Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I go through flight instructors faster than Britney Spears goes through husbands.

Well I got a new instructor, but thats old news as he didn't quite work out. Unfortunately he wasn't comfortable flying a cherokee or into my airport so after one flight he suggested I fly with another pilot who had more experience in cherokees.
Unfortunately this new instructor is more expensive but it looks like he is worth every penny. He is a class 1 instructor with tons of cherokee time.
First flight with him was ok but given the new instructor I was really nervous and didn't put on my 'A Game'. It is really awkward flying with someone new, especially with a differant personality type than what you are used to. Differant people have different expectations and that makes for a very intimidating environment.
Today being my second flight (I was supposed to fly Friday but we had to cancel due to weather) was much more relaxed and comfortable. It is amazing the different perspective another person could provide. Runway 07 at springwater has always sort of been the bane of my existence. No matter what I did I could not beat this landing into submission. Today after a few circuits and plenty of pointers things started making sense. I was no longer hacking away at the controls trying to slam the airplane in the ground in some sort of controlled method, but am now planning a head and keeping everything tighter. My new instructor seems to be overall happy with my general level of skill but is pushing me for more.
Now please don't think that this was any inadequacy on my old instructors part, he provided a solid foundation to build on and I do look to him as a mentor of sorts. He recently got hired at Porter airlines and will be back in Southern Ontario more frequently. Hopefully I will get to fly with him again.
I am really excited about my new instructor. It seems like I will finally finish off my license, I am getting ready to write my TC exam, I re-wrote my PSTAR (my old one expired with my medical) and I have my medical exam scheduled for tomorrow. I just have to get all my ducks in a row and I can see the finish line a head of me.
I have flights scheduled every Tuesday and Friday and will schedule more as frequently I can. I dont want to jinx it, but I may actually be able to finish this damn thing!
I will try to update this more often. Stay tuned!
Niss "I Got My Fingers Crossed!" Feiner

Monday, June 23, 2008

Annual Inspection.....OOOOOHHHHH SKEERY!

Well it is time to outline the plight of our aviator/aircraft owner. C-FUBC is out of annual and ready to soar with the eagles!

Keeping in spirit of my blog I will post what work was done on UBC just as a snippet of information for the would be aircraft owner.

This has not been the most expensive annual and has not been my cheapest. It has certainly been the most enlightening. This time round was far more comprehensive with my mechanic as he took the time to go over everything and give me his opinion of what needed to be done, what I can do, and what can be deffered.

Work Report for Piper Cherokee 130 S/N: 28-21375 C-FUBC

Airframe: Tach Time: 2370.77 Hobs time 2404.4 TTSN 5728.8

Engine: TSN: 4768.6 TSO: 1954.8

Propeller: TSN: 1141.2 TSO: 0.0

  1. Total Time Since New Hours 5728.8 hrs.
  2. Emergency locator transmitter Model found installed. AC Model E-01 S/N 030496 Next recertification is due May 2009. replace Battery: Due May 2010*
  3. External ELT location placard installed.
  4. All required placards per the Type Certificate TData Sheets and Pilots Operating Handbook found installed.
  5. Researched Airworthiness Directives to date from Transport Canada (CAWIS) Dated May 16, 2008 up to AD2006-03-08.
  6. Compass Swing Record: (*On Actual sheet but removed from this post)
  7. Tachometer Accuracy (A/C Tach. Eng: 1700 / 2000, Master Digital Tach. 1710/2000).
  8. Fire Extuingisher installed. Flag model. ABC-025 S/N 118053C Recertified.
  9. First Aid Kit found installed that conforms to CARS 602.60 AWMs 624.39.
  10. 100 Hour inspection / Annual inspection of the complete airplane is maintained in accordance with CAR’s 625, Appendix B, Part 1 and Appndix C as applicable. Piper Inspection Sheet is Used as A guide only.

Airframe Work Completed

  1. Found vertical play in engine throttle. Found throttle cable loose at dash. Tightened nut.
  2. Serviced landing gear oleos.
  3. Lubricated landing gear and all components.
  4. Topped up air in tires: 24psi.
  5. Battery Box had corrosion in it. Removed all and painted with battery box black paint.
  6. Cabin Door Pins loose. Installed new door pins. P/N MS20492-3C13 X2
  7. Red Oil Stain from parking brake. Found to be old. System is not leaking.
  8. Cabin Vent Bracket at pilot feet broken. Repaired with new rivets. P/N CR32123-4-1 X2
  9. Vacuum and Regulator filters replaced. P/N RAD9-18-1 X1, P/N RAB3-5-1 X1.
  10. Some rust on nut of antenna in tail. Removed rust.
  11. Bracket that holds brake line on right side is loose. Tightened bolt.
  12. Small play in right aileron rod end bearing. Checked serviceable. Need to check at next annual.
  13. Removed dead bird in tail section.
  14. Rudder horn rust forming on it. Removed all rust and painted with epoxy primer gray.
  15. Trim drum for elevator has loose bushing. Replaced. P/N 450-413 X1.
  16. Lubricate all cables and pulleys and pivoting points.
  17. Cleande electric pump screen.
  18. Cleaned fuel bowl. Installed new gasket. P/N 462.049 X1.
  19. Drained Carb and found no water. Lockwired plug back in.

Engine Specific Work Completed

  1. Oil leak from rocker cover #3. Replaced new gasket.
  2. Installed new engine air filter. P/N BA3 X1.
  3. Removed engine oil and oil screen. Checked for metal. None found. Put 7 quarts of W100 in. Owner supplied 5. Oil W100 X7.
  4. Couple of teeth on ring gear in rough shape. Filed sharp edges off.
  5. Missing fastener on engine baffle. Installed new bolt.
  6. Checked mag timing. All is ok.
  7. Upper Exhaust clamp is close to rudder rod for steering. Adjusted clamp so it isn’t near steering rod.
  8. Rocker covers removed for 400hrs inspection. Reccomended by piper and because engine is going “on condition”. All checked and new gaskets installed. P/N SL75906 X4.
  9. Put Lycoming engine additive in.
  10. Compression test cold #1 75/80 #2 72/80 #3 75/80 #4 72/80.
  11. Vacuum pump bolt a little loose. Tightened as required.
  12. Mag timing checked ok.
  13. Engine hoses checked ok at this point in time.

Propeller Specific Work Completed

  1. Prop sent to Leavens for 5 year corrosion inspection. Installed propeller. Torqued to specs in MM and lockwired bolts. Work Order #81-0113.

Recurring Airworthiness Directive Compliance Work Completed

AD69-22-02 Failure of control wheel – c/w using AD. No defects found. Next inspection due June 2009.

AD70-16-05 Cracks in muffler – C/w using AD. No Defects found. Next inspection due June 2009.

AD95-26-13R1A Oil Cooler Hose Ruptures – C/W using AD. No defects found. Next Inspection June 2009.

AD CP90-03R2 Exhaust type cabin heater –C/W using AD. No defects found. Next inspection Due June 2000.

Lycoming O-320-E2AS/N L-15941-27A is “ON CONDITION”

- Compression test needs to be done every 25 hrs.

- Run Engine to see if pulls full RPM every 25 hrs.

- Oil and filter needs to be changed every 50 hrs.

- Pilots need to notify mechanics on oil consumption.

- Oil analysis done yearly. Start of the year and at end of the year to see if there is much difference.

I have not received the detailed invoice yet but will certainly update you with the costs of this annual.

A few things I wanted to mention with this one. This time round my mechanic made me a snag list that we went through. He started by asking how I wanted the annual conducted; in accordance with Transport Canada’s requirements or in accordance with Piper’s recommendations. As the manufacturers list is much more involved and detailed it is substantially more money to perform. That said I certainly want a safe and well running airplane. So I informed him that I would like TC’s requirement as the minimum and I would like to see Piper’s recommendations. The idea being that we can keep an eye on what piper recommends and replace it little by little.

Par example: Piper recommends that the oil hoses be replaced every 5 years whether physically required or not. Well my hoses are considerably older then the 5 year recommendation but are still quite serviceable. There for we decided that we would note Pipers recommendation and consider replacing the hoses next year. I still have a safe a/c but can anticipate replacing said hoses.

Another issue is the overall time of the engine. TBO (Time Before Overhaul) on my engine is 2000 hrs and at 1954.8hrs it is getting close. The term “On Condition” only really applies to commercial aircraft in Canada but it is prudent to run my Private engine through the same gauntlet. Keeping an eye on it is not only a safe thing to do, but is important to protecting your investment. A factory overhaul is ~$25,000.00. Yikes!

I also change the oil every 25hrs, which is more frequently then recommended.

There is also the issue of corrosion. The paint is flaking off in some areas and I need to get out to the airport sometime to give it a touch up. The skin is Aluminum so oxidization on that isn’t so much the concern. However there are a few steel parts that attach to the aluminum (ie. Brackets, step, etc.). These need to be properly protected against the elements. I anticipate bringing the camera with me and document my beautification process.

Worth noting in this blog is the issue coming up in February regarding the ELTs. I am tired from typing everything so I think I will add this in another entry soon.

All in all I am looking at about $3100.00 for this annual between my partner and myself. Not too bad. Atleast it wasn’t a surprise!

On a very happy note.....I FINALLY WENT FLYING! After over a year of being on the ground with my eyes aimed skywart I finally got to punch a hole in the sky! I went up with a pilot buddy of mine. We got some gas at CNB9 (Lake Simcoe regional) and did a lap there. He flew us there, I flew 1 circuit, and home. I came in a high and hot but the oleos didn't shoot through the top of the wing and I am typing so it wasnt too bad. Trust me there is much more to come! Awesomeniss.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

BRAINS! BRAINS! BRAINS! Thats right, I am back from the dead!

Well if anyone actually reads this thing I am sure you guys missed me! I am back!
Why the haiatus you ask? Well remember my last post where it says I got a moped? Well that one didnt pan out so I bought another one. And subsequently I crashed it resulting in a snapped Ulna & Radius which resulted in open reduction surugry, which resulted in 3 months of recovery. Yay! So after 2 stainless steel plates, 11 screws, countless months of screwing the pooch in the ways of finding a flight isntructor after being screwed over by my last one (the one who stood me up for 4 flights in a row, not the good one before him) I finally have another instructor! Hells Yeah! And if it goes well I might even remember how to fly an airplane. So assuming this pans out ladies and gentlemen I will have more content up for those who want to learn how to fly or own an airplane. Soon I will take to the skies. At the moment I am sitting at 36.5 hrs total time 4.7 of which is PIC time. Mid to end of next month UBC will be in the hanger for her annual and hopefully I will get some time on the tools.

So please ensure that your tray table is up and your seats are in their upright and locked position.

Yours Truely,

Capt. Niss

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Yet another cancelled flight......

My instructor got down from another flight about an hour late so no joy yesterday. This is incredibly frusterating, being between instructors then getting one and missing the first three flights! Damn TC and Damn The CARS, I have half a mind to say F*ck it and just go flying myself.... of course I wont but Jeezus! Oh well whats new and interesting? On Saturday I got to go down to MEC (YAY!) and on the way I saw a panhandler with the greatest sign I ever seen! I asked him if I could take a pic, and he said but aslong as I put some good $ in his cup. I gave him a $5 and took the pic. Read his sign. It was well worth it!
Yesterday when I was waiting around for my instructor I decided to evict some unwanted tennants from the back of my A/C. I found a birds nest in the tail cone and the horizontal stabilizer was coverd in bird crap. Off went the tailcone and got what I could of the nest out till I saw this:
In this pic you will se a nest of (dead) baby birds. The grosest part for me was that it looks like they were still waiting for the mom to bring them food. So now I get to pop off the bottom tailcone too and scoop them out with a coat hanger. The joys and thrills of owning an aircraft. Maybe I can get my partner to do it? I better get it done before it starts to fill the cabin with an unpleasant smell. Not a job I am looking forward to. Imagine, not only am I pissed off that I am not flying but now I know I have to deal with dead rotting baby birds in the back of my plane.
On a bright note I got a motorcycle, oh yea a big chopper with a nice deep rumble and a suicide shift.......actually its a moped and it barely runs yet. For some info on what is required for it to be a moped click here http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/vehicle/emerging/index.html#motor. I am learning as I go along small engine mechanics, but still need pleanty of help. It looks like even though he completely bastardized the ignition system (Used to come with a 4 point genorator, and replaced it with a magneto from a chainsaw) I managed to clean the contacts reset the timing and get a good spark. My bike is a 1979 Jawa Babetta. This Czechoslovakian beauty set me back $100.00 and what ever it costs to get her running to a good point. So far this is my list of things I need:
-New Carburetor(ordered Delloroto 14/12)
-New Brake Shoes (Need to find 85mm Brake Shoes)
-Twist grip throttle
-Connect Brake Cable and Decompressor Cable
-New Muffler
-I may need to adjust the clutch so it connects at a lower RPM for easier starting.
-Move Gas Tank or replace with nicer or original.
Unfortunatly since the fall of the USSR Jawa parts have been hard to come by and are a little pricy. So Ill just get what I can and force the rest to fit! :D
Ill write more later about the problems I encountered and my solutions. If anyone has any moped advice or anything like that I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No Flight Today....GRRRR....

Well I got myself a new instructor and we were scheduled to fly today. Unfortunately he had to be called away to some other pressing business, but even more unfortunately, I neglected to give him my cell number so I sat around the airport for a bit snapping pics of some pretty airplanes waiting for my lesson to start. No big loss, I found out soon enough and I spent some time looking over UBC and the journey log. In my last entry I listed the parts that went on UBC during the annual and didnt really know what they were. Fortunately in the Journey there is an entry by my mechanic that addresses where the parts went and what they were.

-Found main tires to be in bad shape. Installed new main tires and tubes. (Tire 6.00X6X6TT Air Hawk QTY 2, Tube 6.00X6 Tube QTY 2)
-Installed new instrument and vacuum filters. (Instrument RA-D9-18-1 QTY 1, Vacuum RA-B3-5-1 QTY 1)
-Brake linings worn. Installed new linings. (Brake lining RA-66-106 QTY 4, Rivet RA105-00200 QTY 8)
-Nut on nose landing gear in poor shape. Replaced with new. (Nut 404 101 QTY 1)
-Cowl screws all rusted and stripped. Installed new ones. (Screw AN32R10 QTY 45)

-Engine compression test, hot: #1 70/80, #2 75/80, #3 70/80 #4 72/80.
-Removed Oil Filter and checked for metal contaminates. Non found, installed new filter (Filter CH48103-1 QTY 1)
-Drained engine oil and replentished with 7 U.S. Quarts of Aeroshell W100.
-Altenator belt in bad shape replaced with new. (Belt 37B19774-341 QTY 1)
-Spark plugs in bad shape. Replaced all with new. (Spark Plug REM40E QTY 8)
-Found rocker cover gaskets leaking. Installed all new ones. (Gasket SL75906 QTY 4)
- All Engine hoses checked and are servicable until next inspection.

Every annual (and now every 25hrs) the cylinders get checked for compression. The best I understand (and anyone can correct me on this) is that they fill the cylinders with 80 pounds of air and see how much it will hold within a set amount of time. So from what I understand the #3 cylinder leaked 10pounds of air, but that is still quite good. The reason we need to do a compression test every 25 hours is because the engine is "on condition" this term realistically from a legal standpoint only extends to commercial operation but on a private level just means that the engine should be watched after extra hard. The Lycoming engines go on condition after the TBO (Time before overhaul) in this case 2000 hrs, or 12 years after manufacture. These engines are known to run easily run into the 3000 hrs and are done quite often, but its just Lycomings way of telling you if you dont overhaul the engine they have nothing to do with it if your plane falls out of the sky. Now everyone should baby the engine anyway but when on condition you have to be extra careful. Think of it as your grandma. Your grandma may be one of those extreme fit ladies who are still jogging and going crazy at her old age, but she still better go in for more frequent check ups to make sure that hip isn't gunning to snap on her.

On my annual report it says:
Lycoming O-320-E2A S/N :-15941-27A is going "ON CONDITION" as of this annual. -Compression test needs to be done every 25 hrs. -Run engine to see if it pulls full rpm, every 25 hrs. -Oil and filter needs to be changed every 50 hrs. -Pilots need to notify mechanics on oil consumption.

So you can see that the mechanic is reccomending increased inspections to ensure proper care of the engine and that way if anything starts to go we can catch it before it becomes a catastrophic failure. I allready do regular oil changes every 25 hours, but during that I do not change the filter. The reason being is that it isn't like a regular car filter cartridge. On this particular engine it is a filter screen in the oil sump area. You have to be a licensed mechanic to pull this. So I plan on doing my oil change every 25hrs and every 50hrs have the mechanic pull the screen while I have it drained.

On the annual they also go through Airworthiness Directives (ADs) that get issued by the manufacturer. Basically these are reocurring potential problems that are checked at each Annual (or 100hr) inspection to make sure that it isn't just waiting to fail.

From my inspection report

-AD 69-22-02 Failure of control wheel - C/W using AD. No defects found. Next inspection due April 08 or at 5824.2.
-AD 70-16-05 Cracks in muffler -C/W using AD. No defects found. Next inspection due April 08 or at 5824.2
-AD 95-26-13R1A Oil cooler hose ruptures - C/W using AD. No defects found. Next inspection due April 08 or at 5824.2.
-AD CF90-03R2 Exhaust type cabin heater - C/W using AD. No defects found. Next inspection due April 08 or at 5824.2.

The last one and the second is an important point. Many GA cabin heaters are a heat exchanger shroudes that go around the muffler. When the cabin heat vent is opened, air goes through the heat exchanger shroud heating up the air with the heat from the muffler and going into the cabain. Quite an effective and efficient way of heating the cabin. Unfortunately these systems are known to crack and introduce CO (Carbon Monoxide) into the cockpit. CO being a colourless, odourless, poisonus gas is quite dangerous and is created by incomplete combustion. This gas will cause drowsiness, eratic behaviour, eventually loss of conciousness, and eventually death. Many a pilot has succomed to CO and fallen asleep with the a/c making its way to Terra Firma. This is exactly why we have littl CO detectors in the aircraft. These CO detectors are to be replaced every 18 months, but I think I will do it every annual, just to be sure.

Well that ends this entry. I apologise for the length but I thought if anyone actually cares they might find this interesting.

Untill next time, keep on rocking in the free world.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cha Muther&*$#ing Ching!

Well my partner and I budgeted for roughly $2500 - $3000 for our annual. Our annual in May of 06 set us back $2000. This time I asked for new tires and to replace the gaskets on the rocker covers as they were leacking a little oil. Well at the end of the annual I was stairing down the business end of a $4600 bill. Aint flying grand? Well close to 5 grand actually.
Just to run you through the work that was done on my a/c.
7 qts of Aeroshell 100 - 48.65
45 Misc bolts - 63.00
1 Nut - 3.15
1 Pneumatic Filter - 29.50
1 more Pneumatic Filter - 12.15
8 Spark Plugs - 385.20
2 Main Tires - 263.88
2 Main Tire Tubes - 206.92
4 Rocker Cover Gaskets 14.95
4 Break Pads - 49.28
8 Brake Rivets - 1.70
1 Belt - 63.05
1 Plate (?) - 105.96
ELT Battery & Recertification & S/H - 289.00
48 hrs of labour @ 65.00/hr = 3120.00
Now I am grateful that my mechanic takes such good care of me, he has been very honest with me in the past, and looks out for my best interest (I used to work for him). As you may have noticed a few of these items were not exactly part of my snag list (I requested tires, tubes and gaskets) but were done anyway. I am happy to have fresh plugs and breaks but unfortunately this was an unexpected installation. As far as I could remember the plane started and stopped ok, but new is better than old in many cases.
The way they found out I needed new plugs is by using a spark plug tester like this one. What it does is when connected to electricity and compressed air it will simulate spark in the cylinder. You can adjust the simulated RPM by increasing the pressure and moniture the spark. My spark plugs performed fine at Idle (800-1000RPM) but when taken above that the spark weakens and eventually disappears. What this means is that I am not burning the fuel air mixture in the cylinders the best I could. This means that I may not be getting the best power, it may lead to spark plug fouling, etc. Its best to have a good spark. So I now have 8 new spark plugs in my plane. For those of you whom arent in the know my PA28-140 has a Lycoming O-320-E2A producing 150hp, it means that my engine is horizontally opposed as indicated by the 'O' and 320 cubic inches. The E2A is simply a model number that would change depending on the accessories on the engine. My engine is 4 cylinders but we have 8 plugs run off magnetos for a few reasons:
1) More complete combustion, cleaner burning, more power, etc.
2) Saftey in redundancy, there are 2 magnetos each running 4 plugs, should the electrical system fail, the engine keeps spinning because of the magneto, should one magneto go, I can still fly the sucker.
When they got to the breaks apparantly they were worn down quite a bit, so we got new pads to keep me from going off the end of the runway.
I do not mind my mechanics intrest in my safety and my a/c at all however I do wish in the future that they ask me for authorization to perform such replacements. This was an extra $1500 that I was not expecting. Atleast I could have talked to my partner about it and decided if we wanted to go through with it. Obviously its better to have fresh stuff on the plane but it started and stopped just fine before the annual. We probably could have gone another few months or even a whole year. Oh well live and learn.
On a whole I am very happy with the work my mechanic has done, I have no complaint about the price or quality of the work. I just wish in the future I could have had more warning. Next annual I hope to be able to help with it so I can get a more intimate look at my airplane and also have to let my mechanic know I want to be contacted before new parts go in the a/c.
Tomorrow I have a flight with my new instructor, Ill report on how it went.
Adios Amigos!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I can't even open a popcan because of this nail biting experience.

Its annual inspection time..........booourns. For those of you who arent in the know an Annual Inspection is just that, its an inspection carried out once a year on the entire aircraft to make sure that if for somereason you plummet from the sky, its more or less your fault as the pilot then the aircrafts fault.
Generally speaking an annual inspection isn't described in hours or work done, it's described in money. For instance. My last annual didnt take 50 man hours to complete, it took $1300 to complete. Annuals are a scary time for owners as they bring about the unknown. $1300 is good as that coveres the labour and some material (gasket & seat rail, fluids, etc.), so UBC is basically a healthy little airplane. However the reason the annual inspection is so nerve wrecking for most owners is because this brings out the unknown issues, along with their unknown costs. Planes arent like cars, they cant usually be safely operated with an "Ill get to it later attitude", sometimes things need your attention and your wallet right away. The Annual Inspection is carried out in accordance with CARS 625 and takes (if all goes well) about a week and around $1000 - $1500. Fortunately I have a partnership, so my partner and I bear the costs equally.
This season we are putting new tires on it as they are getting quite worn, and have a few cracks. I would rather spend the $300 - $500 on replacing the tires, then replacing what ever needs to be replaced because they blew on landing.
Ill keep you posted on how the annual goes, and hopefully tomorrow I will take some more pictures of the naked interior.
Oh, and it should be worth noting that this isnt a cost that I choose to do, this isnt an upgrade or anything, this is a simple cost of operation, the annual must be done, whether the aircraft flew or not.
Niss "I cant scratch anymore" Feiner