Archive for the ‘Flying’ Category

Minor Mods and Maintenance

May 17, 2015 Leave a comment

Sunday, May 17, 2015

It’s been a while since I posted. I’ve just been busy with life and work, and flying. I have noticed that my oil temperature maxes out at about 180F which is right at the low end of the range recommended by Lycoming. Some people say it is better for the oil temperature to run at about 200F at cruise so any water in the oil will vaporize and reduce the chances of corrosion. I decided to block part of my oil cooler to see if the temperature will increase. I put a 2-inch strip of aluminum foil tape across the top of the cooler as you can see in this picture.


While I had the upper cowling off I noticed a ding in the protective foil on the inside of the lower cowling near the right muffler. So I pulled the lower cowling off and found two spots where the foil was broken and smashed. It looks like the muffler made contact at some point, probably during start up or shut down when the engine moves quite a bit. I readjusted the muffler and exhaust pipe to increase the clearance.


I smoothed out the foil and applied a layer of new foil tape over the top. You can hardly tell it was ever nicked in the photo below.


I also have wanted to add a lock to the canopy latch for times when I leave to airplane in transient parking. My solution is really simple. I drilled a 9/64 hole through the latch handle on the outside of the airplane. You can see it if you look closely in the photo below.


I picked up a small key lock with a cable at Walmart. It is typically used for luggage. It’s not strong enough to stand up to a pair of bolt cutters but it is a good deterrent to someone looking for an easy target or someone rude enough to think they can open the canopy to look inside. When the cable is inserted through the hole in the latch it prevents the latch from retracting through the slot in the fuselage which prevents the canopy from releasing. Simple, but effective for keeping undetermined thieves out.


I also installed the instrument panel cover I received as a present for Christmas.


Categories: Flying

First Cross Country Flight

February 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Sunday 2 Feb 2015

Today Denise and I flew out to Lake Havasu, AZ on our first real cross country flight in the RV. It was about 175 nm each way from Corona and took about 1 hr, 15 min each way. We landed at HII which has a beautiful 8000 ft runway. We parked for lunch at the Blue Baron restaurant and then flew back to KAJO in time to get home for the Super Bowl. Here is a shot of Denise buckling up for the return flight.


Categories: Flying

First Semi-Cross Country Flight

January 17, 2015 1 comment

Saturday Jan 17, 2015

Now that my phase 1 flight test is completed I am free to fly outside the test box assigned by the FAA. Today I decided to venture out toward Arizona in a short dry run of a cross country flight to Lake Havasu. This was to start getting used to using the Dynon for navigation. It was a beautiful day and the visibility was awesome. In this photo I was just leaving the Riverside area heading east toward Palm Springs at about 5500 feet.


Looking toward the Big Bear area I could see snow on the mountain top. It was so clear everything seemed closer than it really was.


Looking down the valley toward Palm Springs I could see the Banning pass. Palm Springs is just beyond the pass and around to the right.


After passing Banning I turned north east and overflew Yucca Valley airport. This picture shows the desert about 100 miles out from Corona airport approaching Twenty Nine Palms where I turned around to head back to Corona. Total time from takeoff to landing back at Corona was one hour and 14 minutes.


Categories: Flying

Phase 1 Flight Test Complete – Hobbs 40.1

December 22, 2014 1 comment

Monday, Dec 22, 2014

Today I finished the Phase 1 flight test phase with a 3.5 hour flight. The Hobbs meter shows 40.1 hrs as you can see below. I enter the certification into the airframe log and now I can legally take passengers on board and travel to just about any destination I choose. Yippee! I expect Denise will be my first passenger.


Categories: Flying

Flight Test Continues – Hobbs 31.9 hrs

December 14, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday Dec 14, 2014

I completed 4.7 more hours of flight test this weekend putting my total at 31.9 hours. Only 8.1 more to complete and then I can take passengers. The engine definitely runs with less vibration since I dynamically balanced the propeller. And my landings continue to improve as I am learning to slow the airplane down before and in the pattern better.

Categories: Flying

Balancing the Prop – Hobbs 27.2

December 7, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday Dec 7, 2014

I’ve have noticed a little bit of vibration from the engine during the test flight phase so I decided to have the prop balance checked. Since my prop is composite with a wood core, I have a heavy steel crush plate, and I did some composite work on my spinner gap closeouts that I didn’t really try to balance, it makes sense that the overall balance could be off.

I called a guy who balances props professionally but I never heard back from him, so a couple of weeks ago I dropped in to visit Corona Engines to inquire about balancing services. The owner, Ben told me they no longer do prop balancing but they have a balance measuring instrument he would loan to me if I was interested. That caught me off guard but I thought why not give it a try. Yesterday I picked up the balancing instrument and today I put it to use. It uses an accelerometer and an optical sensor for the prop angle. Here you can see the yellow optical sensor and black accelerometer mounted on the crankcase.



In this view you can see the piece of reflective tape I placed on one of the prop blades to mark the zero degree angle.



The sensors connect to this instrument which only has two buttons, one for On/Off and one for averaging readings for multiple revolutions.



I connected everything per the instructions then ran the engine up to 1900 rpm while standing on the brakes. I wanted to go higher but the airplane really wants to move out, even at that rpm. The initial reading was .44 inches per second (IPS) which is significant. No wonder I could feel the engine vibrations. After a number of iterations placing various bolts on the ring gear as balance weights I got the reading down to .085 which is not bad according to what I have read. Anything under 0.1 is considered good. A professional could surely get it better, but I am happy with this considering I did it myself.  In this photo you can see the three bolts/nuts I put on the ring gear. Two are 1/4 inch and the third is an AN3.



This plot shows the results. The lower curve is the initial unbalance at 1500, 1800, and 1900 rpm. The upper curve is the final unbalance at the same rpms. It seemed to feel smoother running up on the ground. I am anxious to see how it feels when I fly the airplane the next time. It was nice of Ben to loan the instrument to me and it was an interesting experience doing this job myself.


Categories: Flying

Hobbs 24.5 – Flying and Maintenance

November 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Sunday Nov 30, 2014

I had the chance to fly several times over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and the Hobbs is inching up toward the magic 40 hr mark. Today was mainly a maintenance day since I needed to pull the cowl for an inspection. It has been about 12 hours since the last time. Just as well since it was cloudy today and it even rained a couple of times in Corona.

While I had the lower cowl off I adjusted the idle mixture 1/2 turn richer. I did this after reviewing my engine data over several flights which showed a very low fuel flow at idle on the ground and in the air during simulated engine out tests. According to Don at Air Flow Performance the idle fuel flow should be about 1.2 gph at idle. I was seeing as low as 0.5 gph.

While I had the lower cowl off I drilled out the three rivets that hold the air deflector in front of cylinder #1. This  cylinder typically has run about 20 degrees hotter than the average of the other three on climb out and 12-15 degrees hotter during cruise. I am taking it off to see how much effect it has. This photo shows the #1 cylinder after the air deflector was removed.



After inspecting the engine visually and finding no leaks or loose hardware I reinstalled the cowling and took the airplane out for a couple of trips around the pattern. After the mixture adjustment I am now seeing about 1 gph fuel flow during idle. That is close to my target. I’ll fly with that a couple of hours and see how it runs. I am hoping it improves the smoothness of the engine at idle when it is hot. I need to wring it out to find out.

The temperature of the #1 cylinder dropped significantly after removing the air deflector. The temperature of #1 was about 10-12 degrees below the average of the other three during climb out. That’s a reduction of about 30 degree F. More than I expected. So it tells me I need to trim about 2/3 of the exposed area of the stock air deflector and reinstall it. That should make all cylinder temperatures match within about 10 degrees F which would be great.

Categories: Flying