In my last entry I caught us up to the New Mexico National Ercoupe Convention. I shared that life is what happens when you make plans. I have definitely had a year of life!
First, what is has happened and what is happening to Woodstock, the hero of much of the story as of late. When I got back from the convention I realized that I still needed to fly an hour to finish qualifying for my ADSB rebate. I also realized I had to do it before the end of the year. Early December I found a weather window and flew for a little over an hour near S50. I filed my flight report and got confirmation that I had successfully proven the function of my ADSB out. In fact the Stratus was performing exceptionally well. As Bill and Ted would say, EXCELLENT! A quick visit of the online FAA site and soon $500 would be mine!!
The joy of old records
The FAA site did not show that my airplane had an airworthiness issue date. Gah! Some email and some research as well as a few phone calls I learned I might have to have a new airworthiness certificate issued! My local FSDO had NO idea how to even do that. Argh!! But wait, I have the microfiche records for my airplane and there was clearly one issued in that. Why would that have changed? A few more phone calls and eventually the FAA agreed and updated my online records. It took about a week but in the end the FAA sorted it out. I want to say they were all very helpful and I came away very happy with my encounter. Several weeks later I got a check for $500. Woot!!
Earlier this year Woodstock breezed through another annual inspection. So he was ready for another year of adventure. I however was not. I needed a BFR.
I should also share that I attempted to get Ercoupe owners to meet at the PacNW aviation conference in Pulayllup, WA every February. That was a total failure. More on herding the cats that are Ercoupe owners later.
Michele visits an old friend
I contacted Dennie, the CFI who ferried Woodstock to WA from CA to schedule a BFR. He was now training in his Cherokee 140. I met him at S50 and we set about seeing if I still was not a hazard to myself or others. The 140 is a sweet little plane. I hadn’t flown one for 16 years but I quickly remembers why I liked them. A little over an hour later I was again good to fly for another 2 years.
Crest Airpark – A fun Local Fly in
A near by airpark had a fly in. I didn’t fly but I did drive. I had a great hamburger and got to enjoy a nice showing. Here are some photos of the Crest f;y in. I will be sure to fly there this year if they have it again.
Now Michele is distracted by life.
So I had the plane ready, I was ready, did I immediately go fly like crazy? Not exactly. I had been trying to find a new job and had finally landed one. As a result the less fun parts of my life began to be my focus. I did manage a short flight to have lunch at the Tacoma Narrows airport but that was all I managed. I did however set my sites on the Arlington Fly In used to be weekend after the 4th. It had now moved to the date usually reserved the the Concrete fly in, the weekend before Oshkosh. A couple of photos from that short flight:
Concrete Fly In
I wasn’t really comfortable landing at Concrete so I went for the first day with Olan. For some reason folks had decided to had 3 other major fly ins in the area on the same day. As a result the attendance at Concrete was no where near where it had been the previous year. I do hope this can be sorted out because this is a wonderful fly in. Here are some Concrete photos:
More Michele’s life
I had decided to move from the floating home I had lived on for the previous 16 years. So the search for a new house to rent began. So all my free time was now focused on “not flying” things. I did decided to carve some time off for at least one Ercoupe related thing. I decided to try and organize Ercoupes at the fly in. I contacted the Arlington organizers to see if they would set up a dedicated parking space for Ercoupes. I also contacted the PacNW Ercoupe owners using the EOC email list for this region to see if I could restart a long standing banquet the Saturday night of the fly in. Other than that it was heads down sorting out the new job, finding a new place to live and looking at what the logistics of moving meant.
The New Place Emerges
I finally found a great house with a huge shop on an acre near work and even closer to the hangar. Woot! This move was going to let me get back to doing a lot of things I had put on the back burner, like guitar and bass as I finally have a place for a band to practice. I also now have a huge workshop! I have plenty of parking so having friends over is no longer a hassle. I also would finally not have to worry about where I would have to park when I got home from work as this was becoming a huge problem.
So with the new place secured I needed to move. This would dominate almost all of my attention through September. I would not only need to move all the stuff out of my old house but I would also have to do something with my sailboats. More about the moving in a later blog.
A couple of shots from the new place:
So I was going to fly with a friend Olan as a “two ship” from S50 to Arlington early Friday, the first day of the event. We would camp there through the event and come back Sunday afternoon. I had arraigned for the dedicated parking space for Ercoupes and had printed out the sign to show the parking folks when we landed. So I headed out to the hangar early to allow myself time time to get the plane fueled and the GPS set up. Again, plans make the universe laugh. I got to the airport gate and realized I had left my keys at home. So there went all my spare time! I raced home and back to the airport just in time to see Olan taxing up to my hangar. As we both prepped for the flight I discovered that
a. my in plane GPS no longer worked as it looks like the aviation shop didn’t hook up the altitude encoder when they replaced that installing the new ADSB transpoder.
b. my tablet I brought as a back up also was not working properly.
So I would definitely be counting on Olan to navigate. Olan rightly was somewhat nervous about a 170/Ercoupe two ship he had his some to spot me and I agreed to a loose slight abreast and trail formation. Although we certainly were hardly a tight formation I was happy when everyone that spotted up identified us as a “two ship”. Very cool! We got the Arlington and was soon greeted by the parking crew. I showed them my sign but learned the spot they planned for the coupes was just the normal GA area. So I said please at least let me park with the vintage planes. The a very lucky thing happened. Woodstock was given a prime parking space at the “Red Barn” with the best of the vintage and classics! Olan was parked near the same area as well. I breathed a sigh of relief and set about the task of having a fun fly in for the first time in my life in my own airplane!
I took out my camping stuff, setup my tent and sat with Woodstock and started to enjoy talking with three days of solid interested fly in attendees about Woodstock and Ercoupes. Woodstock was definitely one of the most popular planes at the event.
Sadly only one other Ercoupe would arrive at the fly in the entire event and then only for part of a day. I did talk to at least one person who had hoped to fly in but their plane was not yet out of a recent restoration.
There were some very interesting planes at the fly in. There was a replica of “The Spirit of St. Louis” right there at the Red Barn with Woodstock!
I got to see the night time air show activities, the night drone display and the balloon glow at Arlington for the first time. I had never camped there overnight. I also was camped next to the place where they show the nightly movie too!
Ohh, did I mention that food and drinks were provided to all the owners of planes at the Red Barn? They were and I enjoyed great food the entire event!
Sunday rolled around, I pulled up camp and Olan I prepared to depart. The weather was not ideal and we were delayed waiting for the ceilings to life. Finally around 2:00 it looked like we had a window. Our plan was to “two ship” back to at least Renton where Olan is based. However we got separated as the parking crew had to hold him for other traffic and we got separated. So I flew alone back to S50 By the middle of the flight the weather was much better. I managed a competent landing and soon Woodstock was back in his nest. Interestingly as I closed the hangar doors something that happened at Arlington would reveal itself the next time I went to fly. All in all Arlington was simply a fantastic time. Here are a few photos at the event:
Time to fly some more but plans…
I had finally completed most the move and Olan and I decided we needed to fly out somewhere for breakfast. We met at the hangar and I started to pre-flight Woodstock. Oil, check, tire pressure, mains fine, nose wheel flat. No worries, fire up the compressor and air the tire. Hmmm, why is the air coming out of the tire as fast as I can put it in. After much loudly vocalized experiments in adult language it looked like a schrader valve issue. Not a problem, I am sure I have a tool for that here somewhere….. maybe, oh, all of my things are in boxes in my new shop. Ugh. So Woodstock would not be flying that day. Olan and I hopped into his 170 and we were off to a great Breakfast at Port. Townsend.
I got home and ordered a schrader valve repair kit from Amazon and I figured it was all sorted out.
The following weekend I was back to tackle the tire. When I looked closer I could see that somehow the valve stem itself was bent. Somehow at Arlington it must have gotten stepped on or somehow damaged. I would have to replace the tube. More research and more parts ordering.
I had heard that the tube and tire for the original sized nose wheel were rare and expensive. I easily found a new tune and it didn’t terribly expensive so I ordered one. Now I needed to figure out how to removed the wheel. It turns out the retainer nut is a slotted retainer that ideally needs a special tool. I found out I could NOT find a place to buy one but there were articles showing how to build one. I also learned you could maybe use a punch and a hammer and tap it on and off. I elected to do that.
So to be able to removed the nose wheel I have to have a way to get the nose wheel off the ground. I could not find an easy to use point to put a stand under the motor mount or nose wheel mount so I put some weigh on the tail on the identified pressure point in the horizontal stabilizer.
While removing the nose wheel it seemed like the wheel bearing had an excessive amount of slop. So I decided a new bearing was in order.
Once you have the nose wheel off it is easy to split but removing the tube and tire proved to be difficult. I ended up having to cut the old tube. I would later learn the is a trick to get the valve stem in and out of the wheel. It is long and strangely curved. As a result it takes some fiddling.
Soon it was all apart. All that remained was getting a new bearing and putting it all together. I found a nearby bearing house and I had a bearing coming with a estimated delivery about 8 days away. Turns out there a lots of them in stock but they are in Tennessee. So it was back to waiting.
I had all the parts and here are some shots of the process and the final result:
So Woodstock is back together. However I still haven’t flown him again. Weather has kept me grounded. The one good day I did get out to fly I discovered I’d let the battery go flat. My Odyssey battery takes a special charger which I have now purchased. In fact I expect to get out to the hangar tomorrow to hook it up. Of course Woodstock is about due for another annual inspection so I can’t guess when I’ll fly him again. But soon I hope.
I sort of rushed through this entry to get caught up. I am mostly through the worst of moving, settled into a great new job and this year should have some fun adventures. I hope to make it a habit to post at least twice a week going forward. Some things to look forward to are:
- The 2020 PacNW Aviation Conference
- Woodstock’s annual inspection
- My first 2020 Woodstock flight
- A couple of automobile projects and events I have in the works
- Some sailing
- Putting a band together
- Some aviation history – maybe an introduction to a YouTube channel
- The 2020 West Coast Lancia Reunion
Here are some photos to tease about things to come:
So sorry for the long dark period. I hope that won’t happen again!
Till next time!