Saturday, August 29, 2015

Finally some major progress...

Wow, what a crazy week...finally after many many weeks of delays due to parts we were able to assemble all needed pieces and get them installed on the plane.

Our first task was to install the new exhaust studs (2 per) into each cylinder to prepare it for the exhaust pipes.  Whenever you change exhaust pipes you should replace the exhaust gaskets as well, unfortunately the exhaust gaskets that I had ordered months ago turned out to be the wrong size and would not work.  But as luck would have it the place that sells the exhaust is just one town over and I was able to run by after work and pick up a set of the correct gasket.

While all this was happening the avionics guy on the field gave the static system a full run up and test.  Everything passed great and he was surprised that after all this time nothing needed calibrating.  The airspeed indicator was dead on the money as well.  This had been a major concern for me as up until that point we had no clue if the instruments were really functioning properly.

I also convinced the avionics guy to take a look at my old KLX135, as I've said in previous posts the KLX135 is for GPS VFR navigation only, it's an incredibly old unit and currently does not function correctly.  We suspect that it's due to the internal non-user serviceable battery.  Once this battery dies the unit is unable to 'remember' where it is, and this means that every time the unit powers on it must 'find' itself by getting it's position with satellites.  This process however can take up to one hour to complete, obviously not something that's practical in any situation.  He said that if I was able to find the battery that he would attempt to swap out the old one and we could see if it worked.  I was able to locate one of the batteries on amazon and placed the order at 6PM on Thursday. 

I was not expecting that battery for several weeks as I was sure it would have to come out of China, so imagine my surprise when I got a shipping notification from amazon early the next day that it was out for delivery.  I still do not understand how they were able to get that thing to me in one day, but sure enough it came in Friday and I was able to get it to the tech.  If he gets time we should have the unit back in the plane Sunday.  If all goes well I will then have a complete dash with functioning VFR GPS navigation.  I have decided tho that if this does not fix the issue that I will opt for a mounted unit (such as a Garmin 496) instead of putting any more money into the KLX unit.

Back in May I was able to get the transponder re-certified, however the AV tech noticed that the xponder wasn't transmitting properly.  With it being an old NARCO xponder we didn't have much hope of fixing the unit I currently have which is a AT50.  It's a very very old unit and I was freaking out that this xponder was going to derail the whole restoration.  But again as luck would have it, one of the guys on the field heard us talking about it at the hangar and said "wait there let me run to my hangar"  He returned with a NARCO AT150 xponder and said "here you go, this worked great when I removed it from my Baron years are welcome to it"  The 150 is a direct replacement for the 50 so it was able to use the same tray and was a simple 5 minute swap out.  The 'new' AT150 fired right up and gave off a very strong signal.  I will call the xponder guy on Monday and get him to come out and re-certify the plane again with the AT150.  I am glad that was solved quickly and without much fuss as it could have been a costly issue.

Now for the main event!

After months of not being able to start the plane due to the prop being off, or the exhaust or other issues.  We were finally able to reassemble all the pieces, cowling, exhaust, hoses, various brackets and braces and panels for her first high speed taxi. 

You are probably asking yourself...what is a high speed taxi and why would you want to do those...

1- Basically a high speed taxi is a take off roll on the active runway at full power and right as you approach speed you pull the power back and roll out.  You never actually take off,  it could also be seen as an aborted take off.

2- What good does that do?  Well, one of the ways you cool your engine is by the air rushing through the cowling which is channeled at the cylinders.  This cools the engine down and keeps it nice and happy.  However this presents another issue, as to really stress the engine you need to run it at full power.  But running it at full power while stopped won't pull enough air through the cowling to really cool it down.  Not to mention you won't be able to test how the plane will react as it rolls up to the speed.  So what you do is a fast give it full power as if you were doing a take off roll and then pull the power out slowly so that the engine cools down normally.   This also lets you see how the prop and engine will perform once the prop is 'unloaded' meaning you are letting it bite into the air and pull itself forward.

After a quick snafu, (I had forgot to turn the tanks on) she started right up and we were off to do the taxi.  Murphy's law says that as soon as you get to the runway that every plane in a 30 mile radius would be coming in for landing.  As a result we spent a ton of time waiting at the end of the runway, as we were going to be hogging up the active I wanted to give all traffic in the area time to get down and out of the way.

Now without further ado I present in glorious 1080p the little Cherokee's first trip to the active in 10 years.

There are actually 2 external GoPro and one internal.

We are almost there guys.....