On to paint

Last Saturday, April 20, I flew the Debonair to KD Aviation, the paint shop that will soon give it a much-needed beauty treatment. It was an hour-and-a-half flight from AOPA’s home base at the Frederick, Maryland Municipal Airport (FDK) to KD’s location at the Stewart International Airport (SWF) in Newburgh, New York.

Much of the flight was taken up with photographing the panel. We wanted to show the Aspen and Garmin units at work–along with the iPad Mini. But the weather and light conditions were not cooperating. AOPA Pilot’s Al Marsh was in the right seat, trying to capture the displays. And not capture the reflections.

The climbout from FDK gave a hint of what was to come. Turbulence, light at first, built to a crescendo of continuous moderate turbulence at our cruising altitude of 7,500 feet. At that altitude we were above a broken layer, with clear skies above. That meant plenty of sun. Sun that put a lot of reflections on the display screens.

We anticipated this, so Marsh brought along about a half-dozen black cardboard squares of varying sizes, and a roll of gaffer tape to hold them in place. I wore a black jacket in hopes of keeping reflections down. That was a partial success in suppressing reflections. In perfect 20-20 hindsight, we should have borrowed a trick from staff senior photographer Mike Fizer and brought along a black cloth to quash reflections. Ah, well–next time.

But you should have seen it. Between the turbulence and all that cardboard taped here, there, and everywhere it was quite a scene. Many shots were compromised by reflections, but I’m told there are several good ones among the bunch. Here are a couple:

Aspen MFD (lft) shows winds aloft. PFD shows synthetic vision view with flight path marker. Right MFD shows radar view (bottom view)  and traffic (upper half of screen view)

Aspen MFD (left) shows winds aloft and mini-synthetic vision views. PFD shows synthetic vision view with flight path marker. Check out that crab angle! Right MFD shows radar (bottom view) and terrain (upper half of screen view)

Garmin GTN 750 showing TIS-B traffic

Garmin GTN 750 showing TIS-B traffic

By the way, the paint job will be done in two stages. The first step is to give it an all-Matterhorn white coat of paint. The second step will come later in the year, when we apply stripes.

  • Doug

    Why no drawings of the finished product, like in years past? That always give us something to drool over.

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      Hang on Doug, they’re in the works

  • tony

    my plane is going to be so beautiful

  • tony

    old schoo tricks work better than high priced new ones

  • tony

    hurry and get it to me

  • Ritch

    Are members not going to get to vote on the scheme as in year’s past? I thought this was our airplane, and the memebrship should have some say in at least the looks of the paint. I do however LOVE the panel!!

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      Ritch—Hold your horses. The schemes are on the way!

  • http://www.finalflight.info David Reinhart

    Why the delay between the white and the stripes?

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      It’s not painted yet. Our turn is coming David

  • Jim

    I am Sooooooo jealous, my 62 Deb would love that panel! Who knows maybe I’ll have 2 Debs!

  • http://DebbidoesSunandFun Bob Andrews

    It appears that the flap gap seal kit was poorly installed. Ideally, the trailing edge of the flaps should be even with the bottom of the fuselage when the flaps are fully retracted, not 1/2″ below as they presently are. The bottom of the flap to wing seals appear to be OK but the seals between the inboard top of the flaps at the fuselage (L and R) need to be removed, the flap uplimit switch in the left flap-well adjusted (with a 13.9-14.1 volt power cart supplying power) so that the flaps “park” even with the bottom of the fuselage. Do not use battery power for this step. I do not believe that the flap to fuselage seals can be saved but they are reasonably small, inexpensive and easily replaceable so just order or make a new set. Of course this needs to be corrected PRIOR to prime and paint.

    • http://www.aopa.org thorne

      I’ll tell the paint shop Bob

  • http://Debonair Eric Haertel

    This is going to be quite a sweet airplane for whoever wins it.

  • Paul Deason

    Nice, Aspen PFD/MFD and a GTN 750? Sweet, I can’t wait to pick her up.