Friday, January 26, 2018

Sebring 2018

I was out the door by 7:00 am, I was wheels up by 8:30am. Not bad.

I started listening to the temporary control tower at Sebring (KSEF) around 9:00 and monitored Lake Jackson Approach Control on my standby frequency. Lake Jackson was not responding to any calls. So I approached the northern shore of the lake and made my calls in the blind. Fortunately, there wasn't much traffic today so I followed the procedure and headed inbound once I passed over the water tower. There were at least two in front of me and they had already landed by the time I turned right downwind for RWY01. It was an easy taxi over to the visitor's parking area.

A golf cart picked me up after I secured Sally. The winds were already picking up so I used my chock on the nose wheel, covered the pitot and secured the controls with the gust lock. No gas needed today. The cart took me to a staging area where I boarded a minivan for the 10-minute ride to the FBO, The setup is different this year. Tickets can be purchased in the lot in front of the FBO. $25 but a $5 discount for AOPA or EAA. Enter through the FBO, pass by the restaurant and some vendors and finally past the security checkpoint (looking to see the wristband proving you paid), then out to the show area. Bristell was located immediately to the right, the outdoor vendor tent to the left. Directly across was Cruiser Aircraft Inc.
SportCruisers at the US Sport Aviation Expo at Sebring, FL
The tent already had a few visitors, but Izzy came over to greet me as soon as possible. We walked out to the line to talk. After trading stories and discussing some business items we went back to the tent where he introduced me to Josh and Lukas. More good discussion about the LSA environment and in particular the progress being made with SportCruiser, I completed my visit by signing up for a new Bose headset door prize. I didn't win.
Demonstrations ready to go.
The breeze turned into a wind.

I walked exhibit row and most of the major manufacturers were there. Lockwood and Tecnam had their hangars open and were welcoming visitors. The demonstrator line had about a half dozen planes tied down. I saw many flights go throughout the day, but as the winds picked up they became less frequent. 

The four tents set up for forums were busy, each topic appeared to be well attended. The main show tent was empty now but would be filled to capacity for talks later in the day. It was encouraging to see this kind of interest on a weekday afternoon. 

I had lunch at the Runway Cafe. Today it was subpar. They were busy and the inside tables were taken so I sat out on the veranda. The simple burger came out lukewarm. Dry and not much flavor. I'll stick to breakfast there for now on. 

On my way out I stopped at Dynon to talk with Kirk. He has put together some great video on how to use Skyview and I thanked him for them. I also wanted to learn more about Ranger, a new high wing  LSA announced by Vashon, a sister company. I asked if it was an attempt to improve SkyCatcher, the failed Cessna product. "NO!" He has actually flown the plane and said to expect it to be officially unveiled at Oshkosh this year. 

I left Sebring at 1:30pm, my PiperSport got off the ground quickly. A bit bouncy on the way home. Winds were off my starboard wingtip at 40kts while cruising at 2500'. Landed about 2:15pm 12G20 right down the runway. A little "spicey" for an LSA.During the long landing rollout, I noted some movement on the centerline of the runway. Turns out an Osprey and a Buzzard were fighting over a large fish. I caught the action at the end of the video.

Video Notes: Sebring 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Two More Things

66°F with dense fog. Partly sunny, high of 80°F low of 62°F. Not flying weather, but I went out to the hangar anyway.

1)This would be the second oil change in the cycle. I use Mogas so target every 50 hours. I would not remove the reservoir and clean the oil screen today. I picked up about 4' of 1/2 inch clear plastic tubing at the home improvement store. This fit on the quick drain on the oil reservoir and down into my gallon jug. I burped the engine (about 2/3 on the dipstick) and let it flow. I'm glad I didn't try this last week when the temperatures dropped to freezing. This was the easy part.

The hard part is the filter change. The filter is nestled behind the radiator and just inside the bend in the upper radiator hose to the engine. It's too tight to remove the filter unless you somehow move the hose. Tip: loosen the radiator and pull it to the pilot side of the airplane. This will provide JUST enough clearance to remove and replace the filter. Just a few drops on the lower cowling, not bad. I added 3 liters of clean oil back to the reservoir.

2) I had not been doing a good job of keeping my navigation databases up to date. One reason is the difficulty of removing the unit from the airplane.
To COMPLETELY REMOVE the 696 from the OFTEN VERY TIGHT AirGizmo 696 panel mount:

1) roll the AirGizmo locking lever down on the right side — FULLY DOWN — and then tilt the 696 forward (toward the Pilot) about an inch or so

2) CHECK to make sure that the 696 AirGizmo locking roller device on the right side of the AirGizmo mount is FULLY DOWN all the way

3) The uncomfortable but necessary step— carefully grab the top of the 696 GPS Unit and SHARPLY pull it forward (toward you sitting in the seat) to disconnect the 696 GPS unit’s “rear axle bar” (AirGizmo calls this a “back latch” device which is screwed onto the back of the 696 GPS Unit itself with four screws) from the AirGizmo’s “grappling, rotating retaining hooks”.

This step 3) may require a rather violent, quick, SHARP PULL in some cases to free the 696 GPS Unit completely from the AirGizmo mount.

"Violently" pulling against a plastic part just never appealed to me. Tip: You don't have to remove the unit to update the DBs. It turns out I was using an outdated Garmin webpage. The correct site is: (Note - this can ONLY be used with Internet Explorer (IE),  the latest version.)

The unit doesn't have to be removed, simply update an SD card and insert it while in the airplane!

The final Tip: join a "type" group for your airplane. You really don't need to solve all of the problems by yourself. Most probably, someone has already solved the issue you are struggling with and I've found that most pilots are anxious to help you out.  My tips came from:

It's where the CRUZ guys hang out.

No leaks after the runup.