Archive for November, 2010

ICT to LGB–The Inside Story

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Let the games begin! We left Wichita at 830 am local on Saturday, November 6, anxious to see how the newly-re-engined 182 would fare on a cross-country totalling some nine hours. It was quite a revelation, from the start. We climbed away from ICT at nearly 2,000 fpm–in spite of our weight. But that was just the beginning.

The first leg took us to Albuquerque NM, and would last 3+18. At our initial cruise altitude of 6,500 feet  I set power at 71-percent (the best the engine would put out at that altitude). OAT was +14 degrees C., Manifold pressure was 23.8 inches (the EDM-930 is very precise), prop rpm was 2,500, and we were running at 100 degrees rich of peak EGT for maximum power. Consquently, fuel flow was high, at 19.4 gph.

At no time on the entire trip did cylinder head temperatures blow past 400 degrees. That’s something you can’t say about IO-550 installations in some Bonanzas!

Anyway, here are the results: 145 KIAS, and a whopping 162 KTAS. As promised, we were cruising in the yellow arc! But the air was smooth all the way to ABQ, and it was a treat to watch the scenery go by. I climbed in stages to 10,500 feet just prior to reaching ABQ, so as to clear terrain, and soon we were at Cutter Aviation, gassing up for the next leg to the Phoenix-Goodyear (GYR) airport west of Phoenix. That leg took 3+10. At times our groundspeed went to 152 knots–which ended up being the record for the entire trip.

Oh, and that 300-hp came in handy taking off from ABQ, which has an elevation of 5,355 feet msl and, when we were there, a temperature of 82 degreees F. In spite of the density altitude, our initial climb rate was 1,500 fpm. Not bad at all.

Most of the trip to GYR was spent at 10,500 feet, at 64-percent power with full throttle and a mixture setting of 50 degrees rich of peak EGT. The result was a 15.5 gph fuel burn rate, and a true airspeed of 147 knots.

Transferring fuel from the Flint Aero tip tanks to the mains takes about 25-30 minutes. Each tip tank holds 11.5 gallons of usable fuel, so having the extra 23 gallons for an “in-flight fillup” made for comfortable fuel reserves on trips like this–where distances between airports can be great.

After a quick-turn at GYR, it was off to Palm Springs International–about two hours away. The weather in the LA basin was IFR, so a flight straight through was out of the question. Besides, night would fall halfway to PSP and it was just plain time to end the flying day.

The arrival at PSP was, um, interesting. Surface winds were 310 at 20, gusting to 35. A Falcon jet ahead of us reported a shocking 50-knot airspeed swing as it encountered wind shear on final. Soon enough, it would be my turn.

There was turbulence, but I’d call it light as I started down final. Halfway to the runway, though, and the bottom fell out. The ship sank mightily as my headwind went away and/or a downdraft sucked us earthward. That’s when that 300-hp once more proved its value. A blast of power, and the ship was back on the proper glide path for runway 31L. It took a lot of jockeying to get the plane to touch down properly, but all’s well that ends well, and soon we were tied down and heading for the hotel.

Crossover Classic Sweeps Cessna 182 arrival as AOPA Aviation Summit

Yesterday, I used the route that AOPA is publishing for VFR arrivals to LGB from the east. That meant a leg through the slightly turbulent Banning pass, then on to the Lake Mathews and Santa Ana Canyon VFR waypoints (they’re published on the Los Angeles VFR Terminal Area Chart.) Our initial cruise altitude was 6,500 feet, but after Santa Ana Canyon, SoCal approach sent us down, in steps, to 2,500 feet. Then it was over to Long Beach approach and tower for a landing on runway 25R. Well, not at first. LGB is a busy place, so expect rapid-fire radio chatter and clearance changes. Like my being told to go around for other landing traffic. The second landing was the last, and now the Crossover Classic is parked at the AirFlite FBO–the host FBO for AOPA Summit’s static display.

'AOPA Pilot' Editor at Large Tom Horne with the 2011 Crossover Classic Sweepstakes Cessna 182

If you’re coming by–and I hope you do–then stop by the sweepstakes airplane section of the static. You’re looking for N52832. It may look like a beater, but its Continental engine and Hartzell three-blade prop signal that this is definitely an airplane to watch. See you there!

First flight impressions

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Today I took delivery of the newly pumped-up Cessna 182. All I can say is, “Wow.” More power is better; 70 more horsepower is definitely better!

Air Plains Services of Wellington, Kansas did a superb job installing the Continental IO-550, Hartzell prop, Flint Aero tip tanks, and the JP Instruments EDM-930 engine data monitor. It was Air Plains’ Jerry Putter who checked me out.

Throw the power to it, rotate at 60 knots, then hang on for a Vx (59 knots) climb rate of 1,900 fpm with two aboard and nearly-full main tanks. The nose seemed to point straight at the sky!

Cruising at 3,000 feet to keep our desired break-in power setting at or above 75-percent, the airspeed indicator needle went halfway into the yellow arc. We made 155 knots indicated, burning 18.3 gph. That’s at a 100-degree rich-of-peak EGT mixture setting. This is quite obviously a 182 on steroids.

I flew the airplane around the Wellington area, picked up the mound of newly-fattened logbooks, with their entries, endorsements, and other paperwork, then launched for the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. I motored up to final at 120 knots, dropped the second notch of flaps, powered back, then went to full flaps and made a full-stall landing. You can follow that little jaunt on my SPOT link, listed below.

Tomorrow, I leave for Long Beach with Mike Fizer. The plan is to go direct to the Dalhart TX VOR, direct to the Corona NM VOR, then land at Albuquerque for gas. Then it’s off to Long Beach. Again, you can follow my track on my SPOT link:

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.