Thursday, November 15, 2018

smoked out

Had to get out of town because smoke from the Camp fire has gotten so bad we could hardly breathe in our own home. Can't go outside, can barely see across the street... my chest is tight and burning eyes.. horrible. They finally canceled the schools and it took me all of 5 minutes to throw some clothes in a bag and say "let's get the F out of here"... Norcal is hell right now. 

luckily Tbone also stands for "The Big Out Now Escape" machine. Loaded up the wife, kids and dog and blasted off into darkness and smoke with < 1 mile vis. I've got a lot of screens though...

Plenty of room in the Big bone and the dog gets his own seat. Took an hour of flying before I could make out some ground lights and was finally clear of the muck. Who goes to LA for fresh(er) air? I do!

Friday, November 9, 2018

New audio panel

Begone Garmin GMA 340 audio panel, and welcome PS Engineering PMA 450!  I never thought much about audio panels until I flew with my buddy in his Cessna 210 with a PSE Engineering panel.  The sound quality was so much better, so crisp and clear.  The difference is like a noise canceling headset vs passive, which is to say quite significant!  The other issue I wanted to address was the Garmin 340 has no dedicated inputs for music.  That prompted the prior owner to wire the XM audio into the ADF monitor function.  Not ideal!  I couldn't change the volume for different locations, and it just generally sounded crappy.  

The unit has some nice features, like bluetooth input and dynamic sound where you can set the copilot voice to seem like it's coming from your right side.  All sweet, but my primary motivation was simply better sound quality and it's definitely much better.  It was a simple swap.  I still need to have an avionics shop rewire the music input properly, but I got the radio installed myself in all of 2 minutes.  You just unscrew the hex nut for the 340 and slide it out, and slide in the 450 and screw it in.  Got a great trade up deal from Chase from Avionics Source, whom I also purchased my Avidyne's from.  Great guy/company, highly recommend! Here she is, looking good under the IFD 550.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

paint prep

Got the Tbone back with a new starter overhauled by Aero Accessories Inc in San Antonio.  They knew exactly how to overhaul it and all the ADs and service bulletin's for the old Bendix starter.  Now that it's back on the plane, the right engine fires right up as soon as you hit the starter, whereas before it was spinning for a few seconds before it engaged.  I also replaced the air-stair door hinge.  The old one had been repaired before but they had only replaced about half of it.  Here she is with the new hinge all freshly riveted.

The left main wheel well gear door hinge also has a small broken section so I'm debating replacing that one as well before she goes for paint.  I'm gathering thoughts on the scheme, but leaning towards a modern twist on this classic scheme.

Basically I'm thinking of inverting it and putting the white on the bottom and then the top would be red.  I've never been a huge fan of red planes or red cars, but something about the vintage TwinBonanza seems like red would be a good match.  We'll see...

Thursday, September 13, 2018

First non annual bone maintenance

Other than my avionics upgrades which I did myself via the Avidyne self install kit, I've been pretty lucky with the plane.  I've had no out of annual shop maintenance at all.  The oil changes I've been doing myself, at quite a cost savings I'll add.  But now I have an issue with my right starter sticking, so it's coming off to go for overhaul.  While it's there I'm having them look at a minor oil leak on the left engine, and a small leak in the left pilot side brake master cylinder.  I'm also having them rehinge the airstair door.  That is probably going to be a lot of labor ($$$) but I'm going for paint in November and I figure I might as well have it done right before paint.  My hinge has a half assed repair on it and a few of the hinge groves are worn out.  Hopefully it won't be down too long.

Friday, August 10, 2018

liquid amazeballs

My windows are in good condition with only a few light scratches. I'm a huge proponent of top quality paint jobs.. if you're going to spend big bucks anyways, spend a bit more and do it right. Whomever did my last paint job, a prior owners decision and the shop shall remain nameless... well, they made it look okay but let's just say they were no Don Copeland. It's subtle, but after flying this plane for year now I realized that when they did the last paint job, they didn't cover the windows very well and some very very light specs of paint seeped through the window covering and left extremely faint small paint dots on my windows. It's hard to notice, but once you know it's there you can look closely and see it.  

I'm a stickler for windows... the Tbone windows are like coming to a 60 inch 4k OLED TV compared to an old CRT standard definition TV with an aerial antennae.. Those huge beautiful windows and unobstructed outside view are a huge part of the appeal of this plane for me. Once I noticed those micro paint specs, it wore on me to the point I was considering replacing my windows entirely. No longer! I ordered this stuff... Micro gloss liquid abrasive, and took a 6 inch orbital polisher to my windows and polished the shit out of them... the results are amazing. They look like new windows. It even took out the light scratches... I had put brand new windows in my Baron and these windows now look the same. Highly recommend this stuff, the photos don't do it justice.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

B-Kool pirep

Summer is here and last week we had a bit of a heat wave so I got to make use of my B-Kool.  I have ice at the Pilatus hangar so this is a pretty awesome way to have poor mans air conditioning.  I ran a long cord to the cigarette lighter adapter in the front and have the B-Kool in the aft baggage area.

The amount of air moved by the little motor inside is really impressive.  It basically just sucks in hot air and runs it over the cold ice and blows it out the ducted vent.  I'd say it cooled the cabin down by at least 10-15 degrees.  It was over 100 deg outside, but running this made it tolerable.  We even kept it on in cruise because it's just nice to have cool wind blowing.  It's especially ideal for the cabin passengers but still a bit toasty up front, so I bought a little rechargeable electric fan which I'm going to velcro to the glare shield.

Loungey back there in the Tbone!

All good for summer flying!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Motoring along

Weather has turned typical spring beautiful so a quick jaunt to meet some buddies up at KAUN for breakfast...  copilot shot a quick video.

Monday, April 9, 2018

I'll tell you why not TXI

Ya, it's not quite the same as a Garmin G600TXI... but for pennies on the dollar compared to the Garmin, I got one of these.

I was in the shop getting my boomerang antennae removed, and while I was there I had them remove my entire copilot panel and replace with one of these mounts coupled with an iPad Pro 10.5 incher.   Since I have the IFD 550, I can make it a fully functional MFD synced to my GPS, or I can run SVT against the high performance AHRS and have a full window to the world in any weather.

While the old copilot panel was fully functional, and the best technology that 1992 had to offer, it was heavy... and it took up two full avionics shelves in the nose.  That annoyed me because it made my cavernous nose storage area mostly unusable.  It had two fully redundant inverters powering an AC electric AI/HSI.  The inverters also created a weird feedback noise in my headset when they were powering up...   So pulled it all out and also removed the two old avionics shelves. Now I can fit anything I want up in the nose cone.

Here is the old vs the new...

The boxes of old stuff came to about 50 lbs.  I ended up gaining 49 lbs of useful load!

My only complaint is the iPad is a little dim.  I wish it was brighter.  It will be fine night flights and not so bright days, but bright summer days it's a lot of glare and harder to see.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

quick hop with the VIRB

Got a VIRB for Xmas and finally got around to trying it out. quick hop to take MattD. to KMOD to pickup his Baron from annual and his first ride in a tbone. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dialed in

Ok this picture sucks because it's a plasma display (need to upgrade this sucker to a 790), but man the plane is seriously dialed in now. The temps are flat straight across all 12 jugs in the low 300's and she runs smooth smooth smooth. No more oil leaks, dry as a bone in the nacelles now, finally. Loving the ADSB but for some reason the weather is not working on the IFDs.  I think it's because the GDL-69A is still hooked up even though I stopped my XM subscription, so I'm going to try disabling it in the IFD setup and see if that does the trick.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

back in the nest

Home at last... ADSB works except I don't see Wx on the IFDs, and seems the avionics guy accidentally disconnected the suction gauge.. the standby AI spins right up and works fine but I'm showing 0 on the gauge.  Maybe I'll just ditch the vacuum system and put a Sandia Quattro there instead.  

Here is the worst thing though... I had the shop replace the wing bolts due to the AD, and somehow the cover for the bathtub fitting on the right wing wasn't secured well enough.... When I took her for a post Mx test flight and got around 3,000 ft over farmland, the cover flew off the wing.  Obviously gone forever. Anyone know where I can find a replacement wing bathtub fitting cover?  

On the bright side, the overhauled props look new and no more oil leaks from the hub.. the plane starts right up and runs smooth and cool. I had about 13 pages worth of other improvements and I feel pretty good about her overall now... and she's back in the hangar where she belongs.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

She's naked

She looks so naked without props.  Turns out the left prop had similar issues to the right.  Glad I did this bit of preventative maintenance, hopefully the props will go the distance now.  Expecting to have her home early next week, fingers crossed!

Good news is that the GTX 345 is installed, hooked into the IFDs delivering traffic and weather there.  Unfortunately I need to wait for a software update to pass that through to the Aspen.  Also my JPI is now passing fuel flow info to the IFDs and the IFDs are wired to the 796 to pass flight plans over.  Not sure why that stuff wasn't done by the last owner, but I consider it complete now!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Big Plane, Big Annual

First annual is always a big one, going on over a month now. I had nothing major on the list going in, just a few squawks and things I wanted them to check and fix. One item was some oil leaking from the left prop hub which was finding it's way to the top of the Nacelle. When they took the prop off they found the o-ring seal was installed in the wrong place.  :bat: Ok easy fix... they went to check the other side assuming it was also installed incorrectly, and found some of the red oil mixed with engine oil.  

Uh oh... off to the prop shop for a reseal. Turns out it needed a new cylinder ($1700), and they found some corrosion on the blades at the snap ring grooves. Doh... glad they found it though, they wouldn't have taken off that prop and seen this had I not had the small oil leak on the other one!  :bugeye: 300 hr McCauley's... Call me a Hartzell fan.... and now I'm not getting warm fuzzies about the prop on the other side so I had them pull that one off for an IRAN/Reseal as well. We'll see what that reveals.  

Of course while the plane is down might as well get ADSB compliant so also installing a GTX-345. So 4k-ish for the right prop, 2k at least for the left prop, 5k for the transponder plus install labor, wing bolt AD and well over 100 hrs of annual labor + misc parts....  :sad: but a trusty reliable and well maintained TBone... priceless!  :D 

hopefully get her back next week finally.