Archive for the ‘Exterior’ Category

Sweeps at Sun ‘N Fun, Cont’d

Friday, April 1st, 2011

The Sweeps plane the day after the supercell—no damage!

The claw held!

My post yesterday was rudely interrupted by the massive supercell thunderstorm complex that rolled through the Sun ‘N Fun grounds. As I was typing, a gust of wind blew open the back of AOPA’s tent–right behind me. Now I had an in-person view of the torrential rain and monumental winds. And a thorough soaking. Then a gust blew down a stack of water bottles, so I was surrounded by oh, maybe four dozen 24-packs of “Silver Springs” water. Then the power went out. So I disconnected and evacuated to the Florida Air Museum with other AOPA staff.

Now, back to the Crossover Classic’s fate. The good news is: NO DAMAGE! (There is no bad news). I watched the airplane from the tent for a while, and it rocked a good bit, but the tiedowns held. Those tiedowns–known as “The Claw”–are held into the ground by three angled pins. And they worked. Many other airplanes on the field didn’t fare as well, as I’m sure you’ve seen in the coverage on AOPA’s website. So bravo for The Claw. And good luck played a big part, too, I’m sure.

The inside of the sweeps plane.

I also credit our good fate to the strength of our new tent, and the blocking effect it–and Pilot Mall store behind us–exerted on the damaging wind flows from the west. All’s well that ends well!

I’m sending along some iPhone snapshots of the 182’s interior–and one of The Claw tiedown points–because several of you asked to get a glimpse. Sorry about the quality. Better photography will follow!
For the record, the Lakeland Linder Airport experienced a confirmed EF-1 tornado. The “EF” stands for “enhanced Fujita,” and the “1” is a damage designator. According to the EF scale, an EF-1 tornado will cause “moderate damage. Rooves can be snapped, mobile homes overturned, exterior doors lost, and windows and other glass broken.” The National Weather Service might also add, “tied-down airplanes flipped, torn loose of their moorings, and light airplanes crushed.” Storm winds in an EF-1 tornado run from 86-110 mph. The NWS recorded a downburst gust yesterday at 75 mph. Well above takeoff speed for most of the airplanes on display here.

Sweep's Seat!

Sun ‘N Fun Feedback

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

After three days on display at Sun ‘N Fun, we’ve had a chance to sample the opinions voiced by visitors to the Crossover Classic. Most of the comments seem to dwell on the issue of the paint job–the current paint job, that is. People are tactful and polite, so the questions are always carefully posed. Maybe they don’t want to offend.

Anyway, a common question will come as an oblique reference. For example, people will say “Is this the paint scheme you’ll be using?” Or “Do you like the original paint scheme?” There is universal relief when they’re told that the airplane’s next stop is Boss Aircraft Refinishers of Salisbury, North Carolina, where a new paint job awaits. 

The current paint issues–vast areas of cracking, flaking, and major-league fading–have to do with the lacquer-based paints used by Cessna in the early 1970s. In short, lacquer paint jobs don’t age well. But the new Sherwin-Williams paint that we’ll be using at Boss Aircraft Refinishers will be  much more durable of course.

Some have remarked on the difference between the current N-number on the airplane and the N-number being shown on the paint scheme rendition. Why the discrepancy? Because we’ll be renaming the airplane to N182CX when it is painted. The “CX” is our way of conveying the “Crossover” concept. And yes, I  tried to obtain N-numbers from the FAA that ended in “CC” or “XC,” but no cigar. Those were all taken. So N182CX it will be.

There’s a lot of gawking at the panel and interior, completed by Advantage Avionics and Air Mod, respectively. But the Saircorp/Flight Boss Ltd. center console came in for its share of interest. Several visitors wrote down the company name, and a few took the time to go to the company’s website on their smartphones. Looks like a few sales might well be in the offing.

Sometimes, people checking out a sweepstakes airplane do quirky things. I can’t tell you how many times people have squeezed the leather seats, or rubbed their hands over the new carpeting. The leather was provided by the Garrett Leather Company of  Buffalo, New York ( and the carpeting came thanks to Aircraft Interior Products of Wichita, Kansas (

And now for a little reportage. As I write this, I’m in the back of the AOPA tent at Sun ‘N Fun, and the convective weather preditions for today are coming true. The skies have lowered, darkened ominously, and surface winds have been gusting well past 35 knots. On my “Radarscope” iPhone app, I can see that steeply-contoured precipitation returns are overhead. The winds are so strong that the sides of the tent are blowing back and forth, so much so that a stack of bottled water has fallen over, landing right behind me.

“Canoe” wheel pants out, K2U pants in

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Several of you have remarked on the Crossover Classic’s wheel pants. These pants, sometimes called “canoe” pants, were installed on older Cessna 182s–but midway through the 1974 model year Cessna replaced them with more modern-looking designs. Obviously, our sweepstakes 182 came out early in the 1974 production run, because it has the early-style wheel fairings.

Seems that you either love ’em or hate ’em. I’ve heard people say they look sleek. I’ve heard people say they look aerodynamic. And I’ve also heard people say they date the airplane, or just plain look weird. Most of the chatter around the office–and on the street–seems to line up behind the “dated and weird” opinions. Moreover, I’ve heard Cessna experts say that while the old fairings may look sleek, they actually aren’t. The more bulbous designs of recent years, on the other hand, actually are aerodynamically efficient. To the tune of adding a couple knots to cruise speeds.

Enter Knots2U (“K2U”) of Burlington, Wisconsin. Knots2U has been in the business of providing speed-enhancing aftermarket wheel fairings and many other fiberglass parts for years. You can check them out at . Knots2U’s John Bailey kindly offered a set of his STC’d gear fairings for the sweeps 182, and we’re hoping to pick up a few knots as a result. The fairings look good, too, and have some important advantages. One is an access door that lets you air up the tires without removing the fairings. Ditto access to the brake assemblies. Even if you do have to remove the fairings, it’s easy. That’s because the fairings are assembled in two pieces. This means you don’t have to jack up the plane or remove the tires in order to remove the fairings.

K2U is also providing new wing strut fairings. These will replace the cracked and worn fairings at the wing strut attach points.

Other badly-needed replacements fiberglass parts will come from Willy Stene of Stene Aviation (, who is supplying wing root, stabilizer tip, elevator tip, and dorsal fin fairings, along with a new tailcone and vertical fin cap. It’s also providing a new landing gear-to-fuselage strut fairing. This is a fairing that’s subjected to a lot of stress, and prone to cracking.

So who says fairings aren’t important to a restoration? You can fix everything else up, but even a casual glance will zero in on discolored, cracked, or otherwise beat-up fairings. Thanks to K2U and Stene for joining the Crossover Classic rejuvenation.