Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beechcraft brings back the 55 Baron, introducing the G55

It must be true because I just picked mine up from the factory in Eloy Arizona.  My friend Jerry needed to exercise his 421 before his annual, and what better way than to fly me down there to pickup  my new plane.  Here is Jerry prepping the pickup plane.

I hopped in the right seat and even got to fly for her for a bit when Jerry climbed back to use the head, although in truth I suspect he just wanted to show off the fact that he COULD do that... vs me and my red pee bottle, but hey, at least I've got boys.

A little more than 3 hours later we arrive at the factory and see my new plane just pulled out and ready to great me.

Here I am with one of the factory guys... they call him "The Guru" but I found out his name is Don Copeland.  Apparently he doesn't like to be photographed so I was lucky to get this shot.

Jerry must have felt bad seeing me write such a big check, he picked up the whole 421 fuel bill, thanks Jerry, you're a scholar and a gentleman!  The 421 really sucks up the dino juice.

No sky diving in Eloy today, it was too windy... the winds were howling but we had a nice lunch watching all the would be divers shoot hoops and loaf around waiting for the winds to die down so they could jump.  Then we went back and hopped in our planes.

I launched first in front of Jerry flying close behind.  The gods were smiling on me and were giving Jerry a stiffer headwind up high, meaning I was actually pulling away from him.  How badass would it be if my new G55 could outpace a 421 over 600 NM?  I normally pull back to 22-23 gph but I pushed the red knobs forward for 25 gph and was seeing between 190 and 200 kts true.  While he was fighting headwinds up high the winds swung around for me at 10.5 and I was getting a little lift from updrafts down low which enabled me to point the nose down and gain speed.  At one point I was 20 NM ahead.  Woot..

After 3 hours flying I was feeling chuffed I had beaten him back to CCR, and I had literally just gotten cleared #1 for landing when I hear Jerry come on the radio too... I got the gear and flaps down when tower tells me that I'm doing 130 kts other traffic is coming up behind me at 210 kts.  WTF ?  Whatever I'm cleared #1, yay victory!  Then the wiley veteran requests straight in for a different runway and gets it, greases it down just before me.  Arrrghhhh...  Oh well.  Thanks for the ride Jerry I appreciate it! 

More importantly, the plane is is home and in the hangar with the Citabria moved to it's new spot.  Here she is!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hangar cleaning robot

I was getting annoyed by having to constantly sweep my hangar floor. The dust and dirt and little bits of gravel that get blown in by passing aircraft accumulate, and if I spent the time to sweep it out every time it would inevitably just get blown back under the hangar door and the next week it's all gritty again. I found a solution to this vexing problem. The Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, which I programmed to go on at 10pm every night. I show up to a sparkling clean hangar floor and just empty the robot's dust bin. 

This one is a Roomba 770 which I bought with the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupon and it came out to $400 plus tax.  Well worth it not to have to sweep the floors anymore!  There is still some deep grime on my concrete floor that the roomba can't get to. I'll need to get that up with a mop and some chemical cleaner or some sort, but this is a huge, huge improvement. No more loose dirt, dust and gravel on top.  It even sucks up spiders.  So nice to have a shiny clean hangar floor, and worthy of the Baron to come home to... any day now!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

paint detail

Fellow Beech drivers Fritz and Dean flew Fritz's Bo down to Eloy Az to see Don yesterday, since Fritz's plane is next in line for paint.  They graciously snapped some pics of my plane for me and holy shiesta it's looking awesome.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The blue coat

Finally the controversial part... the stripe! I went with jetglow Ocean Blue.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Back in black

The black coat goes on...  Don used a different black from what Craig at Scheme Designers called out, figuring it would look better with a color with a little more metallic flake in it.  Who am I to argue with the master?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Give me some grass

Finally landed the champ on grass and wow what a difference, this plane just want's to be off pavement.  I can honestly say my first time landing this plane on grass was also my first true greaser landing in this plane.  It was super fun too.

This was at Schellville airport in Sonoma (  this place is tail dragger central and my dream would be to own this airport.  It's freakin awesome.  Here is a video of the takeoff.

A little grass in the tailwheel, the way it's supposed to be!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

White coat syndrome

On goes the white base coat

The step is back from the chrome shop as well.  Looks quite shiny indeed... I need to decide whether or not to sand off the chrome from the attach bracket and paint that the same color as the plane, or else leave it chrome.  New planes from Beech have the angle bracket painted... then again, they don't have chromed gas caps, radome latches, etc etc.  Don makes them better than new!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014