Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

.4 hrs
Washed the aileron parts to get ready for priming.

Got in 1.5 on Sunday after Dad left. Dropped him and Patty at the airport and then went flying! It was a bit windy, with about 5 kt crosswind component. Got in two lousy landings.
Was a bit burned out from working almost non-stop the previous three days, so didn't get much done on the kit Sunday. Finished countersinking the aileron reinforcement plates.
Then worked on the right fuel tank leak a little. Mixed up some proseal and thinned with laquer thinner. Hooked up the shop vac to the tank, with a vacuum regulator - a folded chunk of cardboard taped in front of the shop vac. This allowed a vacuum in the tank, without the full force of the shop vac being applied. Applied the proseal and let it set for a while. But testing
revealed that the leak had just moved over a bit, since the proseal was now blocking it without actually stopping the leak. Gonna have to drill out some rivets. Dang.

Monday I got to do some more flying. This time in an RV! Keith Uhls had put out a message that came through the EAA mailing list that he had a empty seat in his RV7 for a flight to Sun and Fun. I thought about it for a bit, checked the forecasts, and decided to go. Called up Keith and claimed the seat.

SnF 2009 Photo album

The weather mostly behaved, but the cold front that blew through Austin Sunday morning was still lingering over nothern Florida by Monday morning. It was clear that it was not going to be past Lakeland by the evening on Monday, Keith's intended arrival time. So a planned wheels up at 8AM from Lakeway turned into departure from Lockhart, where the plane is hangared, at about 12:30. The inital plan was to get to Brookhaven, Mississippi (1R7) for cheap fuel, and then figure out the next step.

Turns out Keith is a pilot for Southwest, and also a contractor for Grand Rapids Technologies. He has 3 GRT Horizon HX EFIS screens, a Garmin 430W, and a Tru Trak autopilot. What a great machine, the RV7. Most of the flight was a factory lesson on using the HX, mixed with how to operate the plane, the autopilot, professional flight planning and execution, etc. I paid for fuel, and it was worth every penny!

We refueled at 1R7 and decided that the weather in northern Florida was OK. But Lakeland was closing to traffic at 7, and we would not get there in time. So Keith found cheap fuel at Perry, Fl (40J). We flew there. Keith filed IFR for all of the legs, but we were never in clouds. We did fly over some clouds on these legs. I did some of the radio work, and did some of the simple autopilot and EFIS inputs, and flew about 2 tenths by hand after departing Mississippi. So I earned the 6.5 hours that I was able to log, even if none of it was PIC. On the ground in Perry, we had a long taxi back to the FBO. Just for the excitement of it, Keith gave me the controls, and I got my first tenth of tailwheel time!

We were at the field at 6:30 the next morning,Tuesday, before dawn. The field had a layer of fog over most of it, piled up to one end by the very slight breeze. Wind was officially calm. We taxied to the side of the field that looked to have the shallowest fog. As luck would have it, the runway we chose was entirely clear of fog, with banks on either side. The sun rose as we lifted off, appearing out of the fog. That was COOL!

From there we flew down the coast (50 kt crosswind!), under the Tampa Class Bravo, and got handed off to Lakeland Approach. I then got a live lesson in how to fly into a busy airshow airport. As we got lined up on the initial approach over the lakes, we ended up side by side with another plane. The Lakeland controllers scolded the two of us at first, but Keith initiated a turn, starting a 360, but it ended up as an S. This earned him a big Attaboy from the controllers. Then it was into the right pattern for 27R (actually, it was a taxiway), landing long on the green dot, and then a taxi to the close in homebuilt parking. What a trip.

I said goodbye to Keith since he had booth duty, and I got to wander around the show. Not much to say, but I stocked up on an odd assortment of tools, including a micrometer, a vixen file, a special bucking bar from Avery, and some cool rotary tools for the die grinder. I'm still a bit far out for buying avionics, but there were a few items that were tempting, like a Garmin audio panel, transponders, and SL40 radios. But there will be other shows to go to over the next two years.

The trip home on Wednesday was uneventful. Flew back via Southwest Airlines. Got home just in time to go swimming