Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Reiff Preheat Install

Too soon for a snow pic?
Since it does get cold here at the beach and some of the best flying is in colder temps, I'm having a Reiff preheat standard system installed on 3 Tango Charlie.  I had the same system on 08Romeo and it worked very well, keeping the cylinders and oil warm and ready to go when I went flying.  Couple the Reiff preheat system with my Switchbox control system to toggle the power on and off and it makes winter ops a non-event.
Standard System
50 watt band heaters clamp around the cylinders and a 100 watt aluminum HotStrip element epoxies to the oil sump.  Epoxy is included.
The easiest and safest way to remote control any electrical device. No more driving to the airport hours before a flight. Turn on your Engine Heater from your cellphone, and simplify your cold flying routine! You can even activate a second device like a Cabin Heater for your sensitive avionics.

The Flight

I would have liked to get in the air earlier but didn't manage to go wheels up until 8:20. I filed but decided to go VFR and just enjoy the ride instead. ATC was relatively quiet and that was good, plenty of looking out the window and monitoring systems.
I made my way just east of Chesapeake City and then turned for final runway three-one at Claremont - 58M.
Shop Time

I removed the top cowl and then helped Dale remove all the parts for the bottom cowl removal. This cowl is a bit more involved than the Sundowner, with cowl flaps and gear doors to be reckoned with.
While Josh and Dale worked on the Reiff install I changed the nose gear bumpers and then moved on to check the gear hydraulic fluid level.
The bumper was easy peasy, and once removing the gear motor fill screw I confirmed the level as full.
old bumper
pretty new bumper
The guys finished up around noon and then I had to give the sump pad epoxy mix time to cure. While we waited Josh checked my fuel drain and lubed the cable, it was sticking. We then moved to the pilot side and did the same lube for the Standby Vac System cable. Both cables now moved much easier, cross two more items off my squawk list.

The Return Flight

I saddled up for home and taxied out, only to notice my number one EGT and CHT did not register on my JPI engine monitor. The engine felt smooth so I did a run up out on the taxiway. Odd, Not showing a drop but its not running rough at all. I taxi back to the shop and shut down. Josh and I removed the top cowl and check the probe connection for number one cylinder, it seems fine. Josh then checked all the connections on both mags, again, everything seemed connected and tight.

The Return Flight, Take Two

I climbed back aboard and had my best start to date, and it was a hot start. I think she caught in two blades! I watched the JPI engine monitor and all cylinders were coming up on the display. Number one temps looked in alignment with the other three cylinders. I taxied out and did my run up, and observed an even drop, meeting spec, between each mag. I was good to go for launch.
Charles G's plane, waiting for its annual to begin
With two notches of flaps I gave 3 Tango Charlie her head and off we went. It was warm, and DA had climbed during the day. I departed the airport to the south, pointing for Ocean City. Since I had a bit of a tail wind I just dialed it back and cruised home at three thousand feet. I entered the cross wind for runway three-two and then made a good landing, riding a wheelie until my speed dropped.

I'm glad the Reiff preheat is installed, I'll now be ready for winter ops.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Connection, it's in the details.

This morning I took Ziva with me to the airport for some play time.  She had a blast then took a nap in the hangar while I continued to investigate my audio loss in my flight videos.  I decided to recreate the process, starting from the initial hook up and audio source selection and then the external power source. I have been using the EC Technology portable charger. Here is the info. 

EC Technology Portable Charger 22400mAh Power Bank Ultra High Capacity 3 USB Output External Battery Pack with Auto IC and LED Flashlight.

When I connect the audio cable and turn the unit on I get the following message.
Is a cable currently connected   yes/no
At this prompt I select YES and the audio works perfectly. When I take it to the next step, connecting the external power, I never gave the message display a look, it was already mounted on the bracket over my shoulder. This time I connected the external power and watched if the display changed, it sure did. 
Somehow going into charge mode disabled the audio, I know it sounds strange, but it does. I think I have it figured out, at least I hope so.  Wednesday I will go through my set up, step by step, and cancel charge but still hook up the external power source.  I'll know if the battery picks up when the internal battery craps out or everything shuts down. 
The process continues.  If I can't provide power on the external source I am going to clean house and investigate purchasing all new video equipment.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Mission and Gear Issue

I had swapped text messages with Bob C about giving him a lift to pick up his plane at the same shop I use, Cecil Aero. I ran out of time yesterday so we agreed on an early morning couple of hops to get the pick up completed.  
I was in the air just after 8am and climbing for four thousand five hundred.  It was misty around nine hundred feet but enough visibility to continue my climb.  I had filed for this flight and decided to pick up my clearance with Dover Approach, south of the Waterloo VOR (ATR).
Dover gave me direct DQO, direct KOQN, 5000 feet.  With that, I was on my way riding over what developed into a solid layer. The typical layer always has a defined line, and it usually is around Dover, today it was along  Delaware Airpark, KGED.
West view
East view
I continued my ride along and was eventually handed off to the first Philly sector and then another. I was given vectors to keep me clear of the Philadelphia runway that was in use. First a left turn to three zero zero and then a better on course, three six zero.

Philly stepped me down as I approached Brandywine. I canceled once I had the field in sight.  This is where the fun started. 
I swapped calls with another inbound aircraft and made for a straight in runway nine. I slowed down and lowered flaps ten degrees. then followed with the gear...I said the gear. Hmmm...I felt them drop but only had a light for the nose and right main. The panel gear warning light was NOT on, that's not good.  The breaker was in, that's good. I fiddled with the light, not trying to focus on it, but instead, flying the plane.  All those NTSB reports pop into your thoughts about people burning a hole because they had a bad light or an open door. 
The next check would be the gear warning bell, it comes on with reduced power setting and flaps. Believe me, you can not miss this warning bell, it sounds like the old telephones when I grew up. To be extra safe I asked for a visual confirmation on Brandywine's UNICOM and received said confirmation.  With that I broke off the low pass and climbed for a right traffic pattern for landing attempt two.
Everything went fine and again no warning bells but still no light. I made a gentle landing and taxied to the terminal to pick up Bob. 

Leg 2  KOQN - 58M

Bob climbed aboard and we got ready to taxi out for departure. I fiddled with the light while Bob buckled in but could not get it to stay lit. The bulb base looked dirty, like it needed a touch of sandpaper to make a better connection.  Remember it was bright as could be if I held it in.  I'm thinking a bad connection.

We lifted off and made a right traffic pattern, pointing to Claremont Airport, 58M. We bumped along at two thousand feet and made our way to overfly the field. I wanted to check the windsock and I confirmed winds favored one-three. I don't like landing this direction because of the sun glare and wires, and lets not forget those trees. The left main gear light did come when I dropped the gear but went out when I was on final. 

It was ride em' cowboy to get on the ground, but we did, and taxied for the shop. I dropped Bob off and made a quick turn for home. 

On departure I climbed out and just above pattern altitude a huge buzzard came right over my right wing tip, he was ugly, I was freaking out. At my one thousand foot checks I added check heart beat to my list, check, it's still working. 

It was quick ride home taking advantage of this mornings head winds now scooting along with the extra push south. The weather noted winds favoring runway two-zero, with slight changes maybe ten degrees either way every time I checked. I went through the same issue landing, three solid clunks, only two lights, no warning light or bell. 
Once I landed and taxied to the hangar I took out the bulb and with my door open rubbed it on the wing walk.  Just like sandpaper, the base of the bulb was nice and shiny.  With that, I screwed it back in and what do you see but three bright green lights. 

Next up, a return flight to 58M for the Reiff preheat install. I'll be heading out Wednesday morning.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Tire Remount Completed

My tug tires were mounted by Wainwrights Tire shop on Wednesday, and I picked them up after work.  They looked excellent and for two tires, tubes, and mounting it was $67. I didn't think that price was too bad.
Today after work I remounted them on the tug and gave it a test run.  
It has been a real PITA trying to tug 3 Tango Charlie out from the hangar.  The bald tires would just slip on the smooth concrete, not getting any good traction until I was on the hot mix. Now it looks like I'll be good to!
I know some of you may be wondering about the work comment.  I know, I'm retired, at least for the most part.  I am working a few days at our friends Construction Company, office work only.  Mainly construction related paperwork and computer work for estimates, expenses, and invoices. This week I started kitchen designs on the computer. The owner, Ted, crunches the numbers and gives me a sketch and I make it come alive on paper. Wow, that sounds like I know what I'm doing. I'm just learning as I go, and so far it's been fun. The pay covers our monthly hangar fee and a few airplane updates, along with fuel.  It's a win win.

Monday, September 23, 2019

More "To-Do" List

It's a beautiful day here in Ocean City, maybe I should have went flying. Instead I decided to finally knock out another item on my "to-do" list.  This project has been hanging over my head since I purchased the Nose Dragger tug from my friends,  Adam and Dave,  back in May 2017. Today I decided it was time to get the tires replaced.  

I cleaned up breakfast and then watched some TV this morning.  Mary and I wanted to catch the season finales from last seasons favorite shows.  So with the last two watched and deleted, along with deleting all the JAG episodes (keeping my top ten favorites) I was ready to head to the airport. 
I packed a bag with some tools and my knee pads. After my baseball days with countless hours behind the plate I need all the help I can get.  I guess a truck and plane accident didn't help those knees much. Ok, being older and fat did not add anything positive to the process either.
I did remove the center hub nut but that didn't need to be touched. Instead the four nuts on each tire holding the split rim to the backing plate did the trick.
I made my way to the local lawnmower repair shop but they said they no longer did tires. They could send them out but suggested I run them over to the place they would use, Wainwrights in Berlin MD

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Into The Valley

The weather was perfect, the plane and pilot were both ready, it was time to fly! And fly I did, to Wilkes-Barre and back. 
amended route
I did file a flight plan thinking it would be good practice and good to once again work in the system.  However, I received a notice that my route was amended and with that put the IFR plan on the back burner.  Instead, I decided to fly direct, at 7,500 feet, over Philly airspace and just pick up flight following. 

The new plan worked perfect.  I picked up Flight Following with Dover Approach about 15 miles south of the ATR Waterloo VOR. Easy peasy, an extra set of eyes for the ride. 
Delaware Memorial Bridge
I was handed of to multiple Philly sectors and eventually Allentown Approach. For the most part it was quiet and the ride was smooth. Allentown handed me off to Wilkes-Barre Approach and we rode along until I had visual on the airport. Once you see the ridge line with all the wind turbines you are pretty much there.  Cross the ridge and make your way to the airport.
Limerick Power Plant and Heritage Field, Pottstown
Lehigh tunnels
I should have asked for lower sooner, but it's all good practice for when ATC dumps you on to an approach. I worked my way down from 7.5 and made a nice landing on Runway four. It was a quick taxi to the FBO, Aviation Technologies. The line service was professional and the counter person was just as professional and pleasant.  The FBO squared up my fuel bill and let me use the courtesy car. Perfect!

The drive isn't really that long, maybe 30 minutes across the valley. I exited at Forty-Fort and made my way through the side streets to the main drag, Wyoming Ave. From there I drove until I came to the Wyoming Valley Airport, it was just a few more turns to the Italian Independent Cemetery. 
Why don't I use WBW? They don't have a courtesy car and it's a pain to get a rental delivered and picked up.  I'll have to check if things have changed since the last time landing there, it's been a good number of years. 

Once at the cemetery I cleaned up around the head stones, one by one, each family member. I talked with each Aunt and Uncle, grandparent, and my parents. I miss them so much. What I would give for just one more conversation or just a few questions answered. I know my Dad would have loved flying, Mom, not so much, ok, NOT AT ALL. 

It was time to head back to the airport and return the FBO's car. I made a stop to put in  five gallons of gas and grabbed a bacon cheeseburger at the DQ nextdoor.  Some slob left all the containers from their lunch in the car so I cleaned that out too. I just don't understand people sometimes. And folks wonder why courtesy cars are going away. People, add fuel and keep it clean!

Upon my return I dropped off the keys at the desk. With the car taken care of I walked back to the kitchen area, intent on quietly enjoying my lunch, and reflecting on my day. Why I love to fly...wake up in Ocean City and I'm sitting here having lunch in Wilkes-Barre. Enough contemplation, it's time to saddle up and point 3 Tango Charlie south for the beach.
The hot start went well and I sat at idle to bring the oil temps up. I also had to chug and plug the flight plan. Ok, I used the reverse feature then added an additional single waypoint, KMQS.  By adding MQS I would keep clear of Philly's Bravo airspace. I had planed the return flight for for 6,500 feet.
It felt good working with ground and a tower again as I made my way to runway four.  After completing my run up I advised ready to go at Bravo 2, at runway four.  I was quickly cleared to take off.  I should mention that ground gave me a squawk code for flight following, very nice. I wish more airports did this.
I only used ten degrees of flaps since the runway is 7,502 feet. I was up and climbing out, cleaning up gear and flaps, gaining altitude.  The departure procedure calls for a climb to five thousand before turning on course, I turned sooner and cleared the hills since the DP wasn't assigned and I was directed to resume own anvigation. 

It was another smooth and quiet ride south. I was handed of to each approach in reverse of this morning. Eventually I was handed off to Dover and canceled with them after passing south of Delaware Coastal, KGED.  I was now just ten minutes from home.

Ocean City was busy with winds favoring runway two-zero.  There were a few jets inbound and they selected runway three-two. Hey, roll your own, just play nice with all the other aircraft.  I made a nice landing on two-zero and taxied for the hangar, it was good to be home. 

I'm glad I stretched my wings a bit and went beyond my comfort zone. I'm ready to start adding states and airports once again!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Hangar Time & Video Set Up

I  headed to the airport with our Ziva girl so I could prep for tomorrows flight.  After Ziva did her turn and burn, obviously really enjoying the zero humidity today, I got started on the plane. 

I took on fuel the other day (12 gallons) and needed to enter the info on my JPI engine monitor. I also needed to clean windows, vac the carpets and update my GPS data card. All items checked off my to-do list.

While I was in the plane and had the avionics master on, I thought it would be a good time to review my video set up.  

If you're new to the blog here is a list of my equipment.
Garmin VIRB XE - two units, one still in a NTSB time out. The single unit on hand will be mounted on a Tackform bracket to the pilot side headrest and shoot video over my shoulder for the forward view.
Next up is the Activeon CX Gold - Two units.  For now, one will be used to view the Aspen and the other for either the tail tie down or in cockpit view of the crew. 

The audio is really poor on the Activeon Gold, but the video is very good.  What's nice is the price, around $55. If I lose the camera off the tail tie down I'm not out much money.  
Speaking of the tail tie down I am making the attachment with the most excellent, MyPilotPro bracket, it does a fantastic job.