Sun ‘N Fun Aftermath – Blown Alternator CB!

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.

  • Mike Sundstrom

    So where is the regulator mounted? On the firewall?
    Be nice to my new to me airplane please. You can drop the keys off to me here in the Dallas area anytime.


  • Scott W.

    Glad to hear it was an “easy” fix on the circuit breaker.
    And I’m pretty sure that plane is coming to Lincoln CA :)

  • YanceyMan

    Please have the mechanics REPLACE the waterlogged regulator on my “new” plane!
    It will continue to set up a point for corrosion. I’ve had it happen before.
    Safest answer is to just replace it now, rather than the next time it will trip the CB, while inflight, …at night, …over water or mountains, …in IMC conditions. ‘Nuf said?

  • Jaime Parra

    Make sure it runing nice, so that when I claim my new Plane at the summit, I can fly it back to Bedford MA, I will have My car delived from Hatfort.

  • skyrider

    thanks for the advice on replacing the alternator. i will have it completed when the new paint is finished and delivered to winston-salem, nc. they just called me.

  • skyrider

    whoops. and the voltage regulator

  • Beau Chapman

    What should be done so that the current voltage regulator, or a replacement, doesn’t get wet in future rainy weather? Sounds like the “symptom” has been fixed, but not the problem.


  • Mark

    Do they sell a water proof box with and access door. Maybe there is something simple that can be installed with little paperwork for Airworthiness certification. I am sure mods take plenty of time in paperwork than the modification itself.

    BTW-Can you paint a small USA flag on both sides of the tail of my new plane. that would look great. Thanks. I guess I can’t ask for more sense its perfect in every way possible. Thanks too all who have worked on this plane to make it such a great story and platform that will touch hundreds if not thousands of lives. My wife and I plan to use this plane for missions in the States and into Haiti with an organization called Hands for Haiti. I may even use it to help my brother with animal rescue operations, his organization is out of Seattle called The Forgotten Kingdom. Thanks again for your hard work and thanks for all the updates.

  • Capt Al

    I will take delivery of the plane in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Sorry boys, it’s mine.

  • Jason Bergeron

    Make sure she is good to go for her trip to my hangar San Antonio, TX. She’ll be in good weather there! You boys are welcome to rent her from me if you like though. πŸ˜‰

  • Don P.

    Well, I was there Wednesday and after the 10minute rain an RV-6 attempted to Start and had A Hydraulic Lock. Unfortunately the Pilot had either refused to believe it or was ingnorant of this scenario. After four or five attempts to get the engine to rotate, a Lineman tried to pull it through and stated he heard water in the intake. Still he pulled it through after recognizing this. No rain covers or intake plugs were on the plane during the rain. Luckily the Pilot lived in Lakeland and was not stuck there. I just hope that the manual pull through did not damage anything. Is there not a drain hole or Diverter plate in the RV intake? Sounded like there was a good pint of water in there.

  • John Hernandez

    I just started flying and logged in several hours and it’s the best thing I’ve done since getting my driver’s license. My instructor and I will fly this plane back to beautiful Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Wouldn’t it be exciting to receive my pilot’s license and do it in a plane that I had one as my own. It has been my child-hood dream to fly and this would just add to that excitement. I can’t wait to pick it up. HOO YAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

  • Nate

    You guys can come view her from a distance at ole T41, because that’s where it will be. If you are nice, I may let you ride in it.

  • DougP

    C’mon guys…everyone knows that a student pilot is going to win it this time…..ME.

  • http://AOPAemail James Rustige

    Wow! Thanks for saving my 182 as I can’t wait to get it home. After hurricane “Charley” destroyed my 172, I was afraid the storm was going to take my new Crossover Classic. Thanks again, Jim

  • Hernando

    Please change the regulator Iwill pay for it upon deliver of the plane to me at

  • Richard

    Dang! I guess my airstrip is too small to land it… Well you might land it once, but you’ld never take off again :) Guess I’ll have to win a Robinson R66 instead.

  • Don

    I’ve enjoyed following all the work being done on the Crossover Classic… I first soloed back in ’73 and soon that after life happened… bought a house, then came the two girls… and I was financially grounded… now with grandchildren down the street and mom and I retired and me still working I have been back at it… and looking at a 182p at my field, to use to finish up my ticket…

    Hmm… Maybe I should wait for delivery of the Crossover Classic instead…

  • Lester

    Sorry guys and girls. The Crossover Classic is coming to KBKV where “she” will be hangered, and rented to local Cessna school in exchange for my training and eventual private pilot’s license. Then? This relationship will likely continue in an effort to allow me to maintain and continue to fly this magnificent airplane. After cancer surgery in 2007 my life has been an uphill struggle. Flight school a pipe dream. This aircraft will make all my dreams come true.

  • Tom

    The spelling here is horrible! I thought pilots were a little smarter. Now when i see a plane fly over my thoughts will be what idiot is flying that, instead of what a cool plane.

  • Steven Oxman

    This plane needs a B&C back up alternator! I hav eno financial connections to B&C – just a satisfied customer. Steven Oxman

  • Natalie

    A humble, hard working CFI could sure put that lovely 182 to good use.

  • Shaun

    Why not replace it with a plane power unit — Please be nice to my 182

  • alex

    As the current owner of a T182T, she needs a friend. So a short flight from the Summit to Long Island is awaiting this CFI. It will be put to good use. And aopa members get a free ride (as long as they chip in for gas)

  • Benjamin

    I’m getting antsy. I need more updates. Maybe just a picture of the plane sitting on the ramp. Quick I need a sweeps fix.

  • Asghar

    OL.k watched the wonderful video with Tom Horne, he is very articulate and would have been a great teacher, any way couple of questions how high can this fly with it’s 300 hP engine, with full fuel in the wing tips what would would be the range. and finally when finished what would be its payload.

  • Cary Alburn

    Whoever gets this airplane, it’ll be a great airplane–but I’d surely want a new regulator if it were mine. Electrical stuff and water just don’t mix very well, and the sparking that undoubtedly occurred before the breaker popped started some pretty damaging pitting, I’m sure. Whether the alternator needs replacing is another story–they tend to be tougher.

    Since I haven’t presumed that it will be coming to KGXY, I suspect that I won’t be disappointed.


  • Jonathan

    How long will the plane be at rowan county, I would like to fly up and take a look at it!

  • Steve

    Wow! Looks like everyone has done claimed this plane! Ownership is probably too complicated for me now anyway. Being a mechanic in the Coast Guard has me moving a lot. So good luck guys! That being said, it would be interesting to know how the water got in there in the first place. At first thought, applying sealant to the case might be the way to go, but if the water is intruding through cooling slats…not so much. Relocating would be too complicated. Perhaps adding some deflectors. I’d really have to look at it, so when one of y’all wins it just fly it to me in Mobile, or Cape Cod, or wherever I may be at the time and I’ll fix ‘er up good! πŸ˜‰

  • Doug

    Aww. . . It’ll look GREAT cruising over KDEQ! Let me know when you are on the way!

  • Doug

    It will look GREAT on the ramp here at KDEQ. Let me know when you are coming and we’ll have a barbeque!

  • Jerry Gomez

    Sorry all, I just spoke to Walter Mercado, he said the plane is coming here to Puerto Rico, it is made for island hopping

  • Jerry

    It’s always fun to dream about winning such a great prize. Every Wednesday (LOTTO drawing-night) brings a similar feeling. My only hope is that the winner is someone who could only dream of owning such a great plane, and not someone who could pull the cash out of their wallet and buy one. And I hope that winner enjoys many years of safe flying in their dream machine.

    Good Luck to the dreamers out there!

  • http://Mohammed Sky Rider

    Can you paint a small USA flag on both sides of the tail of my new plane. that would look great. Thanks. I guess I can’t ask for more sense its perfect in every way possible.

  • Kel

    Step aside folks. That plane, Kel’s plane, belongs here in central Texas. It’s quite dry, some humidity, okay a lot of humidity, tornados are rare at best and she and her favorite pilot, me, will look great in the deep blue skies.

    An amazing opportunity it would be to own this plane. Good luck everyone, if I can’t win I hope someone very deserving does.

  • Cheap Marine Alternators

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  • Car Alternators

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  • Kasey

    Can you tell us about your experience with BOSS painting and how the paint has held up? Bill Lucey is on my short list of shops that I am courting to renew my Baron. Thanks!

    • thorne

      Kasey it still looks great. I saw it last year at Summit and have seen recent photos at Oshkosh. What a great project that was!