Saturday, December 03, 2016

Vince Gets Flight Time

The weather was looking great early this morning and then the winds started to kick up.  Mary wasn't up to flying so I figured I would either make a few pattern laps today or fly a solo morning breakfast run on Sunday. Vince sent me a text to let me know he was in Cambridge (KCGE) and available to fly.  Vince and I traded messages and made plans for a noon meet at the Ocean City airport. I think the last time we flew together had to be back in October of 2015.
The winds were gusty but pretty much down the runway.  08Romeo got off the ground with a full belly of fuel, ready to enjoy the cool weather. Once climbing out I handed off the flying to Vince. We made our way up the coast and the visibility was at least 30+ miles. From just north of the Indian river inlet you could see the Atlantic City sky line and all of the Cape May land mass.
I should mention the ride was pretty bumpy but we enjoyed the air time and catching up. After taking a few shots of my project Vince pointed us back to Ocean City. It was so nice to hear the excitement as Vince detailed his flying lessons. We talked about work and more flying as we worked our way to the pattern back at ocean city. Vince took us right to our base turn for runway three two, I took control from that point. The winds were gusting twenty plus as we cross checked our ground speed (58) versus indicated (80). With a second notch off flaps added, I worked the throttle and set 08Romeo for a nice landing.
We tucked 08Romeo in the hangar and reconnected the battery minder and preheats, she's ready to answer the call.  We left in search of eats and decided on Watermans, good food and service. We talked about flying lessons and I think once he masters landing the 172 he'll be cut loose to solo. I am so excited for Vince to get his ticket, I look forward to flying with him next summer.
We parted ways, Vince heading west on RT 50 and me running a few errands before going home. I really miss flying with Vince, a great young man that really has his head on right, these days very rare indeed.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Connectivity!

Mary and I flew to Lancaster this past weekend and I still had a connectivity issue with my FlightStream 210. I plugged in direct on the Garmin 530W and off we went.

After shopping and watching a layer build I decided to file for the ride home. A layer was settling in at six thousand and even with everything VFR one can never tell what lies ahead at the home base.

I tried to transfer the flight plan and had the same error message pop up. Grrrr...
 

The layer was not an issue so I picked up flight following, happily cruising along at three thousand five hundred, enjoying the bumpy tail winds.

Fast forward to this afternoon. After working from home most of the day it hit me that I didn't take the time to go check out the connection to the FlightStream. I headed over to the airport, vertical visibility was two hundred feet, and did my flight ground checks.
I crawled back under the panel and noticed I did not have the connection tight and the side thumb screw connectors were not completely tightened. I made the fix and somehow got myself out of the awkward twisted position needed to make the connection. In order to get a GDL88 GPS lock I then had to tug 08Romeo out of the hangar and try for the GPS lock.

My iPad immediately connected to the FlightStream 210 and once the Garmin 530W and GDL88 were talking I knew I was good to go. I now had the symbol on Foreflight for transferring plans to/from the panel and iPad.

I will flight test this weekend but everything looks to be back in order.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Flight to Lancaster, Outlet Shopping

Mary and I planned to hit the outlets this morning so we were both up early and out the door.  My switchbox controller is not working for some reason so I had to drive to the airport Saturday night to plug the heaters in and decided to top off the fuel while I was there. So much easier just sending the text message.

I completed my preflight and we boarded the plane. 08Romeo had a full belly of fuel and was ready to go in the chilly temps. Outside air temp at three thousand five hundred, twenty-five degrees. The new heat ducting worked well. I had filed this morning but decided to keep that on hold, instead, deciding to enjoy the clear weather and make a direct flight.
I hooked up the 232 cable that was disconnected during annual so I wanted to test everything out today.  Still no luck, the GDL88 is not seeing the Flight Stream 210 at all, I think the FS is not getting power. The flight was smooth but we dealt with head winds traveling north. I was seeing ground speeds from 85 to 97 knots. I did pick up flight following with Dover since it seemed to be busy in the air today.
Dover handed me off to Philly and then Philly to Harrisburg. When on with the second sector of Philly I had traffic crossing at my altitude and was cleared to climb to five thousand, I also made a right turn to pass the traffic instead of crossing since he wasn't on flight following.

I checked in with Harrisburg and advised,I had the wx at Lancaster. I was handed over to Lancaster tower and gave myself a laugh. Lancaster tower, Sundowner 6708Romeo with Delta, full stop, going to alliance. The response, Sundower 08Romeo what's your location. I cracked up, what a dipstick, Lancaster tower 08Romeo is seven south, two thousand five hundred.

I made a sweet landing and taxied clear for Alliance Aviation. Our rental car from Enterprise, a jeep patriot, was on the ramp waiting for us. We checked in, secured 08Romeo then ordered fuel. Mary and I were quickly on the road to the outlets. The outlets are south of the airport on RT 30 maybe a 20 minute drive with traffic.

The Lenox store wasn't open until 11am and it was just 10:30.  To kill some time we both agreed on breakfast at Cracker Barrel. The service and food was pretty good for how busy they were. It was time to shop, we checked out multiple stores, marking each off of our list. I guess we didn't do to bad, everything fit in the plane. As Bob C mentioned on Facebook, Mary's favorite line is, everything ships!

We returned on an entirely different route back to the airport. What would we do with out the GPS on our phones. I settled up our fuel bill for 08Romeo and returned the keys to the rental.
08Romeo was parked exactly where we left her. The lineman said they might need to move her but thankfully didn't. Sometimes they exceed the turning radius doing damage to the plane and I had left my gust lock in.

We loaded up our packages and stowed the pitot tube cover and nose plugs. I checked the fuel and sumped since I took on fifteen gallons. Everything looked good to go so I climbed aboard to join my Bride. A few shots of primer and 08Romeo is ready to go. I let the oil temps come back up as I chugged and plugged on the 530, I miss the iPad FlightStream connectivity!
Glad to be flying - I-95 traffic
I picked up my taxi clearance to runway three-one and followed number two for departure. The lead aircraft and I turned in sync to perform our run-ups, like it was planned. I was ready to go and taxied for the hold short. A Mooney landed and then I was cleared to take off, make right traffic. Hmm...there was another aircraft they directed right base for two-six, just thinking situational awareness here. As I started my roll the tower instructed, make a left turn on course for traffic, I acknowledged.
We rode the bumpy tailwinds home at three thousand five hundred. Speeds were much better than the trip north, now enjoying 125-130 knots. As we made our way south the sun was reflecting off the top of the Chesapeake bay, it was gorgeous. We could clearly see the Susquehanna and the Elk Rivers feeding into the top of the Bay. Mary nodded off enjoying the sunshine blasting through the windows. I did all I could to position my Rosen visors to keep from getting blinded.
crossing RT90, 5 miles out
I picked up flight following with Harrisburg and was promptly handed off to multiple Philly sectors and eventually to Dover. I cancelled once south of Delaware Coastal (GED) and switched over to listen to traffic at Ocean City. I was number two for the field behind an Ocean Aviation aircraft doing pattern work. Everything flowed very nicely and I made a squeaker of a landing, acknowledged by the owner of OC Aviation when he came on the radio and thanked me for the perfect landing demonstration. Thanks Mike! I secretly thought to myself, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. We taxied clear and headed for the hangar, it was a fun day spent with my Bride with some flying tossed in. Life is good!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving

From our home to yours, Mary and I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Mary and I were invited to my brother and sister-in-laws home for thanksgiving. This year it was pretty much local, just an hour and a half north by ground transportation. We gave some thought to flying but decided it would be easier and cheaper to drive.

Memories of our thanksgiving flight to Jupiter Florida ran through my head while driving north, that was a fun adventure.

Family gathered and we enjoyed a delicious meal and the company of those who mean so much to us. We watched football consumed turkey and dessert and enjoyed catching up. It was good to hear from Joe and Janice's sons, Eric and Ryan, who live out of state. The phone was passed around and we all got to wish them a happy thanksgiving.

As the day came to a close Mary and I spent the night. The plans for Friday were shopping, for the ladies, and golf for the men.

The ladies headed to Dover and shopped till they dropped. The men cancelled golf and instead took a tour of the area home and roadway construction projects. The once quiet farmlands of lower Delaware have certainly changed over the last few year. Gone are the old farm homes and open fields, replaced with new developments, schools and shopping centers.

Friday evening...We are home for the weekend with plans to decorate for Christmas. Nothing to crazy with outside lights this year since I can't take them down after surgery in a few weeks. My Bride always makes our home look festive and welcoming. I would throw a sheet over the tree and store it, then bring it down the following year...not happening says the Bride.

I hope to get some flight time in tomorrow or Sunday.  Safe travels everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Annual 2016 08Romeo Comes Home

I got the chance to sleep in a bit later. Sure I took care of the zoo but then climbed back into a warm bed. We finally put our heaters on the bed, ughh, winter is on its way.

No stops for food this morning, only a fuel top off for the rental once in Elkton. Roger was right on time and we got 08Romeo pushed out on to the ramp. I had wired the bottom cowl in place last night so I jumped in and primed for start up. 08Romeo fired up on just a blade, back to her old self. I let the oil warm at a low idle then did my run up and taxi test. Everything looked and sounded great, I shut down at the hangar.

Roger and I finished up the paper work and payment. Overall a typical annual for 08Romeo if you minus out the twenty hours on duct work and four hours for both mags to be inspected cleaned up and repaired as needed.

I returned the rental and they gave me a ride back to the hangar. The girl remembered me from last year and asked so how did you plane work go, annual right? Yes, you are correct, excellent memory. I pointed out 08Romeo as we passed by the ramp, she wished me a safe flight home.
I had 30 gallons of fuel on board, plenty to carry me and 08Rmeo home. Another detailed preflight followed by start up and taxi to runway three-one. I'm soon in the air and loving life! I follow the pattern and depart for home, headwinds all the way. Mary sent me a text, she's headed out to shop with our friend Pam, she'll  be home this afternoon. I responded no problem, I'll divert to Delaware Coastal for lunch and fuel then head home too.
I noticed one glitch once in the air and that was no input data on the 232 channel. I'm thinking the cable to the flight stream 210 was not reconnected. I'll check when I get home, it's not a major issue.
on the ramp at GED
I made a nice landing at Delaware Coastal, KGED and had a little bounce with the nose gear, tires inflated to 40 psi makes for a different feel than my 25 psi prior to annual. I had the fuel brought up to twenty a side and enjoyed a great BLT at Arenas. GED always gives a fuel discount if you eat there so it's a win win in my book. I made the last hop home and tucked 08Romeo back in her nest. We are both happy to be home and annual completed.

I crawled under the panel and sure enough the cable was not locked in, just barely hanging on. I secured it and locked down both nuts to prevent it from coming loose again, I'll flight test this week. I walked around the plane with my cleaner wax in hand, taking care of any finger prints and wiping up any oil that streamed out of door latches and locks. I cleaned all the windows, inside and out then hooked up the battery minder and plugged in the preheats, covering the cowl with a moving blanket.
Mary and I want to head to Biltmore to see the Christmas decorations so I'll get that planned. Hopefully a few runs in December before I put 08Romeo away while I recuperate from surgery, starting on January 6th, and lasting at least three months non-weight bearing.

Annual 2016 Day 5

I'm really slow getting out of bed this morning but at least I'm not as sore as previous days. No Advil today, I'll see how I feel.

Nothing has changed, same crazy drive and still two hours. I did stop for fuel followed by a stop for hot cakes at McD's, they were ok but the sausage went in the trash. I got to the shop about twenty past eight and got right to work.
Since my duct work doesn't match any manual I decided we would install per the conversation with fellow BAC members. The plan is to isolate the fresh air from the heat which made things easier although the pre-cut duct work was like a puzzle with a few to many pieces.
This was a slow process, mixing and matching the custom duct work parts and a few modifications to make the system work. The fittings were tight and neatly done, I am satisfied. It was getting past that bewitching hour for me since I was not night current and didn't want to rush the ongoing work. I made a call to enterprise and let them know I would keep the car one more day. no sense doing a run up in the dark and forcing myself to fly home tired and not current.

Roger said he would meet me at the shop at 9am and we would do the run up and leak test. If everything checked out we would install the top cowl, finish the paper work and call it an annual.

I headed home knowing I had one more trip north to complete this mission. I'm tired of driving and seemingly not having a spare moment to spend with my Bride. At least we have dinner together every night.

Annual 2016 Day 4

Ughh...Are you kidding, I just laid down!

Rise and shine, time to get the routine started. All the zoo plays nice and I'm out the door by 6am, I'll just make the shop start time. Mary mumbles while half asleep, what's the rush your not getting paid. I know, but it shows respect to the guys working in the shop. I think they appreciate me making the effort to get up early, drive two hours, to get there at their start time. Call me crazy.
This is where the black duct passed through, no corrosion
Today has us removing the main feeds from the firewall to the rear seat vents trying to not make a mess. This black duct is dusty, gross and falling apart. Josh is taking his time doing things right and not ripping and tearing stuff apart. if I told him once I told him ten times I'm glad he's doing the hard part because if I did this in my hangar, like I planned, I would have destroyed my plane by now and invented a whole new, not fit for prime time, vocabulary. He just keeps smiling and laughing. Hey, I was serious.

The UPS guy arrives early and he has a few boxes. The Whelen power supply and the Brackett air filter.
I take a break from duct work helper to install the new air filter. I also investigate the new power supply and had off to Roger so he could complete the install. Roger added a connection so I can easily remove it if need be in the future if there are any problems, nice addition but this will hopefully outlast my ownership.
out with the old, check that date.
in with the new, check that date.
After being almost blinded by the strobes I let Roger know I have never seen my strobes that bright. He said the Grimes unit was loosing its punch, the capacitors were weak and just hanging on.

Back to the removal, it's slow and dirty. We finally get the long runs removed after I talked Josh into just cutting things and removing sections, I'll vacuum any mess.

While Josh takes a look at all the new Custom Duct, I vac out under the floor pans. I found a little yellow ball, no clue and a funny note that I passed on to Jeremy, a soon to be pilot.
I showed it to Josh and he said his brother would like it so I handed it off with the words of wisdom, get your instrument ticket so you can really enjoy the plane.
We got back to work installing the new long duct runs. They seemed to flow through the adel clamps and were pretty easy to secure. I had to add the adel clamps behind the rear floor vents that held the duct in place where it makes a loop back to the vents at the wing spar.

Day 4 comes to a close and I'm beat. I decided to drive home instead of getting a room, may as well keep my drive routine intact.

Annual 2016 Day 3

Thank God Ziva wakes me up at 5:10, I would have slept through a bomb explosion. Ok, stop sticking your wet nose and furry face under the covers, I'm getting up. Ziva, mission accomplished, I'm now up and trying to function so I can feed the zoo.  I can't believe the pain and soreness in my legs, arms, back, feet...did I miss any parts?

Another hot shower just to relieve the sore bones has me feeling a bit better and I am starting to walk like a human and not some weird experiment.

Once again on the road north but with one delicious stop in mind. I wanted to treat the guys at the shop to Helen's Sausage house and slip in and out with five sandwiches in the bag. My God, driving for another hour with the smell of the sandwiches is driving me crazy...I will not eat mine until I get there.
Stan is making coffee and I reach in to the goody bag hand him a sandwich, it's Helen's I said. No clue if he knows about Helen's but his immediate smile and twinkle in his eyes say it all. Stan said it's been years since he last had one of their specials, I'm glad he liked it.
I did some research last night and found a Whelen power supply for my strobes. This unit is a plug and play ready to go. Whelen has a cross reference list of Grimes units and I found mine on that list. Cost of the unit, $420 dollars plus shipping and I asked them to overnight it from Georgia.
The remaining interior is removed, except for the headliner. When I had the liner replaced there was no corrosion so we left that intact. Josh and I looked over the duct that had to be removed and formulated a plan of attack. Josh bent his body to squeeze into the pilot side floor space and started the removal, it was time consuming and dirty. Thankfully he took pictures along the way to document what was there and what connections needed to go back.

Josh carefully removed the air intake plenums located just under the glare shield tucked into the corners. These parts are very very brittle in most baby beech planes, mine were in good shape. I had a small crack around the main duct connection that Roger repaired and set aside to cure. I'm not sure what he used but if you sat there you would be floating out of the room, major buzz time.
The next concern was the plastic bladder that was connected to the plenums. this part provided a drainage to allow water to escape and fed the vent at the glare shield level.

All the ducts behind the center console came out. This section of duct work provided the heat source from a connection through the firewall. this would feed the vents right about knee level on each side of the console. Initially it should have provided heat to the passenger foot vents but what my plane had and what was correct were not even close.
Day three comes to an end with most of the duct work out and connections documented. We took our time since the manuals drawings really didn't match what we had, strange, I know. I made a call out to the Beech Aero Club people in the know and I was informed I may have one of those tweener planes. The end of the year run with some parts or changes that are not reflected in the manual. I think 08Romeo fits that description.

Annual 2016 Day 2

What! It's 5am already? Time to get these sore bones up, feed the zoo and get on the road.

After getting the zoo squared away and making sure I have everything I need, I manage to get on the road by 5:45am. I'm going to be cutting it close to an 8am start.

I should add that everyday on the road is an adventure. The speed limit on SR1 is 65, I do 70 and cruise along. At 70mph you are considered FOD, foreign object debris. I get tailgated, flipped off and just about run over. I decide to run with the pack just to see what kind of speeds are "normal", 85mph, that's right, not a typo, 85 mph.  No thanks, I'll back it down and deal with the abuse. I make a quick fuel and breakfast stop and manage to make the shop by 8:15.
right mag good gear
Roger pulls the right mag and opens up for a better look and all seems good to go. He cleans the distributor point contacts and the rotor contact and finished up checking and setting to the timing marks. With the right mag reinstalled Roger sets each mag's timing making slight corrections bumping the prop and listening to a special tool that beeps and lights up. I have no clue what its called but I assume it works like a timing light for cars making sure each mag fires at the correct mark.
from the left mag notice the top of the gear
With the mags completed Roger moves to the general inspection. With mirror and flash light in hand he crawls around each wing, wing tip and tail assembly. 08Romeo gets a thumbs up, she's good to go, button her up.

Roger checked my brake install and wheel reassembly adding the cotter pin to complete the process. 08Romeo is coming together.

After lunch I start to pull the interior apart. I had pulled both back seats before I left the hangar Saturday so that was a plus. Plastic cups everywhere with miscellaneous screws and nuts. Josh jumps in to finish the interior strip and I jump out to remove the jack point bars and button up the main gear skirts.
Roger is busy in and out of the shop and the phone rings non-stop. It's getting late but we want to finish the light checks which would leave us with the added duct removal and new install along with control cable and pulley inspections. Josh hits the lights and everything looks good except the strobes. Josh, please tell me you did not turn on the strobes. They are on, comes the response, crap!

Josh then informs Roger and I that the breaker just popped. Double crap! We investigate and Roger determines the Grimes power supply has crossed over, it's toast. I immediately hit the Internet and look for a replacement. Roger mentions he may have a Whelen unit that will work just fine. His search comes up empty remembering it was used on another aircraft. I get an email response but no quote since they won't sell to the private sector.
I called the number and handed the phone to Roger, they exchanged some info and a new email was sent to the both of us. The replacement grimes unit was $1800. I needed to get punched in the chest to get my ticker going again. I'll look for a Whelen tonight when I get home.

Day two ends and I'm back on the road with the crazy people heading south. Mary made a delicious pot roast for dinner. It was tasty and hit the spot after a long day of crawling around the concrete floor of the shop.

Annual 2016 Day 1

And so it goes, annual time once again...

In my previous post I had repositioned 08Romeo to the shop at Cecil Aero located at Claremont, 58M.  My trusty rental, a jeep compass, got me home and the ride was good.  I'm not sure what to expect this week, my foot is still very sore and with my shoulder acting up I don't know if I'll be worth a darn in the shop. I packed a bag for my Monday departure just in case I'm to beat to drive home on the two hour run. There is a Hampton Inn not far from the shop and I'll get a room if needed.

Monday 11/14

I'm on the road early and anxious to get started on the annual.  5:45 and heading north, it's dark and traffic for now is pretty much non-existent. As I make my way into Delaware I am listening to 97.1 the wave radio station. Plenty of ads informing drivers of deer on the move through mating season and hunting season, which leads to an increase in accidents. No kidding! As I round the bend and start to slow down for the 50mph strictly enforced area in Selbyville, a deer, from God only knows where, lands his front feet on the white line and I swerve left to miss his back end and then immediately right to get back in my lane. Yes, chest pain, and a loud holly crap! I honestly think he was trying to jump clear of my truck.

The remainder of the ride was uneventful and I listened to sports radio chatter the whole ride. Of course I made my first day annual ritual donut stop at Dunkin and grabbed a breakfast sandwich too. I rolled into the airport just a few minutes past the start time of 8am. My plane was just getting tugged into the shop and she was covered with frost. I uncovered and carried the covers out to the ramp to dry in the sun, nothing worse then putting stuff away wet, gross.

This year the shop owner is working on my plane. Roger got started with firewall forward and I started the inspection plate removal process. One of these days I'm going to count all the screws I remove and replace.
Compression checks were good for a cold soaked engine and my plugs looked good too, Roger commented on a good job leaning to help eliminate the lead build ups. When all the plugs were out I used the blaster to clean them up, I love this machine. New washers were added along with anti-seize and the plugs were ready and waiting to be installed and torqued to specification.
I followed Roger around as he inspected the vac pump and then opened up each Mag for a check. I removed the heat shroud on the muffler for inspection access and we discussed sealers used for the engine case along the split. The RTV silicone gasket product over time will seep and I have a very light trace on the bottom of the case, you would have to wipe it to notice it.

As Roger moved around the plane performing the lubrication service, I got started on the landing gear. I haven't done the gear in a few years since Vince always helped. Once each tire was off I inspected the brakes, calipers and lines for leaks, everything was dry, looking good. The vibration I was starting to feel on the left side was due to needing brake pads. The left side was getting close so I had them replaced.
punch and press
It was my first time actually doing the brakes and replacing the pads on the back plates. Every job has a tool that makes life easy, I love using new to me tools.
back plate and pad
Once the rivets are punched out the new pad is set and new rivets are pressed into the back plate, easy peasy.

The left mag needed some attention despite not showing signs of distress on run up or in flight. Once the mag was apart I hovered over Rogers shoulder trying to absorb something new. The mags work like a distributor in a car, ok, an old car.
shavings in the mag case
Here is what we found. The smaller gear was not fully seated on the shaft so it was rubbing on the cover. what was shaved off floated in the mag cover and stuck to the walls and caused some wear to the points.
the correct clearance
The points were replaced and the mag timing set to the specific mark. An interesting process indeed.  The distributor spark points were cleaned along with the tip of the rotor to freshen things up. the unit was reassembled and ready to be installed on 08Romeo.
points
Roger and I had a discussion about the mag issue and a potential timing issue. He asked about the mag drop on run up and I said they were equal. He then asked about start up and how quickly she fires...you know it does seem to take a bit longer. 08Romeo would fire on one blade but of late it takes a few turns to get her started. That's a timing issue caused by the mags.

Day one comes to a close and I'm back on the road for my two hour drive south. It will be good to get a hot shower and sleep in my own bed. I was treated to an awesome dinner tonight when I got home. Mary made Chicken Parmesan over spaghetti, it was yummy!!