Sunday, September 26, 2010

fuel gauge

Today I was out flying the plane and I looked down and my left fuel gauge showed empty.  Gulp, I know I had at about 40 gallons in there... looked out at the wing, fuel cap is secured... hmmm.  Then it bounced back up to half.  A few minutes later it showed empty again.  Fifteen minutes later it seemed to go back to reading correctly and stayed there.  Strange, must be a problem with the fuel sender.  It made me think about getting a good engine analyzer though with a fuel flow computer.  I've pretty much ruled out the JPI 760.  It's just too old school for my high tech plane.  Looks like 80's technology, and to make matter worse the only sensible slot in my panel would put it way over on the copilot side. A 760 in the stack makes no sense. Another option would be to put in the JPI 851, which is basically two JPI 730's side by side.

Looks good to me, I could pull out my Collins radio and my ancient Hoskins fuel totalizer, and maybe even get rid of my #2 transponer.  I could then put these side by side in the radio stack...  but don't I want RPM and MAP on there too? For that you need the 851 and they retail at $8700. Now I'm back into AuRACLE 2120 territory, a couple more AMU's and get a device certified for primary. hmmmm... I'd just wish they'd hurry up and release that thing so I can get some pireps...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Today I went to the hangar to wash the plane.  It's kind of dirty since I've only washed it once since I bought it.  I fired up the engines to taxi to the wash rack, and then thought well I've fired them up, might as well take a flight.  So I headed over to TCY and shot an approach, then was messing around over by Byron and heard a familiar voice on the radio that said "9AW final for runway 5, Byron"... hmmm, that sounds like my friend Pi.  "9AW say type"... "9AW is a yellow Maule"..."Izzat you Paul?"... "Yep, whachu doing?"... "Nothing, want to take a spin in the Baron?"... "Sure come on over".  So we took a spin and Paul was video equipped and shot this little video, and gave me a good tease about my gas guzzler...

Long story short, I didn't get much of a wash in... basically just a bug wipe.  Oh well...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hangar mate

Oh my, today I found an unwanted squatter had moved into my hangar... here she is:

That's a huge freaking black widow.  It's not a good photo because I didn't want to get too close, but it was gnarly.  I ended up kicking the wall as hard as I could with my foot to squash it and almost brought the hangar down I kicked so hard.  Then I thought for a sec I had missed it and perhaps it got onto my leg and so I danced around like a total spaz kicking my legs furiously.  It turns out I actually got the sucker, left a huge squish mark on the hangar wall.  I'm making damn sure I shut the storm window and doors on the airplane from now on.  If this sucker showed up in the cockpit after airborn that would be ugly...

I've also been thinking about some minor panel upgrades.  I really want an engine analyzer, the engines are running great and strong now, but I figure if I'm going to take them over TBO I need to know what's happening in there.  I'm currently debating an AuRACLE 2120 but it's expensive so I might just go for a JPI 760 and take the old style instrument.  The AuRACLE would be awesome but it has a few things going against it... firstly, it's a 60-70 hour install that requires some major panel work.  It would be great to have all digital though.  The JPI is an easier install and I could drop it into the slot where my current EGT gauge is... I've got a quote for 30 hours to install.  Total cost for the JPI would be 7-8k or so and total cost for the AuRACLE would be near 20.  Hmmm... while I'm at it I would pull out the old Hoskins fuel computer since it would be redundant and my left digits seem to have gone out anyway.  I'll probably pull out my ancient Collins radio and replace with an SL-30.  Here is my current stack:

I'll probably keep the radar, it seems to work okay though I haven't needed it and don't see myself really needing it. Out here on the west coast T-Storms are uncommon and when the do popup over the mountains they tend to be either very visible in summer, or else part of nasty, gusty winter storms. The nexrad on the g600 is probably good for most of my flying, but I could see how the radar could come in handy on a trip east and/or could be a desirable item should I ever want to sell the place, to step up of course :)