Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cav has been grounded for a couple of weeks while I do the annual condition inspection. Nearly done with all the items on the list.

One task I've been putting off is shimming the lower engine mounts to raise the front of the engine. This is needed because the mounts have sagged over time so the the prop is about 1/4" low. That messes up alignment of the cowling which was custom fitted before the engine was run. Took an hour or two over three days, but I finally got the hard part of this task done tonight. The extra spacers are in, the bolts are reinstalled, and cotter pins in place. Only an hour of two of work to finish the small stuff that was moved out of the way to make access easier.

I'm also going to work on the right wing tip to hopefully address the heavy left wing issue. After going through Van's hints for fixing a heavy wing, my conclusion is that the right wing tip trailing edge is out of alignment, too low. This imparts a left rolling moment.   By splitting the right wing tip, removing the 916 rib, I should be able to move the trailing edge to the proper position, match drill a new 916 rib, and then epoxy the split trailing edge back together.  Cross your fingers!

During the annual inspection Van's published a Service Bulletin to have all flying RV's verify the installation of two extra wing attach bolts. Apparently these are commonly forgotten. I admit worrying I would forget them during the build, but the following two photo's provide proof that I didn't, and proof of compliance with the SB.

Also, in the past couple of months, there have been two posts about cracked VS forward attach plates on RV-9's. Included in these posts was a discussion about how exactly the attach plate is supposed to be installed, in front of, or behind the VS forward spar. These photo's document the current state of Cav's forward VS attach, which is in very good health.

I did mount the VS spar behind the attach plates, but the plans allow either side, and this was the best arrangement for this particular airplane.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oshkosh 2012 - part 3

Wednesday we took a break from airplanes and drove up to Door County, which is on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan with Green Bay on one side.  It was very nice, we had a pleasant lunch and checked out a lighthouse at a state park.  We had dinner at at a rennovated paper mill in Appleton, there is a lot of history in these old buildings.

The flight home started wheels up at 9:30 leaving Appleton.  There was supposed to be low overcast, but it turned out to be clear below 12 thousand until southern Wisconsin.  The departure from KATW was again uneventful, flying over Ripon at 4500, and I could easily pick out planes on the FISK conga line.
We turned south at Ripon, direct Jacksonville IL, our first stop.    A front was in our path and the clouds started thickening below us.  Then Chicago Center finally dropped us saying we had to file IFR to go any further.  The deck ahead was getting solid, and there appeared to be a wall of clouds at our altitude.  I squawked VFR, and dove through a big clearing to get underneath.  We flew the rest of the way in Class G airspace, which gave us a great view of the farms of northern Illinois.  Not the best of options, but we had plenty of reasonable emergency landing spots, and airports weren't too far apart.  I would always radio my intentions as I crossed over various fields at pattern altitude.

We had to dodge a bit of light rain which showed up on Foreflight thanks to the new Apereo ADS-B receiver I picked up at the show. But we finally made it through the front just as we got to KIJX.  After a quick stop at Jacksonville to refuel, we were off again, this time on the warm side of the front.  We had to stay at 3500 due to the ceiling, but at least we weren't scud running anymore.  Instead, just as we got to Southern Missouri, where these is no ADS-B coverage yet,  I could see rain ahead in our path.  I deviated around to the left, as close as I could because I was trying to stay out of a MOA.  Just then I saw a lightening bolt come out of the cloud all the way to the ground.    We were about 20 miles out, and I changed course more to give it a wider berth.  What had turned from clear air, to light rain, was now quickly maturing to a thunderstorm.  I finally got Memphis approach on the radio - St Louis had dropped me about 15 minutes earlier with no word about impending weather - and they were hopping.  They had storms popping up everywhere all of a sudden, and a bunch of planes about to have big problems.

As we started turning the corner with the first storm off the right wing another became evident off the left wing.  I had to deviate a little more to the right.  During this time Center didn't have me on radar, so I had to supply position reports.  Somehow we made it through that line without too much trouble, but it apparently turned into a pretty significant event, I don't think any more planes made it through.
We landed in Hot Springs, KHOT, after another hour of hot, BUMPY, misearable flying.  I was actually getting a bit naseous and was very glad to be on the ground.

Finally, after refueling, a quart of oil, and a short break, we launched again.  Time was about 3PM.  Fortunately the overcast was now scattered at 7000, and  we climbed to 8500 and enjoyed smooth reasonably cool air for the rest of the ride back to Lakeway.  The only bummer is that the autopilot had been getting progressively worse at holding altitude, and I finally turned it off and hand flew most of the final leg.  In fact I hand flew most of the trip from Appleton due the dodgy nature of the weather.

Oshkosh 2012

The rental car was a brand new Toyota Prius, suppled by Kolosso Toyota.  This was super convenient, we picked up the car right at the FBO.   Angie Kolosso herself gave us a quick lesson in how to use the car (you don't start a Prius, you turn it on!).  Then we checked into our room and headed to Whitman field to buy passes and stroll around a bit.

Monday was ridiculously hot.
I attended a few workshops, one on TIG welding, one on gas welding, and one on fiberglass taught by Sam James.  I didn't learn too much in the fiberglass presentation, except that Sam makes it look really easy and he tells really good jokes as he goes. 

Clint and Larry Vetterman, and Mark Goldberg.  Cav has a Vetterman exhaust system, Mark lives at 3R9.

Tuesday I went out to the plane to check the air in the tires.  I had checked on Monday (inspecting for problems from the hard landing), and they looked a bit low.  In reality they were down a little, but perfectly flyable.  But I aired them up and then I was happy that the plane was just right.
Fortunately Tuesday was a reasonably nice day, and I didn't sweat to death taking both wheel pants off to air up the mains.

What's Oshkosh without a huge airplane?

Like this C17 Globemaster that you could live on!

A big attraction of the show this year was the 40th anniversary of Van's Aircraft.
Here are a few pics of the Van's model parade. 

The RV-1, flown by Van himself!

I have to say that even Lynne was impressed with Oshkosh. She'd been to lots of airshows as an AirForce brat, but she was unprepared for the scale and variety of this event. I might even be able to coax her back for another visit!

The Steve Miller band Monday evening concert.

This one's for you Jim!

Oshkosh 2012

On Saturday, July 21, we loaded Cav to max gross weight and took off bound for Wisconsin.  We would stay in Appleton, I couldn't find a room close to KOSH.

Leaving Texas behind!

For the trip up we needed to stop for the night somewhere since our room in Appleton wasn't available until Sunday.  I chose Davenport, Iowa, a short 1.5 hours from Appleton.  I planned for 3r9 KPRX, PGO, KFWB, KDVN, but we changed plans a little and landed first in Fort Smith AR for fuel and and a short break.  I made a tactical mistake then, and didn't fill the tanks completely, so we also made a short stop in Hannibal MO before finally arriving at Davenport.  Now a days, whenever you change your destination, ATC will ask why you are changing plans.  This is part of the new "Homeland Security" paranoia.   My default answer will always be "bathroom break".   In truth, we had a bit more headwind than I had anticipated, and I just chose to land a little sooner than planned because I get nervous with only an hour and a half of fuel left!  Besides, we had plenty of time and it's kind of fun to make spur of the moment decisions.  Our actual route was 3r9 kprx pgo kfsm khae keok kdvn.

Table Rock Lake, near Branson MO

Hannibal, Missouri - Home of Sam Clemens

We got a ride to the Best Western in Davenport and had a relaxing evening.

I didn't know quite what to expect going into Appleton on Sunday morning, but my planning worked out perfect.  First, I followed the NOTAM procedures and used Lake Butte  Des Morts as my "initial approach fix".  The only problem with this is we had to fly directly over Ripon, just where all of the KOSH traffic was gathering before flying the FISK arrival into the field.  My plan was to be over Ripon at 5500 feet.  The weather allowed this and the rest of the arival went flawlessly, with no traffic conflicts at all.  ATW wasn't too busy, it was just like flying into any other Class D towered airport.  After an ugly bounced landing on 22, we taxied to the south grass parking area, tied down and we took a shuttle to the FBO to pick up our rental car.

This photo taken for Patti's Birthday!