Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Snuck in .8 this morning, ran test card 12a, which puts 80 lbs of weight in the right seat and then checks stalls, climbs, descents, stability, turns, etc.. It was a perfect morning, glass smooth, relatively cool, so it was almost cheating. The 1260 fpm 90 knot climb rate was better than the rate with no weight, which probably means I'm just getting better at flying the plane. The 80 knot idle power descent rate was around 800 fpm, right at what earlier tests showed with no extra weight.

Still fighting a fouled plug on #2 cylinder, will try trading out plugs one more time. I will change the oil tomorrow, 24 hours is enough for the breakin oil.

Oil consumption was running about 1 quart in about 6 hours. It seems like it jumped up a little recently.

I took the upper cowl off earlier this week and we found a small oil leak from the sender manifold. There are two oil pressure guages and 7 different connections that could leak. Tightened them up and we'll see how they did when I take the cowl off again tomorrow.

Let's see, what have I missed posting in the last 3 weeks. Landing and refueling in Lampassas. Touch n goes at Burnett. Full stop landing at Burnett and visiting the FBO just cause I can. Lunch and a plane visit with the gang from work. Lunch at the airport diner in Fredricksburg. Miserably hot and bumpy conditions on the way home at 5500 ft.

Cav with the Hangar Hotel in the background.

I have stall speeds. Vs, stall speed with no flaps is 51 knots. Vso, stall speed with full flaps is 42 knots. Not much warning between buffet and stall. Buffeting seemed to happen sooner with more weight. Vx is about 75, Vy is around 80, at least with the data I have now, which was taken with only the nose gear leg fairing. Wide open throttle speed is 132 knots, or a true airspeed of 144 knots. Climb rates of about 1300 fpm with a light load. The airframe passes the stability tests.
This data is sufficient to sign the airframe logbook at the end of the 40 hour period, but I still need to take data with wheel fairings in place.

Speaking of which, I've been inching closer on the fairings, and I may try to drill the main gear intersection fairings this weekend or next week. Once that's done, I can glass the lower intersection fairings to the wheel fairings, and then finally fly with my pants on! Wheel pants, that is.

I've also been working on finishing the glare shield cover and edge trim. Cut a sheet of .016 to fit under the canopy, and bought new glare shield material from Cleaveland. The first attempt at glueing didn't work too well, but I hope to fix this up this week as well.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Apologies to my readers, I've been really bad about posting. It's late, and I'm about done for the night, but here's a few pictures.

23.2 hours on the Hobbs. 16.8 to go!

The Spicewood fire.

The gang from work!

Monday, September 5, 2011

A busy long weekend. Got in 4 flights, two today. I can fly twice in one day!
I've started venturing away from Lakeway, going all the way up to Lampassas, then down to Fredricksburg. Haven't landed at another airport yet, but that will happen soon.

On Sunday morning I started on flight test card 5, doing 2 minute climbs at various airspeeds. I did this out south and east of Horseshoe Bay, trying to stay somewhere close to a emergency landing site. Also did some low power descents, but at 1300 the engine still produces quite a bit of thrust. Checked the VOR nav reciever enough to verify it receives a station.

By late Sunday, fires had developed in the area. There was no trace of them Sunday morning. But by Monday there were some serious fires.

Here's the satellite photo from Monday evening. All the patches over Texas are fires (except a few clouds over the valley).

This morning on the LZZ T82 triangle I did a thorough checkout of the NAV receiver. It seems to work great. Still a couple of items to check, but the 430W VOR receiver and Archer antenna seem to be a usable combination. I was even able to tune into the HIWAS on the LLO VOR audio, so the audio hookup to the audio panel is working as designed. So far the radios are all working as expected, but there are a few finesse points to using them correctly.
Also turned on the autopilot for the first time. It did the basic heading and altitude hold with no bad habits. Next I need to check VS and set altitude modes, then GPS steering.
A freak early "cold" front passed through yesterday, so the winds today were strong and gusty from the north. I managed a passable landing this morning despite the conditions.

Then this evening winds had died down so went up for another short flight. Got in some slow flight and 45 degree turns, out east of Burnett. There are nice emergency fields up there, including lots of private strips, although I could only find a few of them from the air. The fire south of Spicewood was going strong, but another fire, maybe up in the Fort Hood area was fouling the air over Lakeay. A TFR for the Spicewood fire was in effect. It did not show up on the web page when I checked before leaving. Fortunately I steered well away, so I managed to just skirt the edge of the TFR coming back into Lakeway. I did not bust that TFR. Whew!

10 hours on the Hobbs now.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Got a flight in this morning, #4, 2.0 hrs. My primary purpose was to burn holes in the sky to break in the engine. So I ran at 2600 up to full throttle between Lago Vista and Horseshoe Bay, I started at 4500 on the first west bound leg, then climbed to 5500 east bound, then up ot 6500. OATs were a nice 66 degrees, and it was almost comfortable in the cabin. There were sparse clouds to the west at about 4900, but I was soon above them.
The stuttering with leaning is gone, I guess it was the dropped bottom #4 plug that I replaced. Let that be a lesson.

CHTs popped up to 435 on 3 and 4 during the initial climb, but they all came down and were mostly green the whole time. EGTs can peak at about 1500, but with power at about 75% they run at 1350 or so. Fuel flow is a bit higher than I want, at 75% it wants to be at 9 gph.

Oil temp never got above 200 today. It was a bit cooler, the nasty heat we had in August seems to have left. I'm still wary, it could be back as soon as the storm in Louisiana is gone.

Durning the week I adjusted the left flap and right aileron to improve the heavy wing problem. It seems to be a non-issue, although the aileron trim is still not usable for leveling the wings.
I started, departed, and left the fuel selector on the left tank to see how much I had to burn to get neutral roll trim. The answer was about 7 gallons. So at that point I had 12 in the right, and 5 in the left. So I switched tanks.
The only odd problem I had today, is that after switching tanks and running a while,
the left tank was still going down, while the right was pegged at 12 gallons. At the time I was wondering what the heck. I discovered this on the way out to Horseshoe Bay. It occurred to me that I was going away from Lakeway with only one working tank, and only 4 gallons in that tank. I realized that was a problem so I turned around. In retrospect, I think it was just the left tank fuel level pickup settling out a bit. There can't be a real problem with the fuel selector. The engine was running fine, and the right tank finally did start registering lower levels.

The test flight cards had me do some slow flight, so I did that on the last lap back into Lakeway. I got it down to 70, 60, and finally 50 while maintaing altitude and making shallow turns. The fuel flow drops to about 3 gph, and the engine temps all go yellow because they're too low!
The plane flies great at 100 knots, and sips fuel. I was seen 135 knots indicated today at 2600, 150 knot ground speeds.

Flying at 9AM means it has been nearly glass smooth most of the time.