Friday, October 14, 2016

Oil Change

Overdue. She really should have had the oil changed BEFORE Oshkosh, but life sometimes gets in the way. No excuses are good ones so it was really important not to delay any longer and give Sally some attention.

I'm always tentative about letting a different A&P look at my engine. I've had mostly good luck, but every so often you get started on a repair and realize that the mechanic is way in over his head. An oil change is a good way for me to get Sally introduced.  Dave Patrick had been recommended by a member of the SCFlier forum. He is a good guy and I will be returning to him for all of my maintenance.

A good morning
We left KVDF just before 8:00am for a 60nm flight up to Marion County (X35). The weather was forecast to be mostly scattered, possibly some fog and mist. I was sure that as the sun warmed the air the dew point would lag behind the temperature and the atmosphere would clear throughout the day. 1500' was a good initial altitude, but after some thought I decided to climb to 1600' just in case someone else was out there dodging clouds. It was a beautiful morning.

Video Notes: Oil Change

Dave welcomed me to the field and acted as a "Follow Me" to guide me back to his hangar. On my list:
  • Oil Change
  • Dave waits for me to shutdown
  • Install capacitor
  • Low oil pressure sending unit
  • Adjust Prop pitch
  • BRS Repack
  • General engine inspection
CorrosionX. Dave a huge proponent of this product. He demonstrated by spraying some on the electric fuel pump and brushing it in. Within a few seconds it looked like new. Recommended for all parts, I'm particularly interested to see how it will work on the 1/4 turn fasteners for the wing lockers.

When we removed the lower cowl the landing light dropped to the length of the electrical wires. The stainless steel attachment bracket had broken close to the light mounting hole. Fortunately, a welder is located on the field and was able to fix the bracket before I left. (Great job BTW)

He worked steadily with no breaks, educating me with tips from his experiences dealing with light sport airplanes. I got much more than I paid for. I commented to him later that one of the seldom mentioned aspects of General Aviation is the fantastic people involved in this activity.  I had a very good day.
* Camtasia 9.0, Virb Edit 4.2.1

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Sally weathered Hurricane Matthew well. I didn't notice anything unusual in or around our covered tie down space and the neighboring aircraft all looked to be fine as well. Temperature was in the mid-SIXTIES!

The preflight went great. I added ten gallons of gas from the local Wawa at about $25 ($1.50/gal less than 100LL). My plan was to fly up to Inverness. It was one of choices when returning from KOSH and it could become a cross country destination for my Sport Pilot Students. The weather was supposed to be 6000' overcast with 10 miles visibility. I decided to fly at 2500'. It wasn't long before the visibility was obscured with rain showers so I decided to descend to 1500' and alter course to stay clear of the heaviest rain. It took about a half hour to cover the 47 NM at low cruise settings of 5200 RPM. We burned just less than 5gal/hr.

Very little traffic, we did a straight in to RWY01. It was a nice 5000' asphalt runway with PAPI. A well maintained airport, I would not hesitate to send a student there.

Winds were directly off my left wing at 25kts for the trip home. Again some widely scattered showers but I was able to stay at 2500'.  5350 burned 5.3 gal/he. We encountered some mild turbulence close to KVDF and some traffic practicing instruments approaches using RWY23 circle to land RWY05. Our timing was good so we didn't experience any traffic delays.

Sally performed very well. No warnings or unusual indications. I'll take her for an oil change and a checkup tomorrow.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Preparing for Matthew

I drove out to the airport today to check on Sally. As I went through the gate I noticed the overflow ramp was full.. Planes have flown in from the eastern part of the state to find refuge from Matthew's mayhem.

Sally looked fine. The ropes were secure, the covers fastened properly and no obvious debris in the vicinity.  I double check my tie downs and a chock was added for each of the main gear. I made sure the vents were closed (insects have a way of finding any opening).

Satisfied I had done all I could, I left by the front (Terminal) gate. The main ramp was full too. I hope this storm makes a last minute starboard turn and spares the Florida coast.

From AOPA:

 If tying your aircraft down proves to be the best method of protection, you may want to follow this checklist to help reduce (and perhaps eliminate) damage to your aircraft.

...and from the FAA:

Allow for about 1 inch of movement, and remember that manila rope shrinks when it qets wet. TOO mch slack will allow the aircraft to jerk against the ropes. Avoid tightening the ropes too rmch. Tight tiedown ropes actually put inverted flight stresses on the aircraft, and many of them are not designed to take such loads. A tiedown rope holds no better thap the knot. Antislip knots such as a bowline or a square knot are quickly tied, and easy to untie.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Thin Scattered

We went flying today. Hurricane Matthew is still in the Caribbean Sea trying to figure out where it will unleash it's mayhem.  The first cold front of the season weakened into some broken troughs and lingered to the east letting unstable moist gulf air into the Tampa Bay area. The result was a thin scattered layer at about 800', with building cumulous over the central areas of the state. It looked like if we went before noon the weather would be skuddy but doable.  By 10:00am the fog had lifted and visibility was close to 10 miles, so we went flying.

Thin Scattered
The scattered layer was less than 100' thick and easy to fly around. As we climbed to 1500' we got a better view of the cloud build up to the east. I didn't need XM Weather to show me not to go there. We turned further south and got close to the menacing cell towers that pop above 1500' and have been the source of a few nightmares. My initial mission was to over fly the sink hole near Mulberry which is just south of Plant City. The large clouds near Lakeland changed my mind. So I changed my mind and decided to fly down Lithia-Pinecrest Road  to see where it goes. As I traveled southeast I noticed the scattered layer was getting thicker. Time to go home.

Sally had performed well. No low pressure indications, no annunciator lights, all systems normal. As we entered the 45 for RWY23 I was glad we had returned early. The thin layer had gotten thicker and was already starting to fill in. We were forced to fly the pattern a bit lower than normal. It would not be a good day for VFR pilots trying to fly later in the day.

Video Notes: Thin Scattered