Saturday, April 30, 2011

Elevator done!

The elevator is done! I flew up to Chico and picked it up from Frank at Aerosurfaces and took it to LVK in the 182RG. He did an amazing job, it looks like a new part.  Here is Frank ready to load up his handiwork.

It takes some finesse, but by now I'm an old pro at transporting airplane parts by 182...

Here is the "new" elevator, a work of art.  It looks like a new part!

No more filaform corrosion!

I spoke with Chris after dropping off the part, they are still waiting on a few parts from TCM... otherwise I was a bit disappointed that little other progress has been made.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Ways to go

Jumped out of BPPP today at lunch and hopped in the club 172 to wrestle the 25kt cross wind and flew to LVK to see the plane. Man those engines are beautiful in person! We've got a ways to go though... the mounts are off and shipped out for overhaul/bead blasting and paint. The baffles are off and getting repaired, painted and redone with new seals, they still have staples. The firewall is getting cleaned up with a scotchbrite and will be painted. The elevator is almost done and should be ready for me to pickup by Monday.

looks like TCM is going to send the new brackets and induction tubes and pay for the labor under warranty repair and guide my shop through the process if they have questions... even though this is not at all their fault.   Right now I'm glad I went with factory engines!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Doh, setback!!


The engines came with the Butterfly Assy. mounted at a 45 degree angle, instead of a Vertical to correct this problem, the brackets need to be replaced with the correct bracket, both Left right induction tubes need to be replaced with a shorter 90 degree induction tubes, 3 studs will need to be replaced with bolts, We think everything else will be ok from there.

The above note is from my mechanic.  Doh!  The induction tubes and brackets are wrong??  I fired an email off to TCM and holy crikey, I'm so impressed with them. They called me back late in the day. They said IO520-E7M is always shipped this way from the factory, and that Colemill originally modified the engine to fit into the Baron's nacelles in the way described above. They said they had no way of knowing what modification Colemill had made to the induction brackets and tubes. As my stomach started turning they then offered to FLY A FREAKIN SENIOR MECHANIC from Mobile Alabama to Livermore CA to do the work at no charge. I asked if that was really necessary or if my shop could do it, and they said it's an option and they would be willing to reimburse the shop for the labor to do it, but that if I was more comfortable having the factory do it they'd send someone out with all the parts and expertise. Wow. Of course this pushes back my schedule, but that's real serious customer service right there!  Way to go TCM.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The knick knacks

I was a bit dismayed to learn that new TCM factory engines do not come with oil filters.  It's simply amazing that these things cost what they do and literally are 60+ year old technology.  Oil filters doubles the recommended oil change interval to 50 hours, and with the price of oil these days plus the time it takes to pull out and clean the screens and do all the safety wiring I figured it would be a good investment to buy some filter adapters and go with filters and a quick drain plug.  This will increase my change interval but also make it trivial to do oil changes myself, which will save some dough.

There are two models of filter adapters available, a screw on type from F&M enterprises, and a remote mounted unit from AirWolf.  I decided to go with the F&M model because it costs less and you don't have to buy and route expensive hoses.  Here is what it looks like:

It basically just installs where the screen is currently and then you put a Champion filter on it.  The quick drain plug goes underneath the engine and will allow me to drain the oil without removing and re-safety wiring the drain screw.  I also got word that Stockton Propeller is just about done with my props so those should be back at the shop here shortly!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Elevator repair

Today I got word on my elevator reskinning job.  Apparently SRS forgot to send the nose skin with the kit.  The nose skin is on it's way, scheduled to be painted on the 25th and balanced on the 28th.  I have BPPP on the 29th and 30th, so planning to fly back up to Chico on the 1st to fetch it.  Here is a shot, that is the old nose skin on top.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Prop doc

I went to LVK today to drop of the EDM 760.  My IA Chris told me that Stockton Propeller had called him with good news and bad news...  good news first?  Good news is the props are in great shape, the bad news is the prop governors are shot!  He's checking around for better parts pricing but they are Woodward governors and there are not a lot of options....

I also went ahead and ordered two new Knisley exhausts. Engines should be here Monday, then the engine mounts come off and ship out for overhaul.  Two new pressure pumps are ordered. I grabbed all the GAMI's nozzles and will be sending those back for an updated STC for the engine serial numbers as well as clean and flow check...

I also received the new wing strobe fences. They look good, though they come unpainted.

Friday, April 15, 2011

EDM 760 Arrives

Today I received my EDM 760 engine monitor.  I was surprised that the package weighs nearly 15 pounds, but the unit itself is super light... it probably weighs half a pound.  All the weight is in the various probes and cables.  I got the fuel flow option so there are two fuel flow transducers in there, two sets of 6 exhaust gas temperature probes for each engine, two sets of 6 cylinder head temperature probes, a couple STC's for my airframe logbooks and a user manual and some CD's. I'm pissed off though because I ordered the unit on the 3rd and specifically requested the invoice state the order date of the 3rd and of course, the order date on the invoice is the 4th.  The JPI rebate needs to say the 3rd so they screwed me!  I requested Sarasota avionics revise their invoice, but who knows.  Hey, at this point I can use all the rebates I can get!  Here is a shot of the package.

On a sadder note, for whatever reason my engines are still sitting on the loading dock in Tracy.  They were supposed to be delivered today but were not.  Hopefully they will be dropped off on Monday.  The MaintenanceExpress guys are pretty slammed right now doing the ABS service clinic, so I doubt they would have time to get to it anyway.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Elevator mission complete

Today I did my 6 month club checkout in the 182RG so I could get current for my club checkout policy.  I haven't flown a single in 9 months!  Even though I have my own Baron, I've stayed a member in a local flying club called NRI (  It's a good group of folks and it's nice sometimes to have access to a 182RG.  The plane is classic 70s vintage, but it's fast and hauls a good load, the club only has a few members who fly it, so it's always available and I have my own set of keys so it's sort of like having my own 182RG.  So this afternoon I went up with one of the club instructors for the 6 month check... normal take off/landing, get her trimmed up, track a VOR, shoot an approach, slow flight, stalls, steep turns, short field approach... "that's good enough, you know how to fly".  Good enough for me too.

Now I'm current in the club planes and can get over to LVK to monitor the progress of my project as needed, though it's also a quick drive.  The other morning I drove over there and picked up the elevator which I'm having reskinned, and tossed it in my car.

It's 6 ft long, about a foot wide span and about 2 feet wide at the horn, here it is filling up the old Mazda 5 family truckster.  Now I have to get it up to Chico.  That's about a 120 mile flight, but because it's not direct it's about a 3.5 hour drive each way, assuming no traffic.  Hmmm, 2 hr flight or all day in the car?  The problem was I didn't know how the heck to fit it in the plane.  The club has 4 planes, the 172 was too small, the Archer would just not fit without taking the door off, the straight leg 182 just wouldn't quite work... today I tried the 182RG thinking it would be just lust like the straight leg 182... the last ditch effort paid off and low and behold, it just barely fit.  Here it is...

I unlatched the back seats and laid them down, put the elevator through the baggage door and out the passenger side door, then wriggled and wrangled until I somehow got it all inside without banging anything.  Frank was a nice guy and met me at KCIC.  He took it off my hands and said he'll have a new one back to me in 2 weeks.  Sweet!  If you zoom into the photo above you can see the surface corrosion of the magesium skin.  This is a common problem on Beeches, the magnesium is very porous and prone to corrode if not handled properly during a paint job.  My plane had a paint job in the 90's and they obviously didn't dry the left elevator properly.  The new one will be aluminum and should last forever...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Out with the old

Today I went to the shop to fetch the left elevator and check on progress.  Here is a shot of the plane with the left elevator removed.  I put it in my car and my friend Dennis is going to see if he can help get it into his C180 to ferry it up to KCIC so Frank at AeroSurfaces can reskin/balance and paint it.

The props are off and over at Stockton Propellor for overhaul.  The A&P mechanic that was working on this engine told me he found a bunch of gunk and metal in the left Prop governor oil screen.  Yikes.  I'm so glad I bit the bullet on doing this project, metal in the prop governor would not be good. 

Some shots of the old engines

Here the nose with the nosecone removed.  This is my 12inch radome looking like new. 

This is all the remote equipment for the avionics such as the AHRS.  All looks good.

I was pleased to see a very professional looking wiring job for all the Garmin stuff.

Will be interesting to see a before and after comparison.  That looks like an OLD engine.


Engines are supposed to ship tomorrow!  Still waiting for the JPI to arrive at my house.  Moving along...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Engines about ready

Say what you will about TCM, so far for me they have been great to work with.  They've been accessible via email which for me is very key.  Got this note today:

Hello Adam.

Your factory engines should be complete and ready to ship within the next 3 to 4 business days... probably by this Friday or so. Of course, I'll contact you as soon as they're ready.

Sounds good to me, everything seems to be coming together.  Hopefully the shipping will be expeditious.  I still have to get my elevator up to Chico.  I thought I'd just hop in one of the NRI club planes and shuttle it up there, but I didn't really realize how big the dang thing is.  The left elevator is a hair under 6 ft long and it's 2 ft wide.  I don't think it will fit in a 182.  I'm going to beg my friend Jerry to see if he can shuttle me up there in his 421.

One other item I'm going to see if I can take care of while the plane is down is the wing strobe fences.  Here you can see that sometime in the past they were cracked and repaired quite sloppily, so I want to get them fixed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

JPI 760 Ordered

I'm now committed to the JPI 760.  I ordered it last night from Sarasota avionics, hopefully in time to get the $500 SunNFun rebate.  I feel good about the choice, it saved me a bunch of dough over a glass panel engine monitoring option and truth be told, I actually like "old school" gauges.  Yeah yeah yeah, this from the guy with the G600... I do love the electronic flight instruments for the PFD/MFD and I do feel it makes IFR flying much safer.  However engines just seem like the kind of beasts best represented by analogue gauges, and I love the look of all the old "steam gauge" dials and needles in the panel.  Tossing all those gauges and dials out when they work great and look so cool would be a shame.  The 760 is a bit old school with it's gas plasma little light bars, but that's fine with me... it has all the info I need from an engine monitor.