Sunday, April 1, 2012

Round Robin

Weather - Work - Winds. It has been tough to get some flight time in lately.  While the temperature has been great, strong gust winds have kept us on the ground. On those rare occasions when the weather was marginal, my work desk was over-flowing or I was out of town. I tried to take another trip up to 6B6 near Boston, but that fell through due to fog. Destination was VFR but at home and most of the way up was LIFR, low ceilings and limited visibility.

All of the pieces fell into place on Friday afternoon. Once the last PowerPoint was done I scrambled to the airport and started the preflight. Oil was good but water level was WAY down. My last flight had been in the warmer air temperature with the baffles still on and oil temps had fluctuated at the high end. I took the baffles off after that flight. The overflow bottle looked fine, but the tube was high in the bottle. Fortunately I had some coolant in my hangar (trunk of the car) and was able to top her off. Everything else looked good.

Ground operations went well.  As I waited for the oil to warm I cleaned up my PFD by removing some clutter and redundant information.The Dynon system is a little confusing at first but straight forward once you get use to the menus.  I was glad that the DSAB initiated properly and all subsystems were recognized. I programed the 696 for KUKT, KLOM, KPTW and then finally N47. I set the autopilot to alert me for a cruising altitude of 3500'. Final checks were good, take off normal and we departed out on the 45.

Pennsylvania is turning green. Most of the farms are plowed with new crops going in, lawns are coming back to life and the trees have that yellow-green haze you only see in the Spring. The weather was clear, but the temperatures we had become accustomed to were gone. OAT 9. I started my descent into Quakertown a bit late and Sally told me about it, alerting me to "High RPM". A year ago I was still trying to figure this one out, but now understand if the ROTAX oil gets below 122 the EMS shifts the RPM scale to lower values. This means 3500 is now in the yellow range. This can be avoided by using the proper descent profile. I sat on the ground at KUKT for 5 minutes letting the oil temperature rise into the normal range. Takeoff was normal and we departed heading for Wings.

Some traffic in the air this day. Pipers, Cessnas, and at least one Cirrus were spotted on our trip. I think everyone was trying to take advantage of good flying weather as the weekend forecast was lousy. I was #2 in the pattern behind a Helo  on a straight in approach, really no factor. As I turned Base a Cirrus called in over the field but again I was ell clear. I very nice landing at my old home field and I was off by the first turn off. Once again the oil temp had sunk below the normal range and I sat in the run up area waiting for it to rise. I enjoyed watching the Cirrus come in to land. Takeoff was normal and we departed heading for Heritage Field.

Even more traffic here. One on a VOR approach, another 3 miles south of the field, and one turning base to final. And me.  The nuclear cooling towers at Limerick make a great wind sock but also sit under the left hand traffic pattern, so the standard procedure at KPTW is right hand turns. Although I was set up for a 5 mile straight in I opted to fly to the north and enter on a 45. I tend to fly just a bit wider when the runway is on the other side of the airplane as it seems to give me a better chance to correct any misjudgements on the base leg. I didn't need it this time as the approach was good leading to a comfortable landing. Off at the first exit and taxi back to the approach end. Takeoff was normal and we departed heading for Pottstown Municipal.

Quiet radios on 122.8. No one was out playing today, at least not in the pattern. I took the straight in this time from 4 miles out. Landed a bit long and a touch fast but nothing unsafe. A great flying day.

After I tied her and covered her I jumped in the car to head up to Butter Valley. I had been told that they would have a hangar available if I was still interested. YES! Unfortunately there was no room at the inn when I arrived, and my contact had taken the day off. I'll pursue this next week. I would just love to put a roof over our head.

1 comment:

  1. RE oil temp. IF I understand correctly, there now is an extra thermostat in the oil system to help stabilize temps. Don't know if it's retrofittable.

    I have heard warnings against using the water cooler cover in all but very cold conditions.