The Blog is Back!

Welcome to the new, WordPress powered version of my RV-7 blog! After nearly 2 years without updates, the blog is alive again!

This site has been managed since the beginning with some blogging software called MovableType. The company that owns that made it closed-source several years back and my hosting company stopped supporting it. This meant the pages were visible, but I couldn’t log in and add new entries. After months of not having the time to deal with it, I finally found a company that would migrate all of the blog entries from MovableType to WordPress. After some additional cleanup, this is the result. There are a few things different about the new site:

  • Larger thumbnails
  • Image thumbnails now link to full-sized versions to make it easier to see details
  • Much better appearance on smart phones and tablets
  • Better organization and navigating of categories
  • Fixed countless grammar and spelling errors
  • Fixed all of the upside-down pictures

Please use the contact link at the top of the page to let me know if you find anything amiss with the new site.

Moved Hangars

We’ve been keeping our eyes open for a box hangar that would let us put our Bonanza and the RV in the same hangar. One came open at the Reid-Hillview Airport (KRHV) where we keep our Bonanza, so we grabbed it. I flew the RV up yesterday and had to shoot an LPV approach to just above minimums. That was the first low approach I’ve flown in the RV, and the autopilot flew it beautifully. ATC asked me to maintain best forward speed on the approach, so I flew the approach at 170KIAS until about 4 miles out. I still popped out on about a 1.5 mile final at 140KIAS. I kicked off the autopilot, chopped the power to idle and still had to do a full-rudder slip the whole way down final to get down to 70KIAS over the threshold.

I picked up a truck this morning, and with the help of a few buddies, we got all of the rest of the stuff from the old hangar moved over and set up.

The new hangar is 35’x50′, so there’s plenty of room for both planes. Even with both in place, there’s at least 3′ between the planes and enough room to comfortably walk around both of them.

We got my giant shelves set up and filled them with all of the stuff from both hangars. I still need to unpack and organize everything.

We also set up the back corner with a couch and recliner and our old TV and stereo.

My buddy Dan and I laid out and painted some lines so that we can ensure the planes go back into the same spots each time.

I set up my workbenches behind the wings of the RV which should work out well.

Turned on ELT

I was doing an inspection on the plane before the big trip to Oshkosh, and noticed that I’d never turned my ELT on!  I took care of that and then installed the safety cap that will prevent the switch from moving in an accident.

Phase 1 Complete!

I got up early this morning to wrap up my phase 1 flight test period.  Since I only needed one more hour, I didn’t have to get up quite as early as yesterday.  There was a 1700 ft overcast over the airport, but I found a hole and climbed through it.  I used the time to play around with the autopilot, testing editing flight plans, joining courses, etc.  After flying around for about 45 minutes, I descended through another hole and landed.  I taxied up to the hangar right as the hobbs meter rolled 40.0 hours.  I’m officially out of phase 1!

Almost Finished Phase 1

I got up at 4 this morning so that I could be airborne right at daybreak.  I got nearly 5 hours in before making it to work at about the same time I normally do.  I’m now only 1 hour shy of my 40 test hours.

Early Morning Flight

With Jenn needing to study all day, the only time I could fly was early.  I got up at 4:30 again and managed to get about 3.5 hours of flight time and still got home about the same time the kids got up.

One of the acro maneuvers I had not tried yet was spins with power.  At 7,000 ft, idle gave me about 5″ of manifold pressure, so I started with a spin and 10″ of manifold pressure.  The spin was faster and the nose came up slightly, but it was still very conventional.  I worked my way up in 5″ increments to full power (about 24″).  At full power, the spins have a much more pronounced hookup, and the rotation rate is impressive.  The nose also comes up quite a bit with that much prop wash over the tail driving it down.  It’s a fairly nauseating maneuver, so I don’t think I’ll be doing this with passengers.

Bird Strike

I went out for another really early flight this morning.  I dropped into​ Hollister for some pattern work and hit a bird during the flare to land.  I was planning on just a touch and go, but I stopped on the ramp and shut down to see if there was any damage.  This is what I found.  I pulled it out along with a couple of feathers I could reach through the inlet.  The neck was nearly severed and was just hanging on with a few tendons.  Satisfied that there was no damage, I launched again and headed back to South County for further inspection.

When I pulled the cowl and plenum, there were feathers everywhere.  Here’s a small one that stuck to some of the sealant on the injector line.

There were a couple stuck in various places behind the engine.  This is one of the long wing feathers that somehow made it back here.

There were a bunch of feathers down between the cylinder fins and stuck against the heater muff screen.  I’m glad I put a screen here since these could have found their way into the cabin.

There were also a bunch on the screen going to the oil cooler.  Much easier to clean here than pulling the oil cooler plenum.  There were also a couple of blood stains that required a bit of cleaning.  Overall, it was probably on 10-15 minutes to get it all out and there was absolutely no damage.  It could have been much worse.

More Flight Testing

With my wife wrapping up her Master’s degree in less than two weeks, it’s been hard finding daylight hours in which to fly.  Since the days are getting longer, I decided to take advantage of the earlier sunrise to get some flying in in the morning when Jenn and the kids are asleep anyway.  I got up at 4:30 this morning and was down at the airport by 5:30.  Sunrise was at 6:13, so it was starting to get light by that point.  I was able to get airborne by 5:45 or so and fly until around 7 before heading home to help get the kids ready for school.  I’m sure I’ll be tired early enough tonight that I can get to sleep early and do this again tomorrow.