Saturday, May 27, 2023

Annual 2023 Part 1

It's that time of year and once again annual is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23rd. I covered my squawk list on a previous post and have compiled the necessary items to be replaced or repaired. 

Instead of arriving on Tuesday morning I will fly up Monday to leave the plane, parts, and keys at the shop at New Garden, N57. I already called to add a Monday to my car rental and Mary added Monday to the room reservation. I will drive over to my sisters house early Tuesday so we can head north to Wilkes-Barre to attend my Aunt Erma's funeral.

It's hard to believe that all blood aunts and uncles are gone on both sides of the family. I can still see and hear my aunt and my mom sitting together and laughing so hard they are both in tears and no voice coming out of either one of them,as they try to catch their breath. As in any Italian family you can not visit without eating something, maybe cookies, maybe home cured meats (Lonsa), even a porchetta sandwich (Erma's was the very best.) Great memories with family and of my mom with her sister. 

My preflight was completed Sunday and I am ready to head north to New Garden, N57. I decided to fly VFR and pick up flight following with Dover approach.

The ride north was smooth but hazy as I contacted Dover then eventually was handed off to Philly approach. I cancelled once clear of Wilmington’s Delta airspace and let down for New Garden.  
Hertz delivered my rental and I was soon off to check in at the Montchanin Inn. Mary had me drop off gifts for the great nephews and it was nice to catch up with sister-in-law Lynn.
My sister and her husband invited me over for dinner and dessert. It’s always fun catching up and having good laughs. Dinner was excellent, great job Dave, and Denise made a very tasty coconut cream pie. 

Honest, there will be annual info and pictures soon. I was up early to shower and get dressed for my aunts funeral. I hitched a ride with my sister, arriving at their house by 6:30am. The trip north to Wilkes-Barre was two hours and twenty minutes to the church. The service was excellent and I wish that priest was at our church. Following the service we headed to the Italian cemetery where my aunt was buried next to my uncle Walter which is  right next to my parents. Many memories of my Mom and Dad came rushing back in my mind and the family stories flowed as we walked through to visit my grandparents grave and other aunts and uncles. I can remember when they all bought the plots joking how it would be a party on the other side, well I hope that was the case today.


My first day of taking part in 3 Tango Charlie’s annual! My lower cowling was sent out to a shop to be painted, hopefully it won’t take too long. 

I removed the elevator inspection plates, tail cone cover and the dorsal fin. I helped remove the front seats, what a PIA. 
Gear plumbing and hydraulic pressure switches
Flap Actuator  
Hydraulic gear check valve
When inspecting the nose gear doors I found a rub on one of the connecting hinges. It needs to be replaced, or a doubler added. 
Nose gear hinge

The ELT was removed and the battery expiration is noted as 08-2023 so a new battery will be ordered. While removing the battery pack there was a foam type spacer that was removed to provide a better access to the battery wire connection on the circuit board. Check out the label…who did that to require such a warning?

I stuck around long enough to find out my engine  compressions were all in the high seventies. With that noted I called it a day and headed out to lunch, then the hotel to watch the Phillies baseball game.


With plenty of rest last night I made an early start for the shop. I walked in as the oil change started. The screen was removed and looked good as well as the filter.  
Flexible funnel
I have been working the phone trying to find a gear door hinge, should have news this afternoon. 

The A&P that worked on my plane last year will be in tomorrow to do the inspections to include the few items in my squawk list. I’m headed back to the hotel to have lunch and pack up for my departure tomorrow. I’ll return when the plane is complete and ready to go, most likely waiting on the paint shop at Smoketown to finish my lower cowl.


Packed and loaded up the rental, heading to the airport. Charles offered to fly me home and the rental company will release me from the last four days of my reservation, win win. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I hatched this rental plan but I did forget it was memorial weekend.  What a nightmare it would have been driving south to the beach and then returning up north next week. Obviously a CRS moment. 

Charles and I headed south around lunch and it was a very nice flight. Some bumps along the way but the view was worth it. When asked if I wanted to fly I politely refused, instead, wanting to take in the view I typically don't get to see when left seat.

Big time shout out to Charles G for offering me a ride home, I wasn't in any shape to make that drive as bad as I was feeling. Thanks for the save!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Buttonology and Proficiency

I have been working on proficiency when it comes to the buttonology of my Stec 60-2 autopilot, and my Garmin 480 GPS. 

Today was a quick hop in the bumps to shoot the RNAV GPS 4 approach into Delaware Coastal, KGED. Purely on autopilot and the Stec performed flawlessly. I wanted to shoot at least one more but didn’t want to ride the rodeo horse to get it done. 

I broke off my approach into GED and pointed for Ocean City, OXB. A fun day in the air and it got the oil pumping too. 


Captured from FlightAware

I hope to get a few more flights in before annual on the 23rd of this month at New Garden, N57. 

Monday, May 08, 2023

My Squawk List

Annual 2021

With annual just a couple of weeks away I am fine tuning my squawk list of items I want addressed. Lets get right to that list.

Commander N453TC Squawk List 

  1. IFR CERT (Needs to be scheduled)
  2. WING ROOT SEAL (I have wing root seal – 25ft silicone product)
  3. MP/FF GAUGE CLEAN/REPLACE  (I have replacement gauge if original snubber valve doesn’t clean up)
  4. PAINT BOTTOM COWL  (I have paint for cowl)
  5. AUDIO ALERTS ASPEN  (do not hear any alert tones)
  6. HARD WIRE USB POWER POINTS  (I would like two (2) additional USB power points installed)

(1)The IFR Cert can be done at the shop if they have their equipment back in time, if not, I'll schedule FlyAdvanced Avionics to come up and get it done. 

(2) I purchased 25 feet of wing root seal from aircraft spruce. It's a new material, silicone, and it's supposed to be easier to install. We shall see. The silicone seal is 3/16" wider then the typical overlap section which should provide better coverage.

(3) Manifold Pressure/Fuel Flow gauge. I had some trouble with this gauge back in August of 2019 and had the guys at Cecil aero removed it, cleaned the oil clogged snubber valve, tested it, and reinstalled. I've had no issues until recently.  Just in case I purchased another gauge that was working when removed from another Commander owner/pilot. I gave some thought to going digital but I rather not spend an additional $1500.
(4) The bottom cowl needs to be painted to fix the chip that came off during 3 Tango Charlie's last spa day. The shop spray booth is pretty busy but I hope they can work me in while in annual. I do have all three colors for the repaint that I chased down after purchasing the plane.

(5) I want to get the audio alerts working on my Aspen and Autopilot. Currently my minimums blink and change color, and my auto pilot disconnect does nothing to alert me. We'll see what can be done.

(6) Additional USB power points. I would like two additional power points installed. One on the top panel, above my audio panel, next to my bluetooth device, and the other on the top of my glare shield that stays intact, closer to the windscreen. Obviously one to power the bluetooth Taotronics device so I don't have to recharge and the other to power my video cameras for front view and crew cam.

That should wrap up my wish list, we shall see how they all play out during annual. I'll be attending the annual but as far as taking part I think I'm past those days of crawling around.