Flew the Coupe! – Part 11- A big milestone, a conference and more

Legal to fly again!!

So I finally managed to become a legal pilot again.  After 8-ish hours and many many landings in a Cessna 172 I got a CFI to sign off my BFR.  With that I am a legal pilot in the eyes of the FAA.  That means I shouldn’t have to do that again for another two years.  Probably longer because I expect to add some to my ratings in the form of a tail wheel endorsement or a seaplane rating.  Doing that resets the two year clock.   Here I am with my freshly endorsed log book!


So a big step completed!  Now I need to do a check out with Woodstock, my Ercoupe and after that my adventure really begins!

The Annual Aviation Conference in the PacNW


Every year there is a national aviation conference in the greater Seattle area.  Puyallup, WA to be more specific.  So I attended Saturday of the two day event.  I attended a couple of sessions, one on air racing in the 30’s and 40’s in the U.S. sponsored by the Historic Flight Foundation. It was very enjoyable.  Here are a couple  of the racing planes discussed:

Laird Super Solution

full size replica RT-14

I also attended a session on the most common insurance claims in the General Aviation world.  It turns out hangar doors and tow bars are evil!  Also not running out of gas turns out to be a good idea.  The session was informative and even inspired me to go out and make sure there wasn’t anything in my hangar that could injure my Ercoupe Woodstock.

There was a session about a new program the Washington Department of Transportation is putting together to let pilots track all the different Washington airports they have visited and then get rewards when they have visited a specific number of them.  This will be a lot of fun and should be launched in 2018.  If you get the top level you could end up with a free flight jacket! 🙂

The final session I remember was about ice. Airplanes and ice are not a good combination unless its ice in a drink after a great day of flying!  Here is an example of airplane icing:



So the rest of the time I wondered around the convention floor to see what all the vendors and organizations were promoting.  Here is what that looked like:

IMG_20170225_172315881_HDR (1)

I didn’t find anything to buy.  I had hoped maybe I’d find someone there I’d like to hire to do a new interior in my plane but I didn’t see anyone there I would consider.  I did get a couple of calendars of this years fly ins and other aviation events.  This year should be a great year for me returning to flying.  I now have several “must attend” fly ins in 2017.  This include:

  • Paine Field Aviation Day
  • Arlington Fly In
  • Concrete Washington Fly In
  • Wings over Republic fly in (these guys always handle out awesome apples!)
  • Hood River Fly in (I probably have to miss this one to go to Reno instead)

I also paid to become a “premium” FATPNW group.  This is program that has an annual fee and gives the members a number of discounts for products and services related to aviation.  So with that I have become member number 50.


After Saturday I went to a party at Spencer aviation and had some wonderful BBQ and an adult beverage or two.


All in all the convention was as always a great way to get charged up for the upcoming flying season here in the pacific northwest.

Another way to spend money!

So it is time for my plane to get its annual inspection.  I have opted to do an “owner assisted” inspection.  The FAA lets the owner of the airplane do a lot of the basic parts of the yearly inspection.  This can save a lot of money.  So I’ve been asked to remove the interior, the cowling and wing fairings in preparation of the actual mechanic coming out to do all the legally required inspection and any work as a result of what the mechanic finds.  This yearly requirement can be intimidating as the costs can be high.  I know folks that have spent in excess of twenty five thousand dollars to get this yearly mechanic sign off.

I specifically bought the plane I did as it is a type of plane that is known for having lower cost annual inspections.  So I am crossing my fingers that nothing expensive is found.  I am hoping that I spend less than one thousand dollars.  I expect my next blog will be about that annual inspection experience.  I pulled out Woodstock to organize the hangar.  Here it was out in front of my hangar last Sunday:


Last Sunday I started the process by buying some tools,  organizing the hangar to make some more room around the plane and then removing the cowling.  I wanted to remove the wing fairings but they are held on by a type of flat head screw that no screwdriver I have ever seen would fit.  Here is the mysterious screw, it seems have a very narrow straight slot:


So I need to find a specialty screw driver of modify one to be able to remove those panels.

In organizing the hangar I may have also run across mouse droppings!  Rodents can get into a plane and their waste can cause enough corrosion to make a plane damaged beyond repair.   So I have to learn if I really have a rodent problem.


Another curiosity.  I need a special tool to be able to service my plane’s spark plugs.  It is some sort of “pin wrench”.  The folks that helped sell me the plane sent me home with what we thought was the right tool but it turns out to be for something else.  So my friend Olan made something in the mean time that should work while I go on a quest for the correct tool.  Here is the spark plug can and the wrong wrench:


One other thing I did last Sunday was learn more about polishing aluminum.  My friend Olan owns a wonderful polished Cessna 170 and he gave me some pointers.  Olan’s Cessna 170:


We did a small section of the horizontal stabilizer.  We found what looked to be a bird dropping and I was surprise out how much corrosion it caused!  But once we got that cleaned off I found my plane is going to polish up like a jewel!  The previous owner did a fantastic job re-skinning most of my plane and the keeping the metal in awesome shape.  I can’t wait to polish the whole thing up and share some pictures!  Here is the small section after just a little polishing:


Finally a decision or two but a few remain!

So I will be going with Airtex for the new interior for my plane.  I will order it once I am sure there is no giant expense in my future as a result of the annual inspection.

I am still wanting to add shoulder harnesses to my plane but another thing I didn’t find was a company that offered those for the Ercoupe.  So I will see of the fellow doing my annual inspection has any ideas.  Same goes for a couple of minor things I’d like to do electrically to my plane.

So that it for now, I’m a legally a pilot again!  My plane is getting its annual loving from a mechanic.  I’m hoping I won’t end up broke when that’s over.  I have some great plans for enjoying being a pilot again in 2017!

The future is heading this way and I can’t wait for it be get here!





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