Monday, January 31, 2011

More cloud skimming

Yesterday we had the remnants of a cold front system lingering around so I got to do a bit of cloud flying.  I really need to invest in a better camera, something I could mount would be good.  I'll do some more research but for now my phone bouncing in my hand will have to do...

I thought I might get a bit of ice since it was the top of the cloud and -2 deg C out, but none formed. No moisture in the RPM gauge this flight... hmmm. The plane is running great, almost a shame to do the engines soon since we're heading into great flying season. We'll see what the next oil change brings.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Ahh, insurance.  That ooh so fun subject.  Well it's renewal time, and I've been very curious as to what the premium would be now that I have nearly 100 hrs multi time under my belt.  When shopping around last year, I found what I believe to be the absolute lowest price any guy with 5 multi hours in the logbook and a Baron in the hangar could possibly get... $5,500 for 1M liability, 150k hull and 100 medical coverage per seat.  That's actually a steal, as companies like Avemco had quoted me as high as 9k and 25 hours of dual before I could even fly solo.  The good news is this year came in at $3,600, saving me nearly 2k.  Sounds good to me, and it will only drop as I continue to rack up the multi hours.  I also have to give a plug to my friend Alejandro who runs TrueCourse Aviation Insurance Inc. ( and is clearly the most awesome insurance guy around.  I highly recommend giving him a call, he will treat you like a friend and valued client.

Part of my policy stipulates that I must complete an annual IPC and common sense dictates that if you're flying a twin, you should do an annual training/refresher course.  I'm planning on doing BPPP again this year in April at KCCR.  It was great training and good fun last year.  My only concern right now is making sure my little engine project doesn't conflict.  I've decided to go with the factory engines, and I'm 90% decided on the shop to do all the R&R.  more to come...

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I've seen this a few times now, after my last flight this is what the RPM gauge looked like... foggy. It only happens with the RPM gauge. I guess there is moisture trapped in there, the gauge is not sealed.  It doesn't seem to happen often, and only under certain conditions.  There has been a lot of moisture in the air lately.  

I wonder if that has something to do with it... or maybe it's time for those MVP-50's!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More motor madness

I'm getting closer to making a decision on my motors, and have been shopping around for various overhaul shop prices, installation, shipping and doing my best to compare apples to apples.  One thing I've discovered is that while there are a million opinions on what the best route is, the prices all seem pretty comparable.  Here is how the pricing breaks out so far:

Continental IO-520-E7B

TCM Factory Reman: $28,978
Powermasters: $29,500
Eagle Engines: $27,000
Poplar Grove Airmotive: $27,000
Americas Aircraft Engines: $26,200
Zephyr: $29,000

I'm leaning towards the TCM reman option because they will take my cranks no matter what. The other shops may need to upcharge me if the crank turns out to be a non-VAR (vacuum arc remelt) crank. Anyway you slice it it's a big chunk-o-change, especially if I do both sides at once which I'm also still undecided on. I'm also due for my insurance renewal, my CA personal property tax (luxury tax) and my annual! It's hard to believe I've had the plane a year now, looks like I've flown just shy of 90 hours since March. Short of my goal but looking forward to some more trips here soon.