Saturday, June 29, 2024

Flight to the Valley

I know for many years it was an annual event but lately It's been hit or miss.  Today was too beautiful a day not to fly, so we loaded up some gardening tools and headed north. 

We were at the airport early and headed out to runway two around 8am. I typically go through my emergency brief but with Mary on board decided to keep some of it with the inside voice, only because the thought hit me too late. 
The run up was good to go and after waiting for a school cessna and a transient Mooney we were ready to go. I powered up and started my roll, but 3 Tango Charlie felt off, then a slight vibration from the right side. Abort Abort!! I went immediately on the brakes and taxied off. I returned to the hangar and shut down wanting to give everything a look. I could smell brakes on the right/co-pilot side and the new rotor looked like it got hot. Looked as in I saw a slight discoloration on the rotor compared to the right side. I took a bottle of water and poured it over the right side, it was hot. When the steam stopped I did the same to the left side, it was fine. 

I decided to do a high speed taxi and give it a test. Everything felt normal and I had good brakes. We agreed to give the take off another go. I was ready to abort if necessary but 3 Tango Charlie made great power and no vibration. The airspeed also looked great. We were in the air!
The flight north was smooth but I had to climb to remain clear of clouds as we made our way north. I climbed to 8.5 and rode along on top until Philly wanted to hand me off. I was VFR decided not to open the IFR flight plan. My choice was New York approach or Allentown but I would have to descend for the Allentown switch. 
I took Allentown and descended to 4.5, now not a cloud in the sky. Allentown handed me off to Wilkes Barre Approach and then in turn over to the tower and vectors for runway four. I made a nice landing and taxied for the FBO, Aviation Technologies, Inc. 
Mary secured the courtesy car/SUV and I monitored the fueling. The plan was to take the cross valley over to Forty Fort and take care of my parents cemetery plot. We could not find mulch anywhere so I used the remaining soil from the flowers since it was dark and had the fertilizer beads mixed in. Thankfully we remembered water, two gallons, and gave all the flowers a good drink, along with both aunt and uncles buried on either side of my parents.

The cemetery was a mess, branches down and grass topping my knees. Mary met a lady that had hired a husband and wife crew to cut the grass around all her family plots. I got a price and paid the couple to do the three graves that we attended to. I said hello to the lady that had mentioned to MAry she knew my cousin Dom, his parents are buried alongside my parents. I overheard her talking on her phone and she mentioned Louis, so I asked, are you Barbra?  These two were sisters that lived just down the road from my cousin and they used to baby sit him.  She could not believe it was me nor I her. When we left I gave her a hug and said how good it felt to meet someone from my past, it was heartwarming for sure. We traded numbers and then headed back to the airport.
I filed and opened my flight plan for the ride home. The flight was a bit bumpy until south of Allentown but CAVU all the way. When Allentown handed me off to Philly I got "vectors for traffic" which translated to bug smasher keep clear of my busy Bravo. I made a nice landing back home at Ocean City and tucked 3 Tango Charlie into the hangar. 


Saturday, June 22, 2024

What's the surprize inside?

I promised an update once the 90 degree AN fitting was cut open. Special shout out to Dave A for getting the fitting cut open to reveal the blockage. Thanks, Dave!
First, some explanation on what's blocking the air passage through the fitting. The AN fitting attached to the MP gauge has a restrictor built in to it to keep the flow and MP gauge needle swing dampened. As the restrictor failed it slowed the needle movement, and upon total failure it stuck the needle in place. A change of the fitting has the gauge working normal once again but this fitting does not have the restrictor. More research to find if it's really necessary or not.
Thanks to the Commander Owners Group (COG) for providing the info on the restricted fitting.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Manifold Pressure Gauge...FIXED!

I headed up to New Garden this morning to have the shop give another look at my manifold p[ressure gauge. It absolutely stopped, frozen on lucky 13. 
The flight north was smooth and pretty quiet. I road along with Dover approach and then Philly before canceling flight following. I made a nice landing and taxied to the shop.

I wanted this addressed at annual and ideed the shop found a crack in the line coming off the manifold. The line was replaced, all the remaining line checked and they even removed some blue gunk at the manifold AN fitting. 
The plan was to disconnect the gauge, make a short line extension to then be hooked up to a known working gauge for a test. The gauge worked perfectly. My gauge was removed and the ninety degree AN fitting was removed, the only part of the system that was not checked. Somehow it clogged solid, it really looks like some piece of metal was stuck in there. The most bizzare thing I've seen, airplanes, go figure. With a new ninety put on my gauge it immediately registered the approximate barro setting, a good sign. The gauge was reinstalled and sure enough it worked like a charm.  
Cody was upside down and under the panel getting all this squared away. Oh to be young and able to once again do that work and still climb out. I would have needed fire rescue to get me out. 

With another run up complete I headed out to lunch and Cody buttoned things up. Charles G picked me up and we headed to Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza for some very good eats. We each had the two meatballs with sauce and ricotta  and focaccia bread on the side. 

The temps were now getting hot and the humidity was climbing too. I could hardly wait to get the fan turning. I launched for home with a perfectly active MP gauge! 
The ride south was bumpy at times and there was a good bit of traffic on with Dover. It seems all of Del State planes were in the air today. I finished up with a nice landing on runway one-four and tucked 3 Tango Charlie in the hangar.  I'll post some pics when the AN fitting is cut open and the block is revealed. 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Annual 2024, The rest of the Story

I headed north this morning with the help of fellow BAC member Anita and her Sierra to get me to New Garden and 3 Tango Charlie. 

Anita and I swapped text messages and she would pick me up at 7am here at the house and then head to Salisbury Airport to preflight and launch for N57. In an effort to ease climbing in and out of her and Dave's Jeep she offered to take her other SUV. I got a good laugh and made a follow up post on facebook that read as follows. You know your getting old when friends offer to drive their other SUV so you don't have to climb into their Jeep. Of course my friends had a good laugh and once I told Anita she also laughed. It reminded me of the saying you know you're old when you fall down and friends run to help you when they used to just laugh. Sigh...getting old ain't for sissies. 

The flight north was good with clear skies and a smooth ride. Once we taxied in the Sierra needed some fuel and then we pushed her back into a parking spot. Anita got the shop tour, from avionics to paint and the working shop itself. I helped tug 3 Tango Charlie out for a run up and leak test then waited on the paper work to be completed. 

I was ready to go and taxied for my run up. The run up was perfect, good power, hardly any drop between mags. I made my call and launched for home. I gave the manifold pressure gauge another look and there it sat at 13. Hmmm...that's not right. I made a pass around the airport and everything looked good except for the MP gauge. I called the shop and will return next Tuesday for them to give it a once over. 
The total Invoice was $3765.00  This included my decision to go ahead and replace the four bottom fine wire plugs this year to the tune of $579 that passed inspection but would need replacing next annual. Both of my rotors needed to be replaced due to less then minimum spec at $375. I had the brake pads also replaced for a clean start with the new rotors.  

Friday, June 07, 2024

Annual 2024

Day 1 Reposition

It’s that time of year, annual inspection for our Commander. I was up early and headed to the airport to sump my fuel and get in the air. I took off from runway three-two and pointed for New Garden Airport, N57. 

It was a one hour flight from start up to shut down and the ride was super smooth. It was very relaxing just flying along with a quiet radio and cool air blowing through the cabin. Fellow Beech Aero Club member Anita, who also was my safety pilot, flew north to pick me up and fly and me home. We had to make a quick stop for fuel at Summit KEVY since New Garden was out of fuel.  Once fueled we headed for Salisbury KSBY.

I helped hangar Anita and Dave’s Sierra then got a ride over to the Ocean City airport. Well, almost to the airport. I swapped text messages with Mary and we met for lunch, Anita declined my invitation to join us and instead went home to take Miss Daisy out. 

We finished lunch then Mary ran me over to pick up my SUV at the hangar. I climbed in and made the two and a half hour ride north, ground pounding really stinks! I made check in after three then headed to the shop to drop off log books and get in the way. 

3 Tango Charlie had just been pushed in the shop hangar a short time when I arrived. I managed to help Bruce with the compression checks as the other A&P Bill started on all the inspection panels. After the inspection panels were removed he opened up the inside of 3 Tango Charlie. Tasked with removing the seats he was baptized with the Commander right of passage. Bill struggled at first with the side carpet and console plastic making it hard to free the seat wheel bearings from the notch in the track. After showing him the removal video and giving my advice to keep the seat square in the track the pilot seat was finally free. Unfortunately there was still one more seat to remove. Bill removed the side carpet trim and positioned himself for best grab and slide contortion. The copilot seat was out in less then ten minutes start to finish. I think Bill would agree the seat removal is the hardest part of the annual inspection. 

It was a long day and I was tired, hot, sweaty, and hungry. There was a Capriottis close by and the Bobbi (turkey, stuffing, and cranberry) was calling my name. Sadly they were closed. Instead I walked across the parking lot and hit another favorite, Two Stones Pub for dinner. With a full tummy I headed to the hotel. Once showered I enjoyed an ice tea then settled in for the Phillies game. 

Day 2 Let’s dig in

Day two begins with a very detail inspection for oil leaks. The prop was dry, the dipstick showed some trace but that could be my poor skills when adding a quart. There was also a trace of residue on the oil pan but no drips. I’m satisfied with the inspection. 

Next the plugs were removed, cleaned and gapped. There was 1110 hours on the bottom plugs which are fine wire and the center electrode was pretty worn. I decided to replace the four bottom fine wire plugs with the Tempest UREM38S. Prior to reinstalling we spent time with the borescope checking each cylinder. 

Mag timing was checked and the left mag was retimed from its advanced state and the right was good to go. A five gallon bucket was positioned to receive my used oil and once the stream flowed the oil filter was next. Since it would take time to drain the filter I would return later to view its innards.

I took a break from airplane stuff and headed south to visit my sister and her husband in north Wilmington. The plan was to deliver old family 8mm movies to be saved on CD's and USB memory sticks. We are all looking forward to some good laughs. Since it was nearly lunch I picked up a large Bobbi at the Capriottis Delaware location. Never say quit. We sat and enjoyed our lunch while reading through all the ancestry work my sister has done. I finally headed back to the hotel around 5:30 a bit horsed from laughing. Good times!

Day 3 Inspection and waiting on parts

Let’s pick back up where we left off yesterday. The oil filter was cut and the screen removed, both were good. There was some carbon specs in the filter.

Filter inspection

Screen inspection
The shop started to gather stands to get 3TC off the ground for the gear work. Preliminary checks found my brake rotors to be below minimum thickness so two new were ordered. Yikes! We’re not even off the ground yet. I should note I’m adding new brake pads so it’s a fresh start, and old pads may mark the disc, the existing pads were two years old. 
Screen Location
With everything buttoned up on the oil I added eight quarts of Phillips Xc 20W50 and camguard. I’m going to start running at seven instead of six quarts for my normal operating procedure. 

Bruce is starting on the wing and elevator inspections and then will do the AD elevator borescope. For now it’s time for lunch so I’m headed to Two Fat Guys burger joint. 
When I returned to the shop we were on hold for parts and Bruce said they most likely wouldn’t get the gear swing done today. So after going back and forth and knowing I would head home early tomorrow I figured why wait around. I returned to the hotel, checked out, then motored two and a half hours home. More to follow when I pick up 3 Tango Charlie next week.