Beebo, we hardly knew you!

I am going to interrupt my stream of Ercoupe related blogs to comment about an incident and the fellow at the center of the incident.  And then ponder what the world has become for many people.  This has been a long time coming but the FBI has released its report and now we know in the end he chose to dive the plane into the island.

Recently in the Seattle area a ramp worker stole a 90 passenger turboprop plane, flew it around the area, did some remarkable acrobatics and then crashed on a lightly occupied island in the sound.  He remained in contact with the tower at SeaTac the entire time and the conversation was recorded and heard by many.  A quick search of YouTube will find you that and countless “tributes” to him.

I was in the area at the time and I saw the media explosion in the area.  The tower conversation was available almost immediately after he was a flaming crater on Ketron Island.  I found this act really affected me for many reasons I hope to share here.  First, who was Richard Beebo Russel?

Richard “Beebo” Russel

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He was young, only 29.  All accounts had him as a friendly fellow, generous, religious and very likable.  He was known as an excellent football player when he was younger.  He was married and even ran a bakery in Oregon with his wife for  years.  The move up to Seattle to be closer to family.  He had an active video blog where he showed his travels that were made possible by the benefits of his airline employer.  He even made some amusing videos about his work on the ramp.  We’ll talk about that shortly.  I showed some interest in joining the military and was in college.  So from the outside, a hard working decent guy that was succeeding in life.  So how does a fellow like that end up in smoking hole on a nearly empty island in the Puget sound?  We can never know for sure but this wasn’t a spontaneous act.

First lets look at the daily grind he faced to make ends meet (assuming he was making those ends meet).   He was working on the ramp for Horizon Air.  This airline had managed to get an exception from the Seattle minimum wage law so he was making less than $15 an hour.  In fact Alaska Airlines sued when the minimum wage laws passed so they can pay a starting wage of $11.74 an hour.  I’m not going to talk about minimum wage laws but Russell was in a situation where he was making less that the McDonalds workers inside the terminal.  He was outdoors, in the rain doing grueling physical labor.  You cannot survive in Seattle on $11.74 an hour, much less raise a family.  Living outside Seattle directly like he did made it less horrible but his finances must have been a nightmare.  He mentioned minimum wage in his conversations with the tower during his flight.  Another thing that I found odd was he had been married for some time and no children.  This strikes me as unusual for someone with a religious background like his.  We’ll never know what was going on there either.  But despite outward appearances Beebo had some pressures.  All the folks that have talked about him make it seem like he was someone that always showed the world a happy face no matter the circumstance.  Easy going and the class clown were things often shared.

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What else do we know, he loved aviation.  He fiddled with flight sims or at least video games.  He trained and was qualified as a member of the tug crew so he learned some basics of the airplanes he moved.  Things like how to start the auxiliary power units (APU) and the basics of steering the airplane on the ground.  He would have learned to use the radios to talk to ground control. What he probably wasn’t taught was how to start the engines or how any of the other flight controls would have worked.  He interacted with some of the pilot so he may have been shown more.  But one thing to share.  Most people if they were just sat in an airplane’s cockpit like the one he stole would NOT be able to get it started and taxi it out to the runway.  He had prepared for his over time.  Even finding the right plane and the right time required some planning. He had to find a plane with fuel, someplace where no one was on it or around it.  He had to take a tug, drive it across the airport, pull the plane around to allow it to taxi out.  He did that midday and wasn’t detected.  I was then several hours before he got it started and then made his run for the runway.  To take the plane for his final flight.

I don’t think he ever really thought about landing it.  I think once he started taxing out he knew he was in it in the end.  A plane like that flown for most of his flight would have been pretty simple to fly.  He did finally ask for some help getting the cabin pressurized.  He would have been light headed at times given he was over 10 thousand feet for some of his flight.  He flew over Mount Rainier which is over 14 thousand feet and then over the Olympics which are lower at closer to 8 thousand feet.  Then for the most part he was much lower.  He didn’t know much about the rate he was going to burn off fuel and I wouldn’t be surprised if he left the plane at maximum power for the entire time.  I think in the end he flew for around 45 minutes.  Towards the end of he flight I think he knew he wasn’t going to make any attempt to save himself or the plane.  He just wanted to end it in a way that didn’t hurt anyone.  He did at least one major bit of acrobatics that was caught on video by a number of people.  He said he wondered if he could do a “back flip” whatever that is.  He said he was going to try a barrel roll and ended up doing something closer to a split S.  He pulled out of that below 500 feet over the water.  He said after he thought that was probably going to be it surprised that he pulled it off.  He made a comment about fuel, a possible engine problem then shortly after folks on the ground the two pilots in the F-15s following him reported him crashing on Ketron island. With that final moment Sky King was born.  Just a guy who wanted to do a final barrel roll into a sunset.

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In the end he said he’d hope his moment would have lasted longer and stated he’d never get hired as a pilot because “he was a white guy”.  I think there are some things that make this story worth discussing.  Firstly, Richard went out with class.  He did it not ranting about anything, he had some fun on the way out and did it without hurting anyone else.  Lets compare that with some other suicide by plane incidents.  MH370 resulted in 239 people dying.  A Germanwings copilot crashed his plane into a mountain killing 140 people.  Several days after Richard’s flight a disgruntled corporate pilot stole his boss’s plane and tried to crash it into his house to kill his wife.  He missed his house by the way.   Russel didn’t try to pin his choice on anyone else.  He owned it.

So Beebo snapped.  Well I think that isn’t quite right.  He took time and planned his exit.  I am sure stealing this particular plane was an “in your face” to his employer.  What were the factors that got him planning this end?  He joked that he wouldn’t get a job as a pilot because he was “a white guy”.  We are in the beginning of a massive pilot shortage.  So why would he think becoming a pilot would be impossible for him.  Remember, this is a guy trying to maintain a family in the greater Seattle area in less than $12 an hour.  You need a college degree and a lot of training to get into that cockpit.  There is no doubt the amount of assistance to get into college is limited for a “white guy”.  If you don’t believe it do some research.  Major universities are opening admitting they skew their submissions to “minorities”.  There are even lawsuits.  Scholarships are all targeted to women and minorities (but not asians!).  The U.S. air traffic control system was actively refusing white male applicants.  Yes, things for “a white guy” these days can be look pretty stacked against you.

Now onto what it would have cost Beebo to get that pilot rating if he had gotten that college degree.  Beebo would have spent somewhere around $100K.  Most pilots will spend years building hours by instructing or taking almost any pilot job available.  It is a struggle.  Some manage by entering the service but the bar for that is high.  And of course, you are in the service!  So I think it would have seemed impossible for a guy making less than minimum wage with a wife.  While things are slowly changing as some carriers are taking in people with no flight experience to train from the ground up.  But I think the chances of being lucky enough to get in on that opportunity were nearly zero for Russell.  He was already nearly 30.  Carriers are going to want to maximize the number of years they could get out of a new pilot of they make an investment like that.

So in the end we saw a broken guy go out with a flourish.  Beebo, I wish I knew you, we’d fly Woodstock the Ercoupe to Pt. Townsend eat a great breakfast and look at planes in the museum.  I hope you are in a better place.  We did love that barrel roll!

Blue Skies, Beebo, Sky King!

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Flew the Coupe! – Part 19 – Woodstock gets some bling!

Don’t just sit there, do something!

So with the fires this summer and the disruption of a job change I was not flying much.  So I made a list of things I should do to Woodstock.  I have thought about things I could do to make Woodstock a bit more distinctive and in one case a bit safer.

Woodstock can be slippery!

So it can be wet in the PacNW an even icy!  To get into the cockpit of my coupe you have to walk up the metal wing root.  It can get slippery!  They make special materials to create a non slip surface for folks to walk on.  Some folks call that “wing walk”.  I little internet research pointed me at a stick on material available in strips.  Several types exist.  I picked one that used a rubber material but no sort of mineral no slip material. (think the “sand” on “sand paper”).  I chose “RAC WING WALK” :

 

09-28210RAC wing walks are not made from the usual, sandpaper-like material, which can decompose and scratch both the wing surface and your knees. Instead, they use a low profile, synthetic rubber, that combines a comfortable feel with good gripping power.The RAC wing walk comes pre-cut to 26 1/2″ x 9 1/2″. Installation is easy with the aggressive, self-adhering backing. Each wing walk comes rolled in its own, 4″x3″x10″ box and installation instructions are also provided with each box. Black .

I ordered 3 boxes with the first order I made of stuff from Woodstocks first annual and it had been sitting around the hangar for some time.  Well, it was time to apply the stuff.  I could just lay the strip s onto the wing roots in some simple normal fashion or I could make it little different.  I decided to cut the strips into separate pads and then stick the down along the wing root.  Here is the result:

Note: I have since removed the air bubbles.  So Woodstock is less slippery!

Woodstock is cool enough for art!

I had wanted to add some nose art when I first got Woodstock.  I knew I wanted something but I still didn’t realize my Ercoupe was Woodstock.  That came when I started looking at possible images.  I searched all the popular (and sometimes less than popular) cartoons.  I even tried to contact a couple of cartoonists but never goat a response.  But I kept coming back to this:

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You don’t have to spend much time with my coupe to realize he is this very happy little yellow bird.  So I came to call my Ercoupe Woodstock.  Perfect.  But then where would this art go.  I had been given awesome cowl badges that I had already mounted:

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So the art wasn’t going to go on the nose.  Maybe the vertical fin.  I tried to find a local artist to actually get it painted on but no luck.  Maybe I could find some stickers the right size.  Well that did produce some results.  I found these:

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Those would be good but they were just the outline, I would need to add some sort of yellow fill or background.  I considered just air brushing some yellow in the rough shape of the sticker then putting the sticker on top of it.  But a friend suggested a local sign shop that might be able to create the complete image.  Additionally I needed to order some lettering.  A couple of weeks later I had it all ready to put in the fins.  I ended up ordering the image larger, maybe even too large but here is the finished result:

Came out pretty good if you ask me!  But wait, I wasn’t done yet!

Don’t Cool Car Hubcaps from the 40’s have the Maker on them?

I remembered seeing older American cars that had hubcaps that had the company name on the hubcap.  Here is an examaple:

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Since Woodstock still has the original Goodyear wheels and brakes Woodstock has hub caps.  At the same time I ordered vinyl letters for the Woodstock tail art I ordered some lettering for the hub caps.  So now Woodstock has cool Erco hubcaps!

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Pretty cool if you ask me!

I am still looking at things that might make Woodstock even more stylish.  I am considering a stripe down the fuselage.  Not sure about that yet.  In the mean time I continue to polish.  I think that the interior may deserve some attention as well but I think it is currently close to original and I am not sure how much I want to change that.

I am considering a radical change in the panel but that will be a LOT of work.  I have an IFR capable instrument panel which really is odd for an Ercoupe and definitely overkill for me.  Here is my panel:

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Here is a good example of a close to stock panel:

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Notice the glove boxes and the cool stripes and trim.  This is maybe closer to what I’d like.  Of course I should call out that my vacuum instruments don’t work and at least one gauge is a mystery!

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I think it is related to the VOR somehow but I am not sure how much I will every use the nav radio these days.  I have a GPS in the plane and just bought a GPS capable tablet as well.

Well, if you own a plane you will never run out of stuff to do!

I’m trying to get caught up on the blogging so expect more blogs more often.  I have a few planned not related to Woodstock.  I’ll tag those differently to make them easy to know if you are interested in them.

For now back to thinking the thoughts that need thinking!

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Flew the Coupe! – Part 18 – Back at it

So it has been some time since my last blog.  Sadly the less fun things in life have kept me away from flying.  A couple of job related things and just the world.  Of course my last blog left poor Woodstock with a motor back to sound but a nasty radio gremlin.  So what has happened since then.

Copper State Fly In and a Visit to my Hangar at FFZ

So I went to the Copper State Fly in at FFZ in late October.  I had hoped that would be like I remembered it.  At one time it was one of the best fly ins in the country for home built aircraft.  My how times have changed.  It has become a very nice “open house” for FFZ but no home built aircraft to be found.  Also very few warbirds or classics.  So sorry to disappoint, no pictures or anything fun to report.  But I remain a huge fan of FFZ.  I still think it is one of the best airports in the country.  Sadly I learned the was an Ercoupe gathering nearby I should have gone to instead.  Still I got to see some old friends and family so the trip was definitely worth it.  I bet I go back again this year (for the friends and family and those elusive Ercoupes!)

Flying Defeated by a Battery!

So then it was winter in the Seattle area, I had a flaky radio and combined with weather I had no desire to fly.  One day in January was better than most and when I did go to spend some time in the pattern I found the battery dead.  Ugh, so I put it on a charger and decided I would try again next time the weather was good.  The next time the weather was good the battery was not.

Spacegrrrl gets a check up – Basic Med

I realized I needed to do something about my medical.  After thinking about it I realized I had a regular Dr.s appoint scheduled anyways so I sent my Dr. the “Basic Med” forms and asked her to do that examine as part of my check up.  Of course that was a breeze.  I took the online test and now I am covered under “basic med”.  They say to maintain my “basic med” I have to see my Dr. every 48 months.  Since I do at least an yearly check up of course that isn’t an issue.  Right now I am covered in the U.S. but things are in motion to make “basic med” legal outside of the U.S.  For now I am definitely able to fly Woodstock anyplace I expect to any time soon.

Aviation Trade Show 2018!

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So February happened and that meant the annual aviation convention nearby.  I always attend.  There were a few fun things.  Besides the normal safety talks we have a fantastic speaker.  A famous SR-71 pilot “Brian Shul” .  A very inspirational speaker.  He overcame an amazing accident which left him badly burned to become one of the very few people ever to fly an SR-71.  He also became and amazing photographer.  This year there was not a dinner at the convention and even though there may have been a part Saturday night I didn’t look into it.  Here is a picture of Mr. Shul:

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So with the convention behind me and a fresh dose of enthusiasm it was time to think about Woodstock,  I decided to try and get Woodstock’s annual inspection done while the weather here in Seattle isn’t so good so I got an owner assisted annual scheduled with the mechanic that did the inspection last year.  In the mean time I started to prep Woodstock for his check up.  I didn’t have nearly as many things to want to do to Woodstock as I did last year.

Woodstock’s Yearly Check Up

I knew of four things I needed to do:

  1. Replace my ELT battery
  2. Add some sealing to my engine baffling
  3. Get a better battery
  4. Solve my radio problem

One the first thing.  I took apart my ELT and removed the battery.  Once I knew what I needed I ordered a new one from Aircraft Spruce.  Problem solved.

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Item 2.  My Ercoupe had a big gap between the engine baffling and the cowl nose bowl.  At one time it looked like there was some foam rubber attached to the nose bowl intended to seal this gap.  You want to seal gaps because you want to make sure the air is going where it needs to go to cool the engine.  So along with the battery order I added some strip rubber and the rivet kit to install better seals.  Here is the baffling before the rubber and the new rubber seals:

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Now what to do about the battery.  I could just by yet another Gill battery or look into new technology batteries.  I had hear good things about batteries from Odyssey.  They make a “dry cell” battery that is much lighter.  I had heard of another coupe owner in the area that had put in one of those.  So I ordered one of those too.  This battery is much smaller so I would have to find some foam to secure the smaller battery in the original location.  Here is the new battery next to the old one:

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So after I got the new battery I went on the hunt for the ideal foam rubber to pad the battery box.  That was more complicated that I thought but after store visit #4 I did find some material that looked right for the job.

So now to find the radio gremlin.  My radio has an integrated intercom.  It has an optional switch to turn the radio into an intercom.  I suspected it was this switch that was causing the radio not to transmit.  Here is the schematic:

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Pin 6 is the push to talk switch.  So the “intercom” switch disconnected the “push to task” switch and connects the mic output to the internal intercom circuit.  My solution was simple.  Remove the switch from the circuit.  This took a little challenging gymnastics of my friend Olan and a soldering iron.  But soon the switch was no longer hooked up and the radio was back acting like a champ.

Nothing was left but to fly.  A nice day finally came around and I agreed to meet up with a friend back at Tacoma Narrows where I had last flown Woodstock.  Well the little bird flew great!  Well almost.  Here Woodstock is on the ramp in front of the Restaurant:

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So what went wrong?  Engine ran fine, radio worked great but the tower reported that my transponder was not functioning.  Well, another squawk to sort out.  So I set about biting the bullet and trying to find out what a new ADS-B transponder will cost me.

Sadly a combination of other factors kept me from making the fly ins I so hoped to attend.  I was not able to confirm the transponder issue before Arlington (bad weather made me less sad about that) and I did not get Woodstock to the Concrete fly in either.

A job change forced me to miss flying with friends to Oshkosh as well.The it was the summer of fires!  Here in the PacNW we had a terrible summer with much of the time in smoke so bad as to close airports.  This was not the summer of flying.  But things are looking up for the fall.  I have gotten a bid on an ADS-B solution that I will have installed as soon as the shop cans schedule me in.  The new job will not allow me the time to fly Woodstock to the national Ercoupe convention in New Mexico this year but I will attend by flying there on a commercial flight.  It will be fun to meet more coupe owners and see how Woodstock compares to the other coupes around.

So stay tuned, coming up:

  • Some fun things to Woodstock.
  • Things to look forward to in the near-ish future.
  • A report of a quick trip to the national air races.
  • A post will be about blinging up Woodstock.
  • My ADS-B adventure.  The Ercoupe convention.
  • Some new gizmos I bought for my flying.
  • Some actual flying. Woodstock’s next annual.
  • The next aviation convention.
  • And finally a plan for a much more aviation focused 2019.

More soon!

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Flew the Coupe! – Part 17 – back in the air and drama!

So I had Woodstock back together with a healthy engine.  But the distraction of the Reno Air races meant I wasn’t going to be able to fly Woodstock for some time.  It turned out nearly a month.  Once back from Reno I needed to find a good weather day for a test flight and make sure the valve issue was resolved.  I wanted a short flight to check out the engine.  The first nice weekend was just after my birthday I made plans to meet my friend Olan at the great restaurant at the Tacoma Narrows airport.  This is about a 20 minute flight for me and I still probably had my tanks 1/3 full.  Maybe 2 hours of fuel.  But as I taxied past the gas pumps I remembered that old saying “nothing is worth less than fuel on the ground”.  So I topped of the tanks and headed out.

Spacegrrrl – the test pilot

If anything my engine was stronger than before (but maybe a little rougher?)  Soon I was tied up out front of the restaurant waiting for Olan.  Woodstock, as usual was getting admirers.   Here is a photo:

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So we found the service at “The Hub” on the slower side but the food was great.  Olan agreed to follow me back to Auburn airport (S50) and we headed back.  Once again Woodstock was flying and the motor running great!  However as I switched from the Tacoma narrows tower frequency and back to Auburn I quickly learned there had been a gear collapse and the runway was closed until they could get the plane off the runway.  This was Sunday afternoon, so not a lot of folks around.  As Olan radioed me asking my intentions I discovered my radio would not transmit!!  I could received but the push to talk was not functioning.  Ugh, what to do!  I quickly tried to remember my “no radio” procedures and started to ponder what heading to either Renton or Pulayllup airports might look like.  Renton was very busy as this was a beautiful day and I did not like the idea of slipping into a busy pattern in Renton and staring at the tower for light signals.  Pulayllup would be better for sure.  But that would leave me hours from home and no good place to leave my plane.  What to do, what to do??

The Plan!

Well, good news, I had close to 5 hours of fuel!  So it seemed from the radio traffic at Auburn I should be able to wait for the runway to open.  In the mean time I stayed out of the traffic areas of the airport and tried to debug the radio.  I remembered I had a second push to talk switch so I unplugged everything and tried that.  No Joy! 😦  Then I plugged everything into the passenger side headphone jacks.  Again, no luck.  OK, all the time reminding myself to fly the plane.  So I put the original push to talk switch back into the pilot headphone jacks and turned my attention to the intercom switch.  One feature of the King radio I have (KX-155 which seems like a very nice radio) is an integrated intercom.  This feature is not that useful to my mind.   A switch puts the radio in intercom mode where the headsets are connected together to talk but neither can transmit or “”Xmit” mode where either headset can have a push to talk and can transmit.   Dennie had felt this switch had been an issue when he checked me out in Woodstock but it had never been a problem since.  So I kept flipping the switch back and forth.  After a frustrating amount of toggles I again could transmit!! The Evil switch!:

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Communication restored!

So at this point the pattern was clear as everyone knew the runway was closed.  So I joined the pattern and stayed at pattern altitude for the whole circuit.  I continued my position reports and monitored the progress as they cleared the plane form the runway.  After a little more than an hour the plane was off the runway, but not so fast.  The airport personnel needed to sweep the obvious FOD from the runway and then walk the complete runway to make sure no parts were on the runway that could affect runway traffic.  Another 30 minutes and the awesome announcement went out.  Runway is open for operation!  Of course I was the first in the pattern and soon I was announcing “Ercoupe 2756H is clear the active.  I taxied Woodstock back to my hangar started to put the plane “back in the barn”.  Soon several folks showed up to talk about the incident and help me push Woodstock back into his next.  Of course 90 minutes of Ercoupe chat (Woodstock makes friends everywhere he goes!) and a beer for several of the airport friends I was closing the hangar doors and contemplating my next steps.

This was October 15, 2017  Two days after my birthday and as it turns out the last day I would fly Woodstock that year.  I would have a number of distractions, finding a new job, going to the Copperstate Fly-in and having my hangar at FFZ inspected.  Also a mandatory visit of my AZ family.  Soon I would be focused on the new job, the holidays and the mostly horrible weather.  I also needed to renew my medical so I completed the requirements for “basic med” and attended the regional aviation conference at Pulayllup in February of this year (2018).  I’ll be posting more blogs on Reno, the Copperstate fly-in, basic med, and the aviation conference.  I also hope to share some other random experiences with Woodstock (ID plate for example) and some musings on my plan for ADS-B compliance.  Not to mention my plan to deal with the radio issues, a better battery, some bling,   Finally a look so far on what owning Woodstock is costing me.  I am slamming this blog out as I know I have a lot of catching up to do so please know it hasn’t been proofread much! 🙂

As I’m writing this Woodstock is nearly back together after its annual and I’ll be sharing how that went.  All is shaping up to be an wonderful year of flying!

I’ll share one last photo of Woodstock at Tacoma Narrows airport:

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Flew the Coupe! – Part 16 – A stuck valve and the rope trick!

Woodstock misbehaves!

Woodstock was now a three cylinder airplane.  This was the third time Woodstock had a stuck valve that I know of.  Just before I was heading down to inspect the plane the fellows selling it let me know it had a stuck valve and they were fixing it.  Here is a photo they sent me:

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After the first leg of the ferry flight from Compton to Seattle Dennie found that Woodstock had a stuck valve again.  That was in Bishop California.  Dennie found a local mechanic that unstuck the valve for $100.

Now I had a stuck valve again!  So I needed to find a mechanic.  There is a place at Auburn airport that called Cornerstone Aviation.  Greg is the mechanic there and I set up an appointment for him to sort it out.

So the day of the appointment arrived.  Greg quickly confirmed that it seemed to be a stuck valve.  I helped him take part of the cowling off to get access to the engine.  He figured out what cylinder it seemed to be.  And preceded to removed the spark plugs,  the valve covers of both cylinders on the passenger side of the engine and some baffling.  This seemed to be the same valve all three times it stuck.

Here is Woodstock stripped of those parts:

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Greg removed the valve spring and retainer of the valve that was stuck open.  He then removed the rocker arm pin.  Now it was time for the “rope trick”!

The Rope Trick

Greg pushed in some rope into the cylinder and using the prop to move the piston up pushed the valve closed.  This valve was very stuck!  He used some emery cloth to clean up the exposed part of the valve stem.  He then tried a small piece of cotton thread to the valve stem and tried to push the valve back into the cylinder.  It was really stuck!!  He had to tap it into the cylinder with a small mallet and a punch!  He then used a reamer attachment on an electric drill to try and clean up the guide.  He used that for some time and then went to pull the valve back into the guide. The he used the rope again to push it back closed.  It was still very stuck!

He needed to repeat this process several times.  Several times the thread broke and he needed to manipulate the valve through the spark plug holes to get the valve back in the guide.  After three more times repeating this process the valve finally moved freely in the guide.  Then it was time to put it all back together.

Well, not so easy!  We needed to get the rocker valve pin back but the valve lifters wouldn’t collapse.  So the pin was in tension and would not freely move!  Greg and I ended up having to lever and us a mallet and small punch to tap the pin back in place.  But we got it back.  Then Greg screwed the valve covers back and replaced the baffling.  He put the spark plugs back in and we lifted the rest of the cowling back in place.  A few more screws and Woodstock was back together!  Greg made an entry in my engine logbook and let me know he’d bill me.  A couple of weeks later I got a bill for $280.

I was heading off to the Reno Air Races so I didn’t have time to run the plane or test fly it.  I got back from the air races but I had some things related to finding a new job to do.  I did finally get out to the airport and ran Woodstock.  The engine ran on all cylinders but I thought there was a  new rattle.  So I didn’t fly it. I will go back out there soon and check everything around the engine to make sure everything is properly attached.

Questions remain!

So I am faced with some serious questions.  Are there other valve close to sticking?  Should I be doing something to prevent this from happening again.  Some folks swear you should add Marvel Mystery Oil to your oil, or gas, or both!  Other folks say that won’t help.  I am wondering if I should just have the same process done to the other exhaust valves?  If I was working I’d just pay to have the other valve guides cleaned up too.  But should I just worry about the exhaust valves?  I did dodge a bullet.  It happened to me on the ground at my home airport.  And the valve stuck open so it should not have damaged any other parts of the valve train.  But but could have been much worse!

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Flew the Coupe! – Part 15 – I Do some flying and a set back!

The Flying!

I have finally been able to fly my Ercoupe.  In fact I’ve made a $100 pie flight and a few days later the $100 breakfast!.  I friend even managed to take some great air to air photos of me in my plane.  Here I am after my first landing at Pt. Townsend airport.

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And my victory pie!

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Here are some great air to air photos of Woodstock:

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And the Setback!

After landing from the photo shoot flight Woodstock started running roughly.  Only three cylinders were firing!  I had the dreaded stuck valve!  I will talk about this in the next entry as WordPress screwed up my first attempt!

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Flew the Coupe! – Part 14 – I finally flew the Coupe!

I finally fly Woodstock!

This will be a short post but one I have waited a long time to share!  I finally got checked out and flew my Ercoupe.  I met up with the CFI that ferried Woodstock to Seattle from Compton to get him to fly it after the annual and then to check me out in the plane.  He said Woodstock flew great and there was no reason not to fly it myself.  With myself and him with like 3/4 fuel we were near gross weight.  So here is what I found.

Woodstock is easily off the ground in less than 1000 feet.  You can rotate most any speed after 60 MPH and by 70 it wants to fly!  With a full load it easily climbed out at 80 MPH and 5oo foot a minute climb.  In level flight it scoots right alone at well over 100 MPH.  Then it comes to landing.  Everything in Woodstock seems to like 80 MPH best.  Landing is simple.  Fly it down the runway and it will settle right in.  No problem  at all.  Crosswinds also not a problem.  Set down in a crab and you won’t even notice it straighten right out!

So it finally can fly my plane! Woot.

So I found a couple of things I need to sort out.  The trim lever kept creeping to nose down and if I were to fly often with a passenger I need to get a proper intercom.  But that’s about it. 🙂

Soon I hope to shift this blog to share the aerial adventures I soon will be having!  Here is a picture of me after my first flight in Woodstock.

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