First engine run!

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 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!

  • Steve Ells

    Your post reminds me of the long flight you and I made when we flew the AOPA Twin Comanche east from San Luis Obispo to Florida. The previous owner had babied the engines and they took a while (about half the trip) to finally start humming.
    There’s something about sitting side by side in a small airplane for 14 hours on a long cross country that either makes or breaks a friendship. Glad we’re still friends.
    We headed east though the pass southeast of Bakersfiedl (direct Grape Int then direct PMD vor) the tracked east out the Antelope Valley past 29 Palms and Blythe to our first landing at KGYR. Blasted out of there and made it to El Paso for the night. The engines ran OK in cruise but I recall spending a lot of time trying to synch the props.
    A short delay to clean the plugs in El Paso and off we went again.
    I remember flying lower as we again headed east from El Paso. With the lower altitude came the ability to put more power to the engines. The engines started running better about halfway through the second day. At no time were we in trouble due to the any engine malfunction but it was obvious that the little Lycomings were finally again getting back to normal.

    We landed once more in Texas to refuel then on east. The details fail me now but I remember it as a good adventure and hope that every flight from the first one on the 5th through delivery to the winner will be through smooth air with a good tailwind.

    • thorne


      Yep, the original engine was a bit gummed up on the trip to the engine shop.

      But this new one really puts out….. no plug-fouled engine-out landings (like the one we had at ELP) and lots of gas……

      That Twin Comanche trip was one of the best…..


  • Tom Storli

    Hi Tom ! Did you get my E-mail re- the gross weight increase STC ? Would love to participate in the project.

    Have a great flight out to LGB. I look forward to meeting you there.

    Best regards,


    • thorne

      Hi Tom—yep, got all that, and the paperwork at my weather talk


  • Pete Bedell

    Pretty impressive groundspeeds for a 182 going westbound. What were the winds and TAS/FF numbers? Did you try running LOP? See you at the Summit!

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