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...

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