Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Prop balance

Flew up to Dallas area today, the RV mecca of 52F, to have Walt Aronow balance the prop. The flight up was uneventful, wheels up at 0930 after fueling up, 4500 and 5500 Gooch Springs, Copeland, then Ft. Worth Alliance cleared me to transit their airspace direct to Northwest Regional. Walt's shop was easy to find, thanks to the map on his web page.

We took off the cowling and hooked up transducers to measure movement as the prop is moving. I ran it up to a static RPM of about 2100, manifold pressure of 28.5, and he took one reading. .3 inches/sec, which is out of spec. He added AN3 bolt and nyloc to the flywheel and we ran it up again. Pretty close. He added a final washer to fine tune, and ran it up one more time. He had me run a bit longer, to do the spectrum analysis. End result was .02, in the range that's pretty darned good, .03 is usually good enough. He was also happy with the spectrum, no big harmonic spikes.

After unhooking the balancing equipment, he hooked up a magneto timing box and we had a quick look at ignition timing. It was again, pretty darned close, such that changing it would probably make it worse. So there's another task done for the annual inspection.

We cleaned up and I reinstalled the cowling while he got the paperwork done. About the time I handed him the check, folks started arriving for the next appointment. Walt had a busy day.

He gave hints on how to leave the area, stay below 1500, contact 118.1, and proceed direct below the Class B shelf. Departure actually cleared on course me through Class Bravo if needed, but I kept it below the shelves all the way out.

Fort Worth

About the time I got to the edge of DFW airspace, it became clear that the direct route would not work. There was dark nasty clouds, and heavy rain. I started veering east, eventually going direct to Waco. It appeared to be clear to the Southwest, but dark, towering clouds and heavy rain kept forming at my 3 o'clock position just as fast as I flew south. Convective activity was also flaring to the east.

I finally rounded the corner south of Temple, and skirted west of Georgetown, making a straight into Lakeway, now the only place it wasn't raining or about to. I got through in the nick of time, although it wasn't raining at Lakeway 2 hours later!

These radar captures are from about an hour after the flight.  It was clear  from KAFW, KACT, KTPL, KGTU, 3R9, if a bit bumpy.

Visit from the Past!

So there I am in the hangar, removing the empennage fairing so I can inspect the elevator controls and the VS/HS attach points, when this motorcycle rides down the taxiway in back.   At first I think it's one of the regulars, but it's clear it isn't.  The motorcycle turns around, he looks at me, and nods yes.  He pulls into the driveway, and says, "I figured I have to visit every 20 years or so."

I recognized the voice, and said something like "OMG!".  He opens the helmet, and there was Sam C. Lee III, my best friend from high school!  We rode and maintained motorcycles as teenagers, and that was a big part of the foundation that allowed me to plunge into building an airplane with zero self doubt.
Sam's family was kind enough to give me a home when I returned alone from Germany to go to UT Austin.
I'd been fretting because I couldn't seem to find him, but it turns out he lives near Lampassas and works in Killeen, not where I was looking.

Sam helped me do the RV-9 HS attach "SB" (adding washers under the bolt heads), we finished up the inspection, put the fairing back on, and went to lunch.  The weather was building up, with a nasty cloud to the north, so we opted not to fly.  But that gives me great excuse to fly up to Lampassas and checkout the courtesy car!

For July 5, 2012
Oil change.  100W+.  Only one small speck of metal in the filter, finger screen was clean.  Installed new spark plugs.