2013 Updates

Late February of 2013.  I took the KR out for a nice warm up flight and was once again so pleased with the way this plane flies, and the way this engine runs.  I have a number of updates I'd like to do to the plane, but just can't stand to ground a plane that flies so nice.  By afternoon, that tune had changed.

I pulled the plane in to start on what should have been a quick and easy annual inspection.  First thing was to do a quick compression differential check.  Nearly perfect, 79/80, 78/80, 79/80, and 58/80.  What?  That can't be right!  I checked a little closer and the news was not good.  It was leaking past the rings.  That does explain why the engine has been  pushing a bit more oil than expected.  One of these tired old  +.015 over cylinders has finally given up.  Surely it must be a broken ring.  I pulled the cylinder and saw nothing obviously wrong.  But measuring the cylinder, it has gone well beyond service limits and was showing some cylinder wall distortion.  It's time for new cylinders.

So, I got in contact with my friends at Aircraft Specialties and ordered a new set of Superior cylinders and a set of O-200-D pistons (8.5:1 compression rather than the 7.0:1 compression in the O-200-A).  Wow!  That was a surprise.  I didn't think Continental was going to make those pistons available.  I got into a real snag with the rings as Continental changed the top ring in the D pistons, then made them pretty much unavailable.  Finally resolved it by having my friend Doug machine the top ring groove to fit the ring set from the C-75 through O-200-A ring set. 

Now that the plane is already down for major maintenance, it's time to do all those little things I've been thinking about ever since the last major refit in 2005.

Instrument Panel

March 30 -  Empty out the instrument panel to get access to the wiring to make numerous modifications and
to add some additional instrumentation, breakers and switches.

OK, let's just start from scratch with a new panel.

April 3 - Cut out the new panel and lay out the instruments from the cad drawing above.

April 4 - Used 2 1/4" and 3 1/8" GreenLee Punches to punch out the instrument holes.

April 5 and 6 - Continued to punch and drill holes.  This is tedious work.  Primed new panel with light gray
polyester primer.  The two slots cut into the panel are for a pair of cables that mount into the panel that would
require major surgery to the plane in order to remove so I can insert them through the panel.  The left slot is
for the starter cable while the right slot is for the cabin heat control.  I cut a slot to the cable hole, then will
clamp down onto a couple of hardened area washers that are also slotted to fit over the cables.  

April 7 - Panel painted battleship gray for background.

April 10 - Mounted the new panel into the plane.

April 11 - Time to start populating the new panel with breakers and switches.  The first thing is to get the
electric system and wiring back together again.

April 13 - Populated the instrument panel and finished the electrical.  The ALT and VSI are both still out to give
me access to do some wiring to install a new WigWag unit.  I sent yet another WigWag up in smoke as the
LED in the toggle switch apparently creamed the FETs in the WigWag.  I ordered a more robust Whelan unit.
The two red buttons above and to the right of the mixture control are to open and close the cowl flap.

April 20 - Instrument panel is finally complete and the canopy is back on.  I replaced the previous WigWag
module with a  Whelen UHF2150Q High Beam Flasher.  This has lots of bells and whistles and is intended
for police cruisers.  You can cut about half of the wiring off and use it as a simple WigWag unit.  Much more
robust than the ones from Parahelion that I keep sending up in smoke.  At issue was the LED lights on the toggle
switches.  When the WigWag was on the LEDS in the two landing light switches would bias on and provide a
ground path that smoked the previous unit and caused this one to trip the 20A breaker.  The final solution was
to use 3 100 ohm resisters with one on the ground lead for the LED in the individual left and right landing light
switches, then Y the two ground leads together and put another resister in the ground lead after the Y.  The LEDs
still light properly when the switch is on, but the resisters prevent cross feeding power back through the LEDs and
the grounds, which is what caused the previous unit to go up in smoke and this unit to trip the breaker.  I highly
recommend the Whelan unit as it is simply more robust when it comes to having something weird like the LEDs
providing a ground path.  I was able to find it on the web for $50, including shipping.  It is also much heavier than
the Parahelion unit, but doesn't go up in flames when something goes wrong.

Update:  I used the same resister set up on the LED switches in my other plane that still has the Parahelion WigWag  unit.  This worked
just great to keep the LEDs from providing a quick ground path and sending the WigWag to the great smoke collector in the sky.

The final version of the instrument panel.

July 14, 2014 Update

July 14, 2014 - A new switch has been added to the panel.  ADS-B.  I installed a 5 Amp circuit breaker and switch.  At the other end is a
SkyGuard Vision-Pro ADS-B unit.  All I had to do was supply power and ground.  With a wood and glass aircraft, all the antennas could
be mounted under the turtle deck and it talks to my iFly 720 GPS via WiFi.  

Installation was pretty straight forward.  Just supply power and ground.  Plug the WAAS GPS puck into the unit.  Plug in the 978 MHZ and
1090 MHZ antennas.  Mount and plug in the ADS-B Out antenna.  Install the WiFi antenna (tiny nub on the front of the unit).  Turn on the power.  
The control panel for the unit automatically showed up under Menu on my iFly unit, so I plugged in my ICAO number, N number, and squawk
code (1200), then took it out for a ride.  Naturally, there was no traffic in the area, but I noted that the FIS-B (weather) came up immediately.  
Note: The transponder antenna in the picture is a passive antenna used by my old PCAS unit and is not an active transponder antenna.  The
other metal whip in the photo is for my ELT.  The transponder antenna is mounted much farther aft.  The ADS-B out antenna is mounted along
the near side of the wooden airframe, so does not appear in the photo.

July 20, 2014 - Took the iFly and SkyGuard Vision Pro for another flight today.  Nice Sunday mid morning with lots of traffic out and about.  
At first, I saw nothing.  Not unusual since there isn't a lot of traffic around our airport, and no ADS-B tower within range.  However, once I was
at altitude and 30 miles out from the Albuquerque area, I was seeing the various airliners coming and going from ABQ as well as some traffic
around Double Eagle Airport.  I flew back up over Santa Fe at 11,500'.  From that altitude, I was still displaying traffic over Albuquerque and
was also picking up some traffic in the Santa Fe area.  Since radar is new to Santa Fe, it's not tied into the ADS-B system, so the only traffic I
was picking up was either 1090ES, UAT, or was high enough they were still being painted by Albuquerque Center.  Traffic was painted with an
directional arrows and altitude.  The traffic is also color coded with aqua blue for traffic, blue for potential conflict traffic, and red as a traffic alert.  
I also noted that traffic appeared and disappeared quite regularly, so I wouldn't want to hang my hat on this unit as a replacement for the MK 1
eyeballs.  However, when it started painting a potential conflict, know the altitude and direction of the other aircraft made spotting it a cinch..

May 2020 - While I haven't posted pictures, it's worth noting that the Terra Transponder and encoder were replaced with a Sandia Aerospace
transponder with integral encoder in 2018.  Also, the Skyguard ADS-B unit proved to be simply too troublesome, so was replaced with a uAvionix
Echo UAT unit in 2019.  The Echo UAT is wired to the transponder to pick up the squawk and pressure altitude via serial communications rather
than from the transponder broadcasts, so ADS-B Out consistently passes the FAA testing regardless of whether the transponder is replying to radar
quieries or not.

Feel free to email me with comments or questions at jscott.planes"at"gmx.com.

Stay tuned.  More to come...