Saturday, February 05, 2011

A/P INOP No More

I was up early and on my way to the airport in case of frost on the plane. I decided to make a stop at the hangar where one of my projects is ongoing. It was start up day for the new infrared Re-verber-ray heaters just installed. I only had a few minutes but wanted to check in.

I headed across the airport to 08Romeo and started my preflight. I have deice fluid in the gallon pump sprayer so I set that in the truck on the floor with the heat on full blast. With the plane ready to go except for some frost I gave it a coating of the deice. The pink fluid flowed and it was easy to confirm the coverage. I packed up the truck and parked out in the lot then walked back in and unplugged the reiff heater. The deice juice worked perfect, it was flowing off the wing and tail. I could run my fingers across the area of frost and it was clear.

I was soon launching off of two seven and pointing towards Brandywine. I heard 46Charlie, a Cessna 172 landing at ILG. 46C was the plane I learned to fly in, good memories. I heard my former instructor Bill make some calls along with his student. I needed to switch over to the unicom frequency for Brandywine and announce my position and intentions. I made a nice landing and turn off at midfied.

I rolled up towards the Penn Avionics hangar door and Ken came out to meet me. He used the powered tug to get 08Romeo in the shop, I said don't spoil her. Ken and I reviewed what has been done to date to check the system regarding the roll servo and he confirmed with his notes. The plan was to check the unit and if needed advance to a cable check.

The7 pin connector
I walked across to the flight school and waited for Bill to return from his lesson. It was great to catch up and update each other on our planes and travels. I visited the FBO upstairs and took advantage of the Wifi to check on wx and TFR's.  Ken tracked me down, even though I had left my cell phone number, and gave me a quick update. I knew it was good news when he had a smile and gave a two thumbs up. Apparently when testing the relay he got the A/P unit to work so he is pulling the relay box to replace a connector that has a broken pin. The pin that was broken caused the relay to see the pilot interrupt switch on the yoke as always engaged. 
the relay
With the seven pin connector replaced and the relay installed the system was checked and returned to service. I helped tug 08Romeo out to the ramp then went in to square up my bill. The damage for today's adventure was $293, overall not to bad. I was excited to get back in the air and give it a whirl.
I launched for home after sending Mike a text that I would be wheels up in ten.  Mike was going to fly with me so we could check out the A/P. We met on the red eagle ramp and taxied out to runway two seven for the quick hop. We had went through the preflight ground checks and now in the air would try the system in the wing level mode. Once aligned on course and bringing the A/P online the plane banked right into a ten degree heading change then back left. The century one unit seemed to "hunt" for the heading. The same result in track mode tells me the unit needs some adjustment. Ken explained the adjustment for wings level so we could make the change on the ground and try another flight on Sunday.
Mike shot the ILS RWY 1 into Wilmington, low approach only then climbed out to enter an extended right down wind for two seven to accommodate inbound traffic. It was a long day but a rewarding one. The last bit of work on 08Romeo is now complete and the A/P will add a safety factor to my instrument flying.


ddf said...

You will love having that for your trip. The workload reduction is amazing especially when it gets choppy.

Gary said...


Yep just enough to allow some extra hands free briefing time or to save some energy for a hand landing in IMC if needed.

Anonymous said...

Or eating.

Unknown said...

Congrats! (A $293 bill is way better than "not too bad")!!