Van's RV-9A in Aurora

The Big Picture

The Big Picture
Flying! 8/28/2011

Sunday, June 2, 2013

More when I'm in the mood. 20 years at AMD Katrin T38s

Almost 7 months since the last post. I had to stop flying for 3 months. Was out flying to the west before the original post, there was a squadron of T38's on frequency with Austin Approach, which I often monitor when puttering about. I think I was pointed out as traffic and they commented, but I can't remember any more details.

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.

New Orleans

Flew to Hammond, LA (KHDC) to visit Katrin at her glassblowing shack.

We went into New Orleans for the evening.

The girls at the Redfish Grill.

Bourbon Street
Weather for the trip was a bit marginal at both ends, but we were able to get up to altitude to smooth air for a good portion of the flight in both directions.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Went out to Horseshoe bay.  Very pleasant day, but we pretty much ruled out airpark lots.  The lots over there have no redeeming qualities.   Oh, and don't land off airport.  The land is HARSH.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Took Lynne flying for the first time since last August.  The weather seemed perfect, but there was a west wind at altitude, this makes for nearly direct crosswinds at most fields in Central Texas.   The crosswinds aren't too much of a factor in the RV-9, but the lack of a headwind, and possibly even a tailwind are.  More on that later.

It was a little bumpy until we got above 4200.  So we buzzed over to Marble Falls and then to a private strip  south on Hwy 281.   I used this as a reference for some commercial maneuver practice.  Did steep turns, lazy 8's, chandelles, and then spiral decent to a landing.  The west wind meant I had to put in bank angle corrections on the spiral to stay over the airport.   I came into the key point pretty close and I continued with a power off landing, going around at about 50ft.
Lynne didn't seem to mind all this turning and engine off flying.  Next time we'll try some slow flight and perhaps some simple stalls. 

From there we went back to Horseshoe Bay and circled the airport.  Lynne took a few pictures.   There are many lots still available out there, and she seems almost anxious to go check them out.  In fact, we're about to go drive out there today!

Our future home?

From there we flew up 281 and stopped at Burnet.  We got out and walked over to the museum to have a quick look.  Their planes were all out, but we spent some time in the museum just looking around and chatting with one of the curators.

From there it was back to Lakeway, where the west wind dished out a challenge.  I tend to be a bit fast and that means FLOAT.  I was lined up nicely on short final for 16 when the west wind showed it's north component which in a matter of seconds kicked me past the glide slope.  Suddenly I'm over midfield, too fast, and at 100 ft.  Time for a go around.  I came back around and tried 34, which worked better, but someone started taxiing out for 16.  I radioed short final and they pulled out onto a taxiway.  No problem. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Director was teasing me about not posting much, so here's a place holder for a few items that happened this spring and winter.  Let's see, instrument currency approaches, 250 hours on
Cav, oil change,  I have over 500 hrs,
flew the Llano race course, visited the Port Aransas flyin, night currency at T82. 
I have some pictures to upload that I'll add and annotate.

Flying has been mostly miserable all year so far.  The air seems more stirred up than usual and it's usually been uncomfortably bumpy, keeping my flights short.  Heck, I've only filled in two and a half  logbook pages since the Jan 27 post!

Final at KRAS.

View down the road from the airpark.  The beach is at the end of this road.

And here's the beach.

Gotta love the RV.  Lakeway, Llano, San Saba, Brownwood, Mason, Llano, a stroll on the beach, then back to Lakeway in time for an afternoon party.  4.5  hours, 650 miles, $160 in fuel.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Llano race foreflight string

30.778N/98.6619W 30.519N/98.3589W 30.7513N/98.4185W 31.2389N/98.7215W 31.1728N/99.3247W 30.7274N/99.1844W 30.7533N/98.6763W 30.7816N/98.6535W

Flew the course on Saturday 4/20.  It was a bit bumpy at 3500, did a climb after the San Saba turn to 4500.    Time was 1:03:28 (about 149 kts). This put me just ahead of the two 182's that actually flew the race the next weekend.  And I would have been 1st place in the RV Red class!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

Gonna need a new mailbox

Local punks were busy with a sledge hammer, mine was one of about 15.    This happened the night of March 11, 2013.  I intend to press charges and sue for damages if the little shits are caught.

Here's the crew putting up a new box.


600 dollars later.

Wayne got his airplane back from the paint shop!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Looks like some people still read my blog.  Sorry for the lack of new stuff.  Hopefully you're finding the building posts useful.

A few things to post about recently, bear with me while I add content over the next couple of days.
Here's the outline, I'll add pictures and more details.

Filed an instrument flight plan today to fly some approached in actual conditions.  But as soon as I left the ground, the plane was getting tossed around way too much. And the clouds looked to have to much energy up close.  So I chickened out just before going into IMC, established contact with approach, cancelled IFR, and came back to land.  Most unsatisfying.

Yesterday went to get the chapter 187 scales in Georgetown, me and the local 787 captain. Ended up with pictures of a Pilatus P-2.   Wait till you see this thing! There are only two in the country.  I was talking with Mike Collier today and he says, "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to go fly that thing!".

That's an inverted V-12!

A few days ago I flew safety pilot for one our our local guys working on his instrument rating. He knocked out 8 approaches, mostly the ILS 13 at KHYI. He did a great job and should have no trouble with his checkride. Another 2 hours of Cherokee Archer time, although I didn't count any PIC time.

I can't believe I haven't posted anything about my shiny new tailwheel endorsement.  I got 5 hours and 30 landings in a Taylorcraft BC12D.    I think I can deal with preventing a ground loop well enough, it's kind of obvious when you need to add rudder to keep the plane straight.  The hard part for me is keeping the correct attitude for the 3 point landings, and the reverse control inputs (compared to landing the delicate nosewheel RV-9A) required for wheel landings.   One bonus is the old plane really taught me about adverse yaw and how to use the rudder in turns, something the RV doesn't require.
Now to figure out how to stay tailwheel current.

Cav and the Taylorcraft at KTPL.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This past weekend Wayne and I flew up to Ennis to drop off Wayne's RV-7A for painting.  It was another great flight, about an hour up.  On the way back I put the hood on and flew the GPS 15 approach to Lago Vista, and the GPS 16 to Lakeway.  2 approaches logged!

Francis Poplawski and Wayne Wagner

A quick entry as a placeholder for some past events.  No big trips over the holiday break.  I did get to fly every day of the Thanksgiving break, but poor weather and a low grade crud kept me from flying every day of the Christmas break.  Plus a water heater needed replacing at the house, to the tune of $1300, $400 for new breaks on the Accord, and the other holiday expenses meant that I had to cut back on spending somewhere.  So I saved a little by keeping Cav on the ground most of the time over the break.  But I did get in a few short trips, one to Monahans in an attempt to visit Sand Hills State Park.  But I got there too late, and the courtesy car was gone, so I just walked into town and ate at the DQ, then flew back home.  4 hours, nice smooth flight. 

The Sand Hills SP from the air.

The ramp at Monahan's was kind of pleasant.

Cav is flying great.  I've been practicing instrument approaches, sometimes with the autopilot following the 430W, but I try to hand fly most of them.  I also get in a couple of approaches on the Microsoft flight simulator every other week or so.

I should have posted at the time, but I did an Instrument Proficiency Check with George Farris back in November.  That makes me legal to fly with an instrument flight plan.  Now I have to be disciplined about staying current.