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!
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:
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:
- Replace my ELT battery
- Add some sealing to my engine baffling
- Get a better battery
- 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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.