Monday, June 8, 2015

A few items off of the list

This past week I sat down and did something I shouldn't have...I calculated how much money I have spent on fuel since my first flight....108 hours ago.....

Ok, so now that I am back from my Emergency Room visit (just kidding) I have decided to spend a little more time working on the airplane and a little less time flying.  Not much less but a little.  So in order to keep up with things I thought I would do a little show and tell about what has changed recently and a couple of items that are still on the "list".

It seems I am never happy with the layout of my instrument panel.  So hopefully this latest revision will be the last major change.  I moved the GRT Mini-X over to the left side of the panel.  I found that doing partial panel flight during my IFR training was a bit challenging with the backup instrument so far away from my normal line of site.  Now not only is it in a better location but I also have room to put a "glove box" in on the right side of the panel.  Thats one item on the list.

Not the best picture.  One of these days I am going to figure out how to take a good picture of the panel but at least you can see where the Mini is now and also the hole where it used to be.  As part of this project I had to re-cut the left side instrument panel to move the G3X Touch screen over to the right.  This also necessitated the repositioning of the ELT indicator and the CO Monitor to the right side panel.
I addition I have been working on a bunch of smaller projects.  For example I installed a spring on my canopy latch that makes closing much easier.  Not a big thing but very handy.

Speaking of canopies, I also installed a thumb screw that I can use to lock the canopy partially open for taxiing.  I will get a picture of that up here soon but it's really a simple change.

I also found that my Kroger sun shade was rubbing up against the center slide and occasionally causing the canopy to slide harder than it should.  I fixed that issue with a new low height screw.  No more binding.

And today I am working on the aux fuel pump cover.  I will get some pictures of that up as soon as it is fitted.

Oh, one more task that I finished yesterday was the tie-wrapping of the Aileron pushrod boots under the seat pans.  I told myself I was going to wait on this one because I didn't want to pull the seat pans but I finally gave in and pulled them to not only install the tie-wraps but to inspect the control linkages.  Everything looks good down there so I did a quick clean up with the vacuum, installed the tie-wraps and then buttoned it all back up.

Finally on my list for this weeks post is the real fun stuff.  I got to take a good friend up for a ride in the airplane this past friday.  Since Fridays are my IFR training days we decided to meet up a couple of hours before the lesson was scheduled.  This was Kerry's first ride in the airplane and I am pretty sure she liked it!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Las Vegas

Wow, I just realized its the first of June and I haven't posted in a while.  (Sorry Harry!)  So lets start with a recent trip Amy and I made.  Last week Amy and I took our first long cross country trip in the airplane.  We flew from Pierce County Airport to Reno-Stead (where the Reno air races are held) and then on down to Henderson Airport on the south end of the strip in Las Vegas.  The trip was a challenging one from the weather perspective.  We planned to leave by 5am on Friday morning to beat the fog but when we arrived there was already a low layer of clouds/fog.  It wasn't until about noon before we got off the ground with enough blue sky to head south.  The clouds and rain plagued us the whole way down and we had to deviate twice around thunderstorms.  But after about 5 hours of flying we landed safely in a pretty strong headwind.  The FBO at Henderson was awesome, met us at parking, tied the plane down, gave us each a bottle of water and the keys to our rental car.

We didn't do a lot at Vegas but we did get to see a new show LaReve which was pretty awesome. There are a few pictures of the set below.  I will say that it was much more pleasant in Vegas this time with far fewer smokers and the hotel we stayed at was entirely smoke free!

The return trip was with a headwind so it took us a bit longer and we again had to deal with the weather.  The worst of the trip was getting into the Seattle area and we ended up deviating west and coming up through the Portland area.  We got home safely and we had a good trip.

We learned a few things about travel that I will have to address.  First, its cold at altitude!  When we were at 14,500' the outside air temp was 22 degrees and the sidewalls of the airplane were cold!  Some sort of interior insulation is going to be required so I guess its time to order the cockpit interior pieces.

Second, the airplane needs more storage.  No place to put small items such as cell phones, snacks, sunglasses, etc.  I think I am going to re-do the right side panel to include a glove box type of storage.  The interior panels that I am ordering will have a few pockets as well.

We did find that the canopy does have a small water leak when I fly through rain.  At the back where the slider track enters the cockpit there is an area where the interior is open to the outside.  Not much of an area but it is visible.  I didn't think it would be a problem because of the air flow over the canopy but it turns out that there is a low pressure area there that allows rain to wick back into the airplane.  I did a little research and found that this is normal for a slider and that I can use the soft side of velcro to help plug the gap.

Finally I found out what people mean when they say the RV-9 wing loves altitude.  I was cruising at 10,500' leaned back to just lean of peak EGT and I was burning about 8 gph doing just above 150 kts TAS.  When I climbed up to 14,500' the engine was only burning 7 gph and I was still doing 150+ kts!  I didn't have oxygen on board for Amy so I couldn't try any higher but I will soon.

Ok here are a few pictures.

Amy saddled up and ready for the trip.

The Nevada desert

All buttoned up for the stay at Henderson.

Dark and grainy selfie with Amy at the set of LaReve

Another view of the set.  There is a pool of water under that blue mist and the seating is a huge bowl around the stage.

The set at the completion of the show.

Red Canyon as we are climbing out of the Vegas area.

A parting shot of the west side of Vegas.  The strip can be seen in the distance.

This was pretty much our view the whole way.  Clouds in puffy groups all around.

You can see the mountains under those clouds.