Friday, March 28, 2014

Fun fun fun

The Citabria is just a freakin hoot to fly.  I did 14 landings today and couldn't wipe the smile off my face all day long.  Now that it's down at sea level the climb is also ridiculous, I was seeing 1500 fpm going up at 80 mph which is well over Vx of 59 mph but the nose already felt like it was pointing straight up.  The plane gets off the ground in < 200 ft in the short field configuration of 2 notches of flaps and max power with brakes.  My three point landings are looking pretty good and I had a few decent wheel landings but I feel like I'm still figuring out this plane.  I'll have it down soon but the big wheels are bouncy and the STOL kit definitely makes this plane feel different from the other Citabria's I've flown.  I can't wait to take it onto grass it feels like it just wants to be off pavement.

I can't wait to get my Baron back though!  I'm tentatively planning a trip with an old friend for mountain biking in Moab in early May and I'm hoping Don will have it done by then.  It would be like 7 hours in the Champ.

Monday, March 24, 2014

New Toy

Today I woke up at zero dark thirty and flew to Idaho to fetch my new toy, an amazing little Citabria 7GCBC that I believe was a heck of a find.  I'm partnering on the plane with my friend David and my other friend Jerry may partner with us later on it, so he flew us there in his beautiful 421.

I can get used to all these 421's.  It was going to be an easy and quick ride there in pressurized luxury...

Think we have enough screens?  Yeah well for the plane I'm picking up, I'm going to the polar opposite... no computers, no button pushing, just pure stick and rudder.  I only have about 10 hours of tailwheel time so I brought Mark, my intrepid tailwheel instructor...

It was a quick ride there, but it would be long ride back!  Better get some food for the road... look what $7 gets you at the airport restaurant in Idaho!

This was not at all what I expected, I felt bad leaving so much food after eating some of it, but for crissakes I didn't expect them to slaughter an animal out back and put it on my plate!  Hopefully some airport dog had his lucky day.  Welcome to Idaho I guess!

The pre buy was done as an annual, since it was almost due.  Everything checked out great so the wire was done and it was time for the partners to pose with our new bird.

Then Mark and I set off to slog it across Idaho to Nevada and over the Sierra and back to Concord.

The Baron rides like a Mercedes sedan, the Citabria rides like a motorcycle.  We were really getting blown all over in the desert thermals, the tail wagging all over the place but it was still fun.  Besides, we stopped for gas in Winnemucca and I discovered that chicks dig tail draggers.

Natasha came out and fueled us up, saying how much she loves Citabria's because she wants to learn Acro.  I told her that if I wasn't already married Mark would be going home on the bus and she could come with me.

6.2 hours later she is home in my hangar, which is only empty because the Baron is off for paint still. Luckily it looks like we've sourced a hangar.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Copeland beats the devil

Don is done with the real nasty part of the job, stripping off the old paint with chemicals.  No wonder you have to go to Arizona to get this stuff done well, that toxic stuff is probably illegal in California!  My friend Russ from Sedona flew down to Eloy and snapped some pics of the progress.

Everything is stripped and ready to move to the paint hangar.  The amount of work that goes into a quality paint job is mind boggling.

I'm glad to see Jim's (DBM) window job is well protected.  Also SRS called and said my new right aluminum elevator is ready.  Woot, all coming together, now the entire empenage is aluminum.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Cessna 421C Golden Eagle

While I endure the tortuous wait for my Copeland paint job, I've been shopping around for a little tail dragger. The tail dragger will serve as a fun little hamburger hopper and occasional back country camping plane.  I probably wont fly it all that much, so it makes sense to partner on it.  I'm AOG for a few more weeks yet,  and one of the people I will partner with has a 421C.  We wanted to go see a little Champ we're looking at, so let's take the Golden Eagle!  Wow, what a plane.  I'd never been in one before so it was really cool to check it out, and his is just beautiful.

It really feels well built, and the air stair door and cavernous interior are super nice.  The panel is well equipped and similar to mine.

I'm spoiled now though by my GTN's.  I'd forgotten how slow all that knob twisting is on the 530W.  This is one well equipped plane though, full flight into known icing, pressurized, etc.  Pressure is so nice we were picking up ice at 15,000 and just hopped up to 17,000 no problem, no o2 to deal with and a comfortable and warm cabin altitude of only 4k feet.

There was a little bit of ice on the leading edge there but not enough to even warrant popping the boots.  We were about 10 kts faster than my Baron and were burning nearly twice as much gas so you do pay for it, but wow was it nice.  Pressurized, FIKI, air conditioning, potty... a pretty awesome cross country cruiser.

Overall the 421C is an awesome plane though and definitely a contender were I to ever upgrade.  The other thing that amazed me about the plane is how quiet it is.  The props are geared and in cruise they turn at just 1700 rpm.  It sounds almost like the engines are idling it's so quiet, you really don't even need a headset in the cabin.

Just a tiny bit painful at the gas pump