Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Proposed panel layout

Here is my new proposed panel layout.  It's pretty much exactly as I described to them verbally, man these guys at EAM are good!  The only things not reflected are the location of the data port for the JPI, and the new location for the co-pilot side jacks.  I really want to move the copilot side jacks because they are down low on the right side, below the panel which is the perfect place for the wires to get caught on your foot as you step out.  The new location will go somewhere up higher, probably near the ELT activation switch which is the middle instrument on the far right side.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Next upgrade

Out with the old...

In with the new...

Wait a minute you say... you're ditching the G600??  Yes.  I'm replacing it with a G500.  The bottom line is that for my plane, with SVT installed the units are identical.  For planes larger than 6000 pounds the only option is to buy the more expensive G600, so the shop offered me a trade down for mine plus $2000 credit towards my upgrade.  Basically I get 2k credit, a brand new unit with a warranty, and a $1500 Garmin rebate to swap the two.  A guy with an Aero Commander 500 get's to save some dough on a used G600.  Sounded like a win-win to me!   Along with that I'm getting a new single piece powder coated metal panel.  The old style floating panel and wood grain subpanel are getting pulled out.  The result will be something like this, without the Auracle unit.

I'm also getting a 750 up top and the smaller 650 underneath.  The result will be a very clean, modern looking and extremely capable IFR panel.  I'm also having a 406 Mghz ELT installed, the copilots headset jacks moved up, LED landing gear position lights put in, and last but not least, the new Garmin active traffic system.  My already quite capable plane is going to be completely insanely awesome.

Super nice guys down there at EAM in Scottsdale.  The flight was great on the way down with 60 kt tailwinds.  Here I am running LOP at 11.5k, 185 kts true on 20 GPH with nearly 240 kt ground speeds.

My friend Rick flew chase in the 182RG so I could fly that back.  Scottsdale was a terrible mess of blustery wind, 100 deg heat, turbulence and limited visibility in blowing dust, gusts and haze...

I paid for those awesome tailwinds on the flight back...  5.2 hours of slogging it out against heavy headwinds, turbulence, and cumulous layers in a plane far far less capable than a Baron.  I climbed to over 13k ft to get over a layer and was showing 85 kts over the ground.  Sure made me appreciate my Baron!  The 182RG is a nice little plane though, great views of the ground once the haze cleared and a fun and stable bird.  It was a long day of nearly 9 hours of flying but it was fun, with some beautiful moments.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mission: Fetch Fido

My friend H is a hunter and had taken his new hunting dog up to a little town in the Sierra Nevada called Bridgeport, where there is a guy who does gun training for dogs.  We were hanging out this weekend and he mentioned he wasn't looking forward to the all day drive to go fetch her... dropping her off had taken him five and half hours of driving just to get up there.... hello?  I've got a Baron dude, it's a 45 minute flight.  So this morning we set off to go get the dog.  The winds were blowing 42 kts over the peaks at 9am this morning, and were forecast to increase through the day so I was a anticipating a rough ride, but it turned out to be quite tolerable.

It was also gorgeous.  On the leeward side of the Sierra the flow was very much downward... at one point I was at full power at Vy and she wouldn't climb... granted I was at 13k.   Normally I can still climb at 800-900 fpm at 13.

On the ground at 6400 ft the wind was calm.  Here is little video of the landing at Bryant Field.

Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Owner maintenance

When it comes to owner maintenance thus far I have not been very adventurous.  The most I've really done is a couple oil changes with an A&P doing all the safety wiring and me really just draining the oil and standing around.  For everything else, I've handed the keys to the mechanic and paid the bill.  It's not that I don't want to do it, or that I'm mechanically inept or anything, it's just that I've been afraid to mess anything up, and when it comes to flying safely it just seems like the prudent action to have the pros take care of my plane.  That said, I do want to learn more about the plane, and that's a big part of the draw of owning.  I'm interested in learning more and I'm sure by knowing more about the inner workings of my airplane that would only enhance safety, right?

That all said, the new stinger lens cover on the tail and the new storm window seal seemed like something even I could do.  I was a bit nervous about the stinger lens... as I mentioned in another post the thing was ridiculously overpriced, required drilling, and I was worried I would crack it.  Here is a shot of the old (right) and the new (left). 

Notice the little black marks.  I removed the old lens first, stuck the new one in place and then marked the screw holes with a sharpie pen.  I can't take credit for this burst of genius, Dave Monte the superstar A&P from BPPP told me to do that.  I then bought a special drill bit for glass, wrapped a water bottle in a towel and stuck it inside the lens to provide some support, I did come up with that part though!  I then drilled out the black marks and remarkably, it didn't crack!

Beauty eh?  Okay onwards...  The instructions for the storm window seal say you can put it on with the window attached, but Dave told me it was much easier to remove it first, so I did.  Here is the old window removed.

Not a great photo but you can see how old and corroded the seal is.  Basically I just pulled it off like it was an old band-aid, took a baby wipe and rubbed for 10 minutes with with a little alcohol to get all the sticky gunk off, then lay down the new seal starting at the bottom until you get round to the other side, cut it with a razor blade and then super glue the ends together.  Easy!

The trickiest part was reinstalling the window as it's kind hard unless you have someone holding it from the outside, but I managed it.

Beauty! Now it makes a great seal too.  Inspired by my handiwork, I attempted one last effort.  The BPPP guys had done a preflight inspection on my airplane and discovered that my left elevator attach bolt had some wiggle in it.  It really should be tight, so I wanted to try and tighten it.  Doing so requires removing the tail cone though.

It came off with about 12 or so screws.  So far so good, I could now see and get to the bolt. 

However when I turned it with a wrench, it simply spun in place.  The bolt goes through the bearing there, and when I turned the nut the bolt head rotated with it.  Notice the hole at the top of the elevator attach point, presumably you're supposed to be able to put a socket wrench into that hole in order to hold the nut head.  Nothing I had would fit in there through any contortion I could conceive of... stumped!

Time to pull out the big guns... my hangar neighbor Ken Wiley is pretty much the Jedi master of airplanes, and he's always in his hangar because he is building a replica WW1 vintage tail dragger.  Here it is in his hangar.

Despite having every airplane tool imaginable, even Ken couldn't figure out how to secure the bolt.  Oh well, time for a trip back to MaintenanceExpress!  My plane is even starring on their facebook page now!  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maintenance-Express-Inc/300462573363088