Friday, 10 June 2011

Heat, Humidity and Hang Up's...

Wednesday June 8th, 2011

I wont repeat the morning routine here since by now you know it, I'm sure! Only thing I would like to add is, that it is fair to say that one is tired when the garbage can gets your cream and your coffee cup the empty container.
Leaving the Hotel around 08:00 local and it being ONLY 82F's I am almost feeling a slight chill. Maybe my brain is adjusting to the heat and it is only my body that hasn't gotten the memo. Heat rushes in some low light areas starting to bug me and once in the hangar the only good place seems really close to the 4'fan. Worst place is up in what Helicopter AME's refer to as the "Hell Hole", in the case of a 701, the rear fuselage area which is accessed through a removable panel from the bottom.

                                                          Hans up in the "Hell - Hole"!

Not that laying under the Dash is any better to sort the wires. I am getting a little testy with trying to accomplish three things at once, the constant heat, humidity and would much rather proceed air-conditioned, "Canadian Style" with crackling fire, in a systematic manner, one thing at the time, while the snow flies outside the window. Sick, isn't it?!
But N500ME (by now lovingly referrred to as - Nearly500MinorErrors) is coming back together nicely and by the end of the day things are looking rather good. We are only short a few connections. HMMm, aren't we all?! Just hope it all still works when the switch flicking starts. Always nice when you can remain in the hangar during that procedure and there is no smoke billowing from the doors.

The evening was spent with some major flight planning and using the Ipad and Foreflight seems to be the new cool and easy way to go. We will certainly put all them electric Gizmo's to the test. Hans is having a bit of fun trying to download the MGL data onto his card, but seems to have succeeded too. There was a bit of "Swiss Lingo" associating his efforts...

                           MGL - GPS Antenna and Spot Tracker monted with good view of the sky!
              The AHRS & Compass Modules mounted in the new tray, placement is the Baggage Area

                             New Overlay with Compass, MGL and Airspeed Indicator in place.

Thursday June 9th, 2011

By the Hangar at 08:00 and finishing off the last little items. Vacuuming inside and out, removing all last little drill and grinding chips, blowing off the electrics, vacuum again and by the time we are getting ready, Jim rolls in and finishes the last few connections on the MGL. With things looking up, I've decided to head back to the hotel and get going on some paperwork, and pack a few items to be mailed home that really don't need to fly across the USA in our limited baggage room. Done by lunch and back to the hangar once again. Time to roll out the plane, somewhat reluctantly flicking the master switch and By Golly ... it all works! Not even a little puff of smoke or spark. That's what you get for hiring professionals, it just takes all the fun away. Great Job Jim!!!

Jim "The Professional"

With the cowlings still off we do a run-up to bring the oil up to temperature, which in the afternoon heat probably takes less time than me typing this sentence. While we are having some fun, engine running and all, color TV(MGL & 296) on, we might as well do some circles on the compass rose and see how the new installation works. Wwweeell, the standard panel mounted Compass runs up on the stops on both N and E with a few degrees short of either, while the MGL is so precise, it is nearly upsetting me. OOKKAYY, I am convinced!!!
A quick scan shows all systems a go, shut the engine down and roll back into the hangar for the last job left, oil and filter change. Finally, with 4 PM just around the corner we finish off, run up again, dip the oil, close up the cowling, and at least over to the pumps we go. Time to fill her up and and take her for a test flight to assure all that looks well actually is well. Mexico, Missouri here we come!!! Baby, we're outta here!!!
As I am returning the ladder and turn back for the aircraft I notice in absolute dismay that we have fuel pissing out of both wings. Now this is not just a leak but a small blue 100LL freshet pouring down over the just polished (by Hans) Lexan Windows, dripping off the door onto the fuselage, leaving some pitiful blue streaks on the shiny white paint. WELLWHATDAFFNOW?! Quickly pushing the plane back from the Pumps and off to the Hangar we hurry, taxi, burn some off, ...but the drip is there the second we stop and getting worse. No time for a shut down; Fine, Okay, get out, let me go fly some off, ...and up I go on 04  into a nice headwind. After slipping the earthly bonds for about half an hour or so and a few Touch & Go's later I arrive at back to the hangar. Shut down, check the tank drains, Yup, it is still dripping, both sides, worse on the left.
Quickly, grab a Jerry Can and start draining from the bottom sump. 20 liters and some seriously sore arms later it finally subsides... Fuel gauges are down to half. In the hangar she goes, close the doors and without looking back, ...go for a very much needed cold drink. Not the best day after all! Here I expected a Sunset landing tomorrow at Cedar Key. To say that Hans is pretty much turned off airplanes by now would be the understatement of the 21st century. This is really turning into an Adventure now..., Summit Camp just got avalanched out and without a doubt we will have to slug up "Setback - Mountain" once again to make this Journey home happen.

The "Leaky Full Tanks" Dismay!!!

                                        On the "Bright Side" it does look good and all works!

           Larry, Mr. Peptalk, good Laughs and always showed up with some cold Water! THANKS!!!

...and down she pours!!!

The evaporative process is quick at 98 F's

Me, I really really need to go and chill out right about now and be done for the day! Sure, a Beer sounds good! Thanks Larry for stopping by the hangar, the encouragement, the cold water and a good laugh in a time of dire need!

Rolling back into Zephyrhills slightly expedited now to get to a local watering hole, Hans looks over and goes, "...but it flies nice, JA?". "JA, it does fly nice, but for some reason it reminds me of the Spider Motorcycle Commercial from Bombardier. Of all the things you've flown, it's similar to none! Why, you ask? Now how often have you flown in an LSA, Supercub, Taylorcraft, Luscombe, Kitfox, you name it, with two guys up front, neither being a slouch, half fuel, power at cruise setting, nose pointing frighteningly skyward at about 35mph flying gentle turns left and right, and didn't just fall out of the Big Blue?!"
Thanks Ed, for the impressive introduction to CH-701 flying characteristics and showing me what this little aircraft can do with a seasoned pilot. It was a great lesson!

To sum up today..., there are always some hang-ups in life, especially and probably more so if you choose to meddle in Aviation, countless little things to overcome, major challenges to meet and they are all as certain as tomorrow, and most of them are best dealt with that way! TOMORROW!!! What really counts at the end of tomorrow is not only the success in each of those, but more so, how well you dealt with them!

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