Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Got her back

Today I finally picked up the plane from Maintenance Express.  Jerry flew me over in his A55 which was a big help (Thanks again Jerry!).  His plane is even faster and more powerful than mine as it has the Colemill President II conversion which uses IO550 engines instead of the 520's that mine has.

The maintenance work looks good, the main gear forks now correctly sit "over center", meaning the up lock tension is correct.  I compared visually to Jerry's very well maintained plane and they look the same now.  Also the new flight custom III tires look great.  When I hopped in the plane I was a bit puzzled because my headset mic wouldn't work on my Zulu and I couldn't contact ground control at LVK.  I have no idea what's up with that, but luckily I brought my QT Halo along and after monkeying with the audio panel for a bit, I tried the Halo and it worked fine.  I think the Zulu mic may have gone Tango Uniform... I tested my other Zulu when I got back to my hangar and it works fine... unless there is a mic mute control on the headset somewhere that I don't know about, I'll suppose I'll be sending it in to Lightspeed for repair... grrr.

When I did the run up the plane felt a bit different, it seemed to run a bit rougher than normal and at 1700 RPM there was a wide split in manifold pressure with the left engine having about 3 or 4 inches less pressure.  Also the left prop seemed to feather slower than the right one in my feather test.  I was a bit concerned at first, and I would have gone back to the shop to have them look at it, but they were closed and Chris had departed to Oshkosh in an F33A a few hours earlier.  My ride Jerry had also just departed.  I spent some time trouble shooting it and ran the engines up to full power on the ground.  At full power both engines seemed normal, and the manifold pressure, oil temp and pressure and fuel flows all looked normal.  I decided to depart and had an uneventful flight home.

Back at CCR I did another runup before shutting down and the MP split was back to normal and I didn't notice any of the roughness.  Strange!  I did notice that the left engine was low on oil on the preflight, they must have lost some during the lifter inspection and not replaced it.  I'll mention that to Chris as I feel he should have left me with full oil for the flight back.  Since the shop was closed when I picked up the plane, it would have been very inconvenient for me to hunt down oil at that point, and Chris knew I was picking up the plane after hours.  In any event, I'm wondering if the low oil caused the left prop to feather a bit differently.  I'm stabbing in the dark a bit as at this point I have no idea.  I've got oil in my hangar and will top off the engine and we'll see if it happens again next flight.

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