Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wanted to spend some time working on the plane this weekend, no plans for a long trip, and we've had lousy flying weather (going on 7 months of lousy flying weather!).  Tried to refuel on Friday, got out the to pumps, shut down the engine and it started raining.  Closed the canopy and taxied back to the hangar in the pouring rain.  Didn't get to refuel, but at least the bugs were easy to clean off.

Saturday went back to the airpark to try it again.  Managed to get the plane refueled and then took her up for a trip around the pattern.  The ceiling has been marginal all weekend, but it didn't prevent being legal in the pattern.  But the wind is 15G25 150V200, and I caught a little gust just above ground affect that yawed me about 30 degrees.  Had get on the rudder quick.  But I got it on the ground in one piece.
 At the hangar, I decided to take the front main wheel fairings off to check the tire pressure.  They were both around 30psi, looked a bit low, but still perfectly flyable.  I realized that after 100 hours and 110 landings it was time to rotate the tires again. Still plenty of tread, but now was the time to get it done.  So on Saturday I took the fairings off and get everything prepped.

Sunday went back out to the hangar after the bike ride, and started in on the tires.  Cut the safety wire and removed the brake fixed pad (required to remove the wheel), jacked up the main using my hose clamp method, and slid the wheel off.  I used Wayne's motorcycle jack as a safety underneath the main axle.  On the bench,  I deflated the tire, popped the beads (by standing on them), removed the 3 bolts holding the wheels together, then removed the wheels.  Took the tube out of the tire, turned the tire around, then stuffed the tube back in.  Used my bicycle pump to inflate the tube a bit to get any creases out.  Assembly is the reverse.  The whole process on the bench only takes about 15 minutes, so the plane is only on the jack about 20 minutes per side.  Got the brake pads installed safety wired, then reinstalled the fairing.  Done, about 2 hours of work, ready to fly again.  We'll see how the tires fare.  I didn't rotate them until much later last year, and they still seemed to have a lot of tread when I replaced them at annual.
I did not repack the bearings, the plane has only seen water once since the annual when they were repacked.

The brake pads looked like new, as opposed to last year.  But I've been avoiding hard braking during landing, preferring to make the next turn out instead of striving for 500 foot landings.  It seems to pay off, I think the brakes could last another year based on how they looked.

On Friday I got to the hangar.  Wayne had moved Cav to the front spot.  He had been leaving the hangar door open during the week, and we discovered this:

A pair of busy wrens.

The wrens apparently can only get in when the door is open.  I figured out how they could get in with it open, but they haven't figured it out yet.  So I open up the door, find this and take a picture.  I had just removed the cown for a better look (all nest building confined to the front of the cowl) and the two wrens flit into the hangar and head for Wayne's airplane, since it was now in the back spot.  They had a start on building a nest.   So we put in cowl plugs and shoo off the determined birds.  I think we managed to convince them this was not the best place.  In the two years I've been in this hangar, this is the first bird trouble we've had.