for $880 each.  It will take him 3 days to have them shipped so if I go that route I won't be able to get the plane this weekend like I was hoping for.  I asked him to get me pricing/ship times on new cylinders and we'll go from there.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Watchin the weather

I'll be watching the weather closely this week to see if there is any chance I can pop out to the east coast and start the ferry flight back this weekend.  Right now the east coast is a mess, but ironically the rest of the country looks good.  I'm planning on taking the southern route.  You can see the high pressure area is pushing down along the eastern seaboard and creating a line of storms and weather.  A low pressure area is smacking into the high up around PA and IN which is makes for some nasty snow & sleet for the start, which is not an option.  The isobars look a bit tight around AZ and NM which means turbulence, which is to be expected in that area. 

On the maintenance front Jay should be finishing up the annual early this week.  I need to call him to discuss the circuit breaker AD.  If I can get the plane this weekend I might as well have him do that one as well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Squawk List

Today Jay sent me the squawk list.  It's loooong, but mostly a lot of minor items. 

Discrepancies, N17788:

Left Engine. Felt pads on oil screen need replaced.
Retime right mag.
Missing screw #2 rocker cover.
Lower outboard rear, inside of left cowl chaffing.
Prop anti-ice line chaffed by central filter.
Secured items throughout engine compartment.
Baffle below starter broken.
Bushing is worn out on induction mounting bracket to rear of engine.
Screw missing from baffle above #2 cylinder.
Upper firewall stiffener needs to be dressed aft of airbox.
Oil temperature cannon plug not safetied.
#3 pushrod housing is very rusty.
#1 exhaust pushrod housing is very rusty.
#4 pushrod seal, leaking.
Dress nicks from leading edge of propeller blades.
Fuel spider needs drain hose.

Right Engine: Replace the oil screen felt pads.
#6 lower spark plug insulator cracked.
Lower cowling chaffed inside rear area.
Straw between #2 and #4 cylinders.
Left mag points need replaced.
Secure items throughout engine compartment.
Air filter box broken lower area where filter rests and below filter area as well.
Straw around engine driven fuel pump.
Airbox chaffing engine thru bolt aft of left mag.
Alternator belt very dry and cracked.
Spider should have a fuel drain line attached to it.
Inter cylinder baffle between #3 and #5 not installed correctly.
Straw between #1 and #3 cylinder.
Rust and corrosion on fuel servo.
Safety oil temperature cannon plug.
#1 exhaust manifold leaking.
#1 pushrod seals leaking.
#3 intake pushrod seal leaking.
#1 intake hose cooked.
#6 aft intake hose has a broken clamp.
#2, 4, and 6 fuel pushrod seals are leaking.
Straw behind #2 cylinder.
Exhaust leak at #2 gasket, one nut is not up all the way.
#2 intake aft hose is cooked.
Dressed propeller blades.

Airframe: Several interior lights inop.
Upper wing attach bolt and bathtub fittings very dry, need lubrication.
Replace both inline vacuum filters.
Replace both fuel cap “o“ rings.
Corrosion on left aileron trim tab.
Vertical fin forward panel, cracked right side.
Several riv nuts are bad at vertical fin panel.
Both brake wheel cylinders are leaking..
Lower left elevator trim pulley not turning.
Top of left elevator corroded.
Trim tab actuator bolts are too tight.
Large scuff mark above window on baggage door.
CW yearly ELT inspection. Batteries due March 2015.
Forward stop for left center seat is backwards.
Screw missing left center seat outboard forward track.
Dinger in right aileron trailing edge inboard.
Flush battery box.
Service brake fluid.
Service alcohol.
Air duct under copilot’s seat not hooked up.
Compass has no fluid.
Both copilot’s toe brake cylinders leaking.
Left pilot’s toe brake cylinder leaking.
Need a log entry for interior job.
Secure wire to left and right fuel vent heaters in wings.
Lube flap switch rollers, left flap.
Snap boot in left wheel well torn.
Fasteners left rear spar in wheel well rusty.
Replace both left and right uplock springs.
Heater fuel pump and fittings are very rusty.
Nose gear centering roller doesn’t turn.
Rusty fasteners in right wheel well forward side.
Right fuel sump is leaking.
Hole chaffed in right inboard gear door.
Right flap up bumper torn.
Debris in right wing panel just outboard of gear and panel outboard of that as well.
Corrosion on right wheel.
Aileron pulley inboard of right aileron doesn’t turn.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Annual progess

Today I spoke with Jay and he has completed the inspection.  The good news is he didn't find anything super major... the bad news is he found lots of little stuff such as things that need to be lubed or repaired, some dry/brittle plastic pieces, etc.  The biggest items were things such as the magnetos on the left engine have worn points and those need to be replaced.  That was one of the items Paul found during the prebuy so I asked Jay to inspect the rest and see if we need to overhaul the whole mag.  The scariest was he said he found some lead and metal in the right engine oil filter, not enough to ground the plane but enough such that he suggests I monitor it and get some oil analysis done on it moving forward.  I was expecting at least a few years and a few hundred hours more out of the 1300 hour engines, it would suck to have to overhaul one right away... more expense, more downtime.  There are some parts that are chaffing here and there, a section of something that needs to be stop drilled, etc, etc etc.  I'll get the full list tomorrow as well as a cost/time estimate.  I asked for a WAG (wild ass guess) as to the cost but Jay said he'd rather just work it out and give me a real estimate, but he did say he expects to have the plane ready to pickup mid next week.  At this point I have no idea what to expect on cost, but I'm reasonably sure it ain't gonna be cheap!

As far as planning the return trip, it looks like weekend of Feb 20th is going to be the soonest weekend, although the Wx has been pretty abysmal back east for the last few weeks, and in my opinion the flight has not been doable.  Most of it seems to be moving through and there is a big high building through the midwest right now however.  Hopefully the timing will work out and the weather will cooperate, although its tough to say.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Annual under way

Jay Shearer reports the plane has been taken apart and is up on jacks in the maintenance hangar.  Tomorrow he will begin the inspection and let me know what he finds.  I've heard enough horror stories on first annuals to know that there could be a big hit to the wallet coming, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it.  Also of interest is the finish time estimate.  Initially he told me baring any major air worthiness items, we should be done and good to go by Friday.  We shall see!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Interior Complete!!

Today Advantage Interiors finished the job, and it looks really great.  I think they did an unbelievable job.  I have a new found appreciation for how much work is involved in this type of work.  I sent the guys a $100 gift card for Outback Steakhouse, I think I would have gone nuts if Matthew hadn't been so cool about taking the extra time to snap photos and give me project updates.  Here are the shots:

Woohoo!  Now I just need to go bring this puppy home!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Before and after

Wow, what a difference

Yay, no more ashtray!!

You have to zoom in to really appreciate these...

Interior done! (almost)

Today Advantage sent me some more photos of the interior job.  It's pretty much complete, they just need to finish the middle row seats and headrests and haul them over to Deck.

Here are the rear seats installed.  Looks good, the shoulder reels were also rewebbed as well as the lap belts.

Lighting is a bit weird in this shot, but the seats look really nice.  Wow what a difference.


Stitching work looks good.

Sidewalls look nice, and they repaired and painted all the plastic pieces including the arm rests and wood inserts.