Saturday, August 3, 2019

Pirep: Ecotric electric folding bike

I've been looking closely at the electric "last mile" revolution in personal transportation and thinking about getting something for the plane that folds that I can toss into the back of the Tbone.  Electric folding bikes are fairly expensive however, running $2500+...  for family trips it's kinda hard to stomach 10k+ for destination transportation..  I found some positive reviews of the Ecotric folding bike online and decided to give it a try.  I ordered from the website and it was $780 with free shipping.  That's about as cheap as it gets in an electric bike.  Here is the link:  Ecotric folding bike

My first impression of the bike is... it's really awesome fun to ride.  My boys and I rode around on it for about 30 mins before it got dark and we were all having a blast. It really accelerates nicely and you can pedal along leisurely even up hill and the assist kicks in to keep you at about 15 mph.  The bike is bigger than I thought and bigger than it appears in the photos. I fit okay on it and I'm 6'4", but it was easy to adjust to fit my 10 and 12 year old boys.  It definitely doesn't fit me as well as my XL road and mountain bike, but considering it's a folding bike it's not bad at all.

The bike as shipped comes with huge 20x4.0 inch knobby wheels which are heavy and just create a lot of drag for road riding. To test it I took the bike up Mt Diablo with those tires and decided it's just not a good bike for that. I'd much rather ride my Santa Cruz on the mountain and just huff it out and get some exercise. The Ecotric folding bike is not a good mountain bike.  Unless you have a flat rutted out or muddy field to ride through, I don't see the value in the stock tires. So I ordered a set of 20x3.0 cruiser tires off eBay (Wanda brand) and installed them. These seem to suit the bike much better and are good for path or road riding, or light off-road or fire trails would be fine.  it's a fun little bike now and that shaved about 1 lb off the weight (reinstalling the rear wheel was a bitch though). I rode it downtown for lunch and beat my wife and kids in the car.  I rode it home as well, in 100+ deg heat up the hill at 15mph... no sweat. It's a great little folding bike but I may end up going the electric scooter route for the plane. Those are really fun too. Hard to beat this Ecotric for an $800 electric folding bike though.


Friday, August 2, 2019

She's home

She's finally home! After a very thorough preflight she fired right up on the first blade. She seemed like she missed the sky and purred like a lion. Did an orbit around the house on the way home and the kids said it sounded like 100 Harley Davidson's rolling by, or a War Brigade. Paint is pretty much perfect, not a single run, not a spot of dust caught underneath... they did an awesome job. couldn't be happier with the work quality. After control surface balancing the trims needed slight adjustment, but she flies straight and true.










Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The finish line

The finish line is in sight!  I'm super stoked with how it came out, I think it looks bad ass.  The only thing I'm not quite sure about is I might have gone too dark with the blue stripe as in these photos it looks almost black...  but I'll have to see how it pops in the sunshine.










Monday, July 22, 2019

Layout

The layout is coming together!





Fortunately the owner of the Pilatus I manage lets me use it for my own flights, so I've not been left wanting through all this downtime... perhaps I should rephrase that, I've not been left plane less but certainly been left wanting for a three million dollar Pilatus of my own!  Here we are on a family trip to Sunriver with 10 souls on board.  Can't do that even in the Twin Bonanza.  Awesome trip, awesome spot, awesome flight.  I'll do a write up on Sunriver at some point but let me just say it's a must go destination for any pilot.  



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Paint progress!

Progress! The job is well under way and I wanted to get a good look at the underlying metal so I hopped over to SNS to take a look.  I also bought new wing root, nacelle and empennage seals and wanted to bring those over. When I arrived I was thrilled to see 4 guys hard at work, and also that the old tbone looks pretty great completely naked. There are a few little dings here and there, but pretty impressive for 60 year old girl.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Time for paint

Dropped off the Bone yesterday, and ready to begin my paint saga. In the end I went with TNP Aero out at Salinas CA. I was going to go with Arizona aeropainting since Don Copeland did such a nice job on my Baron, but after 2 years on the wait list I gave up.  Also it will be nice to have the shop close by should it need any touch up work done.  The current paint shows really nicely, and people kept asking me "why are you getting it painted??"  Well, there was some filiform corrosion starting in on my elevators from a bad prep job the last time it was done... in truth it also came down to just wanting that shiny new look and a different scheme. I came up with a modern twist on an old scheme, in red/white/blue in homage to old glory. Hope she turns out nice. 




Tuesday, April 30, 2019

PIREP L06 - Furnace Creek

I had some work obligations during the kids spring break this year, so we punted on the idea of going to Palm Springs.  Also since we've been to PSP four times or so, I thought it might be fun to try a new destination.  I heard April was a good time to go to Death Valley for the super bloom, so we booked a little weekend jaunt to Furnace Creek since there is a runway right there.  Great trip!  We had a fun time, it wasn't too outrageously hot and the desert is beautiful.  Route was VFR CCR-L05-L06 to stay at non-o2 altitudes.

Titus canyon by jeep and zabriskie point sunset hike were the highlights. I will say the campers are way more intrepid than me... I love camping, by a nice river with trees and shade, but I really can't imagine roughing it in that desolate, scorched place. However the oasis hotel was great. Nice air conditioned Casita, beautiful grounds, spring fed pool. Thumbs up. The super bloom is still going but I'd say if wild flowers are your thing, probably only a few more weeks for that. also at the Oasis there are literally thousands and thousands of butterflies right now. way cool.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

At last

At last she emerges from annual.  We installed new fuel tanks, re-rigged the landing gear, and all new hinges on the gear doors, plus new spinners.  She's running smooth and strong and should be all ready for paint on May 6th.  Bummed about more downtime but will be nice to have her all dolled up in a new scheme, even though the paint show pretty well right now.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Shiny spiny things


I'm 6 weeks in to my annual, which is a huge bummer but not really the shops fault. The fuel tanks took a long time to fabricate and they sent them back to me with only one nipple on the outside edge where there are supposed to be two... a vent and a fuel return. Long story short, the tank is being sent back to Eagle to be fixed. They didn't have an explanation as to why it was built incorrectly, but at least they are paying rush freight both ways and they say they can have it fixed and back to us by the end of the week. We'll see... I'm also having new hinges installed on the gear doors and a minor crack repaired in the engine nacelle. This is discretionary stuff normal people would skip but I'm going for paint and I want her perfect.I also bought some new spinners and here they are installed...


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

New fuel cells


Oooh, ahhh.... you know you're a Tbone geek when the sight of new fuel cells has you giddy like a 7 year old on Christmas.  I'm in annual now and the tanks on the right side were dripping a bit.  Turns out they were the original fuel bladders from 1961!  These were from Eagle fuel cells and were not cheap, :sad: But I figure after 60 years of service it's hard to justify a repair!  I'm also having some new spinners I bought installed, and a couple new gear door hinges to get ready for paint scheduled for May.  Exiting times for this old TBone!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Mega electric tug

I have a thing for giving my big Bone a good tug, apparently.  I have a Sidewinder, a re-engined gas tug, and now a brand new super heavy duty KingAir ready electric monster tug.  I bought it from a KingAir guy in Livermore after he decided to move into a managed situation that includes pull out service.  Even though I don't really need another tug, it was too good a deal to pass up.  There is just something about a great big power tug is so satisfying.  The thing weighs a ton and I had to rent a heavy duty uhaul trailer just to pick it up.


Electric car towing an electric tug.  Brave new world!  Unfortunately the thing hadn't been run in at least a few years, and the batteries were toast.


It's two 12 volt heavy duty marine batteries wired in series.  They didn't even have enough charge to move the tug, and it was a bitch to drag it around without power.  $215 worth of batteries later...


All wired up and ready to rock and roll...


Hopefully I'll try her out this weekend!


Sunday, January 13, 2019

New old stock

Now that I own a vintage airplane nothing sounds like music to my ears more than the phrase "new old stock".  Sounds like an oxymoron, but the term refers to old surplus parts that have sat on the shelf for years and years and never been used.  Thus they are new in the sense that they haven't been used, but old stock having been manufactured decades ago.  Fortunately, the TwinBonanza was used in military service and the military would always keep 3-4 spare parts for every part flying, resulting in plentiful parts availability for my old bird.  Most of the stock was bought up by various parts warehouses and you can call them up if you need something specific, or do a parts search, or monitor eBay.  So far I haven't had any issues finding things.  There are a few items I'm always keeping an eye out for,  for example exhaust pipes and augmenter tubes.  Recently I saw a set of "NOS" fuel caps and since one of mine was a bit sticky, I bought the lot.


Beauty.  I love the gunmetal grey look, vs the old ones that had been painted over a few times.  I had seen caps before, but they usually had gallon markings engraved that didn't match my fuel tanks, and I didn't want that.  Here are the old caps.


Used ones seem to fetch 60-75$ each so hopefully that will offset the pain of $200 each for the NOS ones!