Archive for the ‘Engine’ Category

Sun ‘N Fun Aftermath – Blown Alternator CB!

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Thanks for all the notes about the Sweeps 182′s fate during the March 31 tornado event at Sun ‘N Fun. The airplane survived in fine shape–more than you can say about a lot of airplanes on the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport that day.

But there was a catch. On the last day of the show–as with all such large fly-ins–the exhibit airplanes are towed and/or pulled manually out of the exhibit area. The result is a traffic jam because everyone wants to get out of there asap. So there I was waiting for the airshow to finish and the red flag to descend–meaning that the field was now open, and taxiing for takeoff could begin. (All I wanted to do was cross the active, taxi over to the FBO, and get ready for a departure the next morning.)

The plane started fine, but then, uh oh. The 60-ampere Alternator circuit breaker popped! I was on battery, stuck in a conga line that wasn’t budging, and watching my battery indicator dropping through 11 volts. No way was I going to reset the CB and risk further problems.

Long story short: I made it to the other side, had AeroMech’s mechanics look at the charging system, and waited for the verdict.

“The voltage regulator was full of water,” said AeroMech’s Ken Willaford. “I took it out, shook it, and water came out. So I blew it and the rest of the engine compartment out with compressed air, started it up, and everything worked fine.”

The next day I took off–bound for the paint shop. Three hours and change later, I was at Boss Aircraft Refinishers at Salisbury, North Carolina’s Rowan County Airport (KRUQ). Bill Lucey took the keys, and I was outa there.

Anybody else out there been waterlogged like that?

So now, let the painting begin! And brother, does this airplane need a new paint job. Look for more updates on the stripping of the bad old paint and the application of the new paint job over the coming weeks.

First flights flawless

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Air Plains Services, the engine conversion experts who installed the 300-hp IO-550 in our 2011 Crossover Classic sweepstakes airplane, has reached a milestone.

The engine’s first five flight hours have been logged, and the engine and EDM-930 engine data management unit both worked flawlessly. Now the airplane is cleared for the trip to AOPA Summit’s static display at the Long Beach/Daugherty Airport (LGB).

Yours truly will be at the helm. Accompanying me will be AOPA Pilot’s senior photographer Mike Fizer–and his 150 pounds of camera gear.

My checkout comes on Friday, November 5. Check back to see how that went, and when I launch early Saturday morning, November 6 check back for position reports along the “southern route” from Wellington, Kansas to the LA basin. I’ll be trying out the tracking function of my SPOT unit.

First engine run!

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Today’s a milestone—the key will turn on our 2011 Sweepstakes 182, and our new Continental IO-550′s 300 horses will come to life for the first time. Air Plains’ policy is to then fly the airplane five hours. In this time frame, there will be checks for any leaks or other squawks. At the same time, the airplane’s new JP Instruments EDM-930 engine data monitor will be checked thoroughly. With all the electrical lead feeding into the 930, that’s a lot of work. The 930 replaces the original engine gauges, and I’ll be glad to see them gone. The 930′s large, color screen shows much more than the stock airplane’s rather primitive instruments. This includes all engine parameters, plus fuel quantities in all four tanks, electrical system voltage and load, and propeller rpm.

After the five hours, the oil is drained and the oil filter removed. The oil is sent out for analysis–to check for trace metals that could indicate abnormal internal wear. The filter is cut open and its element stretched out and inspected for additional metal or other solid contaminants. The engine will run on mineral oil during the break-in period–about 25 hours of flying.

I’m set to show up at Air Plains on November 4, when I get a checkout in the rejuvenated airplane, and the next day is scheduled for my departure for Long Beach, California. That’s where the Crossover Classic (can I just say “CC” from now on?) will be at the airport’s static display. We’ll have the top cowling off so you can see the IO-550 in all its glory, so check it out.

By the way, I’ll be blogging all the way during the trip from Air Plains (at the Wellington, Kansas airport–KEGT) to Long Beach (LGB). So check back for progress reports. No way is the airplane set up for (legal) IFR flying, so I’m hoping for good wx all the way. So far, the wx forecast models are encouraging–as is the Farmer’s Almanac (just kidding–but I did look it over).

We’ll be using the southern route. That typically means passing by El Paso (ELP), then V94 to the Phoenix area, then V16 past the Blythe (BLH) and Palm Springs (PSP) VORs, then on to the Seal Beach (SLI) VOR for the arrival into LGB.

Though the CC is not suited for IFR, I will, however, ask for flight following–er, VFR Advisories–so the flight may well show up on www.flightaware.com as N52832. I’m also hoping to use my SPOT locator to mark our progress.

It won’t be a non-stop flight. I’ll be running the IO-550 hard, to help seat the piston rings and get a good break-in. That means a high fuel burn, so even with the full, 103 gallons aboard making it non-stop would be a challenge. Besides, I want to stop somewhere enroute to check on the engine, look at its oil consumption, and verify the EDM-930′s information.

So stay tuned for more blog updates!

Air Plains adds power, with speed!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Air Plains Services of Wellington, Kansas has been hard at work installing the Crossover Classic’s new Continental IO-550 engine, its accessories, and the Flint Aero tip tanks. Those tanks each hold 12 gallons of fuel. Add that to the airplane’s existing, 79-gallon long range tanks and we’ll have a 103-gallon Cessna 182. At 75-percent power, the IO-550 burns about 16-17 gallons per hour, so that makes it an airplane with at least a six-hour endurance. We don’t know the airplane’s ultimate, post-conversion true airspeeds yet, but let’s assume 150 knots. Six hours at 150 knots equals an 800-plus nautical mile airplane.

Assuming it’s flown at lean-of-peak mixture settings, that fuel burn can drop to 12.5 to 13 gph. There’s a slight speed penalty, but on the other hand there’s the opportunity for even greater range.

But hey, we’re getting ahead of ourselves! As we speak, the engine installation is being performed. The old engine is a thing of the past and the shiny, new, gold-colored Continental is being fitted with its new accessories, baffles, ductwork, GAMIjector fuel injectors, and wiring harness.

And man, is Air Plains a fast-working shop, or what?! I mean, those guys are really after that airplane! Take a look at this video to see the Air Plains shop, and their super-fast workers prep the engineĀ for the final install. The prop is next, so stay tuned.