Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Final scheme

Here is the final design... tough call but I settled on blue
Also ordered a new aluminum right elevator from SRS... the left side was already aluminum so I figured now was the time to have them match.

Also sent off to Don my new Beechcraft step cutout by Guy Gibney...

I'm really going to need to fly this puppy to Osh.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Off to Copeland

Say goodbye to my old scheme... I flew down to Eloy Arizona to drop off the plane with at Arizona Aero Painting today with Jerry flying chase in his PII Baron. 

We were hauling arse down there, 30 kt tailwind I was doing about 205 over the ground and Jerry wisely hopped up 2k ft and was doing 220. I eventually joined him at 11.5 but he kept creeping away from me. His unbooted P2 is a bit faster than my P600, but he also cheated by running ROP. He arrived 15m earlier on the 3.3 hr flight and burned 88 gallons to my 76.

We had a really cool flight, smooth with tailwinds going down, chatting on 123.45.  On arrival Don Copeland greeted us at the fuel pump.  We soon discovered Eloy is an awesome little airport and the busiest sky diving spot in the world. There were literally sky divers everywhere. It's like a constant stream of 10-20 sky divers in the air at any one time. It's like Burning Man for sky divers. We had a fun lunch with Don shooting the shit and watching meat rockets fall from the sky... hard to capture with an iPhone..

Here is Don asking me about things like stainless screws and such...

Don took my orders which were "Make it as good as Russ Demaray's".  Don commented that he rarely paints planes where the existing paint looks as good as mine.  That's ok I really want a new scheme, new uncracked fairings, new stainless screws, etc.
I also ordered a new aluminum elevator from SRS.  The left side is already aluminum I figured since I'm painting her I might as well make both sides the same.  This is going to cost a fortune but will be awesome when done.

Monday, February 17, 2014

AerospaceLogic gauges!

Airplane fuel gauges are notoriously awful.  The certification rules are basically that they only need to read accurately when they are full and when they are empty, and barring that they can show whatever they feel like.  Most people pretty much ignore them, and use a totalizer on the engine monitor to make sure they don't run out of gas, but it's always bothered me that I have this incredible panel that's more advanced than many 747's, yet it has old and wonky fuel gauges.  Worse, the left one would sometimes suddenly go to zero in flight.  I wanted to get that fixed but Beech wanted some asinine amount of money for a new one, and to "overhaul" the little circuit board on the back of the unit was like $650...  so based on a recommendation I bought the AerospaceLogic unit dual tank fuel level.  For good measure, I never really understood what the ammeter gauges were trying to show either... they have a needle that shows a relative number between 0 and 1.  Anything positive meant charging but that's hardly useful.  AerospaceLogic has a proper ammeter gauge that shows battery voltage and alternator current, so I replaced those too.

These gauges are the small 2 1/4 inch that run along the bottom row behind the throttle quadrant.  Here is what was there before

The ammeter gauges are the two on the left center and the fuel gauges on the right center.

Here it is now.  No more post lights needed down there either.  The AerospaceLogic units combine both left and right for each function into one gauge, so four gauges became two and now I have two blank holes on the right.  That's fine with me for now, I figure I can maybe put a Dynon D2 backup AI there or else some more AerospaceLogic gauges for oil temperature and pressure.  The best part is, they work and are accurate to 1/10 of a gallon, and they look great.  The units themselves and installation for both fuel and ammeter cost me the same amount that one single new fuel gauge from Beech would have cost (about 2k).  Oh yeah and the super bonus... I gained two pounds of useful load.  It's amazing how heavy the old units are.  Anyone want to buy some B55 fuel and ammeter gauges?

AirTronics at KCPU did the work, great shop and they did a really nice clean install exactly on quote and also fixed one of my pilot mic jacks which was scratchy.  They seem to have a trick to the calibration headaches too and have done a number of these so if you're going with AerospaceLogic gauges give them a call.  I highly recommend the shop and super bonus #2 is gas at KCPU was $4.97 a gallon.