Just for Clarity…

A lot has happened between the first flight in November of 2020 and now, I just didn’t write about it. The reason I haven’t posted in a while is that I locked myself out of this WordPress site and I simply took two years to get around to getting myself back in…

I flew off the 100 hours required for the airworthiness certificate.

I had only a single significant issue to deal with. I had a small but persistent oil leak near the number one cylinder. After each flight I would find a fine mist of oil on the top of that cylinder but couldn’t identify where it was coming from. I eventually took it to a mechanic who quickly found a lose plug in an oil journal in the front of the engine case. Total cost to fix it was $950 which Lycoming covered under warranty.

Lots of flights in the local area (I was limited to a 100 mile radius from KFCI) and I was becoming pretty confident in my piloting skills and my new airplane. I did quickly realize that there is a lot to learn about the avionics in the airplane. I have to admit that I had the experience of “why is it doing that?” or “why isn’t it doing that?”.

Jim Van Laak and I flying near Newport News, VA

My friend, John Jaromin and I flew the airplane to and from Sun n Fun in Lakeland, FL.

My Dad, (age 92 at the time) was one of my first passengers

Marianne and I flew the airplane to Hilton Head Island for a brief vacation. Even got to fly in some yechy IFR conditions on the return flight.

On the way to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I flew it to Smith Mountain Lake multiple times.

I flew it to State College, PA (picking up Drew in Leesburg, VA). Penn State won.

I worked on getting my commercial pilot rating for single engine land airplanes. I passed the check ride (woot!).

The airplane went to the paint shop in Alabama in late October of 2021. I thought it would be there for about two months but it actually took closer to six months. They did an amazing job and I couldn’t be happier with the result despite the long wait.

It’s been back for several months now and I realize that I STILL have a punch list of random things to do on it.

It’s a Real Plane

It’s Thanksgiving (November 26th) and I flew the plane for the first time this morning.

The weather was very nice (9 mph cross wind).

I only flew .25 hours – just enough to check temps and pressures.

I need to adjust the idle – it idles too slowly.

I also have to fix the flaps up stop – the motor continues to run after they have gotten all the way to the top – until the VPX times out and stops them. Should be an easy fix.

Inspection is Tomorrow

I have been working hard to get ready for the inspection. It seems that I fix a couple more things then find one more thing to do.

Recent accomplishments:

– Tightened all the fittings firewall forward and in the wings and tail.

– Got engine idle speed and idle mixture set.

-Began work on the empennage fairing – a lot more work then you might think.

-Installed the firewall pass through fittings

-Worked on the canopy seals

-Installed the heat shield on the inside of the lower cowling

I did notice a very small leak in the passenger side brake pedals. I will need to remove the brake fluid, tighten some of the fittings and then add fluid back to the system. Hopefully only an hour of work for two people.

After multiple attempts to use micro-molex and molex connectors for the tail light, yaw trim and the sticks I have decided to try a different connector style called Deutch DTM. They look promising though a bit pricy ($20 per connector).

Miscellaneous Stuff prior to Inspection

The problem with the strobe lights turned out to be two wires that were accidentally swapped by the avionics shop. The strobe lights were connected to the standby alternator and vice versa. John and I figured it out and got it fixed. One other lesson, that $40 tool is completely unnecessary, a standard paperclip works just as well.

I mounted the data plate – it looks good.

I nearly have the yaw trim in the tail sorted out – I had to replace the wires leading to the motor because they were too short. This wasn’t actually as difficult as anticipated and will be better in the long run.

I finally got the registration for N662F from the FAA.

The biggest things left are mostly on the canopy and basic cleaning.

Speaking of cleaning – my car is back in the garage for the first time in about three months. I moved the airplane out to the hangar about 3 weeks ago but had lots of miscellaneous tools and parts on the floor in the garage. It was rainy and cool today – a perfect day to work around the house. It took a couple hours, but I was able to get all that stuff out of the garage and Tessie is back inside.

Getting Ready for the Inspection

The inspector comes to town on Sunday, November 1st. I still have a long list of stuff to do to get ready. Nearly every night for the next week and a half plus both Saturdays will be mostly at the airport getting ready.

The biggest issue I have been “fighting” is that the strobe lights didn’t work. After several hours of troubleshooting I was able to find the problem (a bad pin in one of the connectors). One $40 tool and a few minutes of work and I should be able to fix that problem.

Lots of little stuff left including minor wiring tasks, installing some inspection panels.

Oh and the paperwork with the FAA. Arghhh! they want so many forms, notarized and signed and witnessed. Hopefully, will get the registration in the mail any day now.

The Engine Runs!

I am a bit behind on the blog posting.

On Saturday, October 10th we did the empty weight and balance measurements. We put the airplane on 3 car scales and recorded the weight on each wheel. A bunch of simple math later and we had the Weight and Balance and the Center or Gravity all calculated. The good news is it was exactly where we wanted it to be and right in line with other planes that were already flying.

Here are the calculations:

The allowable CG is 82 to 88” aft of datum

The max gross weight is 2050 (1900 for aerobatics)

My CG of the empty airplane is 81.25 which means fuel burn does not change the CG but baggage and people move it aft.

Even with minimum fuel, no baggage and a very light pilot I can’t get it forward of the allowed CG

Note the front tire is flat (intentionally). The airplane needs to be in it’s flight attitude to get a proper measurement of CG. By letting air out of the nose wheel tire I was able to get it to the proper angle.

We finished all the pre-start engine tests including checking fuel pressure and volume, oil pressure and cleaning out the engine preservative in the fuel system.

My friend John was a trooper as we moved 25 gallons of aviation fuel back and forth between the two tanks several times. Without complaining he filled the 5 gallon bucket from one wing and moved it to the other and then back.

We wanted to run the engine that day, but it was a steady drizzle outside and we finally gave up and continued to work inside.

We did the first engine start on Sunday, October 11th. The engine started without issue and ran well for the 15 minute test run.

You can’t easily tell, but the engine is running at about 1000 rpms here thus the wind in my face and hair.
My Dad and Brady watching while I am running the engine.
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