Sunday, August 21, 2011


Got 6.3 on the tach now and the engine temps have settled down nicely. I'm seeing EGT's in the 350-360 range pretty consistently, the hottest cylinder seems to be #6 on the right engine but the rest are lined up pretty much flat at high power. I bought an NFlightCam and recorded my quick gas hop over the TCY yesterday ($4.88) where I went to fillup before my fourth breakin flight. I think another few hours and I'll feel pretty good about loading up the family, the engines are purring but there are still a few squawks...

Erratic fuel flow still on the JPI
Spar cover passenger seat plastic cracked/broken somehow during all this work, I'd like them to fix or replace.
Carpet detached a bit from front pilot side wall
Syncrophaser INOP
Getting the plane reweighed for accurate weight and balance
Hole in the center panel where the hoskins was removed needs a cover plate.

Here is the vid, I'm still figuring out this camera so bear with me:

Friday, August 12, 2011

The knick knacks

After my 3 hour flight on Sunday, I discovered that the autopilot was not working like it should... basically at first the Alt hold would turn off on its own, then the autopilot turned itself off completely. I turned it back on and it would work for a period of time and then shut itself off again. At this point I'm thinking these problems could be related to wiring in the control wheel.  Maybe the wiring was jostled during the engine installation, I'm not sure.  In any event I want the autopilot fixed... there is also a new option available from Avidyne called the DFC90 which supposedly is a drop in replacement for the brains of the Century IV... hmmmm...  as for the other outstanding items, they are installing the new dorsal fillet now.  The avionics tech is going to try to figure out the fuel flow on the JPI issue tomorrow, and the most perplexing item seems to be the syncrophaser.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Second flight New Engines

Here is the video from the second flight. Unfortunately my good camera was out of batteries and my NFlightCam still hasn't arrived yet, so I shot this on my phone :( The cool thing was I got to dust off my tail dragger skills and fly a Citabria over to LVK to my plane instead of driving. I forgot how much fun those little planes are. I'd love to buy a share in one if I had more time to fly. It's no Baron for travel, but what a kick in the pants. My rudder skills were sucking!  We flew up to lake Almenor which is only about a 1 hour flight by Baron.  It' a really beautiful lake and with a runway right on the lake and a great little FBO that has free bicycles you can take into town.  We picked up a bigshot silicon valley venture capitalist (to remain nameless) and I took him to San Carlos.  Hmmm... 6 hours driving or 1 hour Baron flight?  He filled up my gas tanks so a win/win!  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

She flies!

Wow... holy crikey.... where to begin. After four long months I finally flew the plane today... In short, the plane is amazing, the flight was exhilarating and I'm just so, so grateful at the opportunity to own such a fantastic machine.  The plane was always smooth, but it's now ridiculously smooth. The levers move differently now, more smothly and easily, with no split between the two levers. I used to think that the shaking floating panel was normal, but now it's steady as a rock. It's quieter too, much quieter. I flew it with an instructor in the right seat. Basically his job was to keep his eyes glued to the engine instruments during takeoff and callout any issues. There were none! Actually, there's a few minor squawks, but for the most part the plane flies great, even better than before. I alerted the tower we would be flying a wide pattern over the airport at 3500 feet, briefed the takeoff and then blasted off and climbed to 3500 in maybe 2 minutes. I ordered the NFlightcam video system to hookup to my headset, but it didn't come in time so I just used my camera. I captured the video below but forgive the poor editing, I'm just learning imovie.

The squawks:

You can see in the video below, the JPI shows an eratic fuel flow. I'm not sure why, but the stock fuel flow gauge was steady as a rock but the JPI shows fluctuations as much as 4 gph which is obviously incorrect. There was a slight oil streak that formed on the right engine. Apparently this is from the dipstick, so they are putting on new seals or replacing the sticks. The ones TCM sent had to be modified so that's probably the reason.  A very, very small oil leak on the right engine oil filter adapter. Apparently the crush gasket was bent when it arrived, they bent it back and thought it would work but now we're just going to order a new one. It was basically just enough to smear on the finger after the hour flight. Also the prop syncrophaser seems to no longer work... it used to lock on when I got it close but now I had to make it precise manually.

I flew for about 1 hour, the CHT's started around 360-370 and crept as high as 400 with the cowl flaps closed and bumping up the power a bit to bang out 201 kts TAS. Cylinder number 6 on the right engine seemed to run the hotest. Gami spread was 50 deg on the left and 70 on the right. Not bad! I'm going to fly it again on Sunday and try to put 4 hours or so on it. Final items to fix:

Right engine oil filter crush gasket
Dip stick leaking slightly
Dorsal fillet still needs to be installed

But I can fly! Man after 4 months I almost forgot how much I love flying... I did okay I think, but my landing was sloppy. Also it's time to brush up those instrument skills for sure. Here's the video: