You might have read in a previous entry <link here> about how I replaced the spark plugs due to a bad magneto check.
Last Saturday was my first opportunity to test fly it since then and I was excited to go.
Arriving at the airport with temps in the mid 30s I plugged in the homemade preheater and started my customary preflight inspection.
All was well and after about thirty minutes of preheating I pushed the -8 out of the hangar. Start up was my first indication of a problem. It cranked very slow; I should have anticipated a low battery since its been sat so long since I last flew. Just as I was about to give up, another problem ensued, my starter wouldn’t disengage! I quickly flipped off the battery master to kill the deviant starter. Great!
I pushed it back into the hangar and pulled the top cowl to investigate. Starter relays can become stuck, sort of temporarily welded together due to high amperage. In this case it was from starting with low voltage on the battery – duh! I know this, but I was thinking more about going than I was about what the airplane was telling me. There’s a lesson here.
A couple of taps on the relay and it came unstuck. I then borrowed a battery charger from the airport manager and let it charge while I put the cowling back on.
Once charged and preheated (again), I pushed it back out for another attempt.
This time the start was successful and I taxied to the active. The run-up revealed a much improved magneto check thanks to the new spark plugs. Continue reading
New Spark Plugs
In troubleshooting a bad magneto check, I have found at least one thing that certainly needed to be addressed – my spark plugs.
After watching a webinar on the subject over at EAA.org – link here, I learned some interested things about spark plug and their health. After a couple of easy tests, and two bad spark plugs found, I decided to change out the whole group with a fresh set. Continue reading
Living with your airplane part 2: Residential airparks
Last installment we talked about having a private airstrip. This post we are discussing living at an airpark community.
Honestly, this is a deeper level of immersion than most of us are accustomed to. Friends of mine report that it’s an amazing experience to live at the airport with their airplanes surrounded by like-minded people. Image a neighborhood where everyone is into flying – nirvana! Continue reading
Living with your airplane part 1: Home strip
I have often dreamt of living with my airplane; being able to launch into a beautiful sky by merely walking out my back door is as romantic as it gets.
First, only a very small group of us get to experience aviation this way. Most of use either don’t have the land or its unsuitable for your airplane. My personal situation is limited. I would need a STOL aircraft to keep an airplane at home; something that I endeavor to acquire some day. I have about 800′ of flat horse pasture that could be utilized. Continue reading
The dirty dozen of aircraft ownership! A simple list of the costs
We’ll just be focusing on ownership, not renting. If you fly less than 100 hours a year, renting is almost always more cost-effective, but never as rewarding or convenient as owning your own airplane. Since a lot of recreational flyers don’t fly much more than 100 hours a year, ownership becomes a ‘want’ more than a ‘need’, but that’s ok.
If you are in a partnership or thinking about it, that’s also not addressed here.
Buying a used homebuilt
In this economy there is no question it’s a buyers market. This is the same for the used homebuilt market, there are plenty of good deals out there.
But do you really know what you’re buying? Lets examine some key questions and provide some answers from my point of view. Continue reading
By Stephen Pope / Published: Jul 25, 2012
The J3 Cub is an affordable classic everyone loves!
Antique and Classic Airplanes are GAs Best Kept Secret
These are a class of airplanes that I believe are under recognized and certainly under utilized by the average GA flyer.
If you are already an antique/classic enthusiast please hold the hate mail and bear with me.
This genre of airplane was primarily the product of the post war boom in aircraft manufacturing. Thousands of these two-seaters were produced in hopes of attracting the G.I.s that were coming home. Many of these airplanes live on today and are great recreational aircraft, often LSA compliant. Continue reading
How to fly as inexpensively as possible
Below I outline some things I have learned over the years, plus brought in some new ideas on how to fly without breaking the bank.
This will be centered around the basic requirement of the $100 hamburger mission (2 seats, with several hundred mile range, day VFR)
Before we get into the details, I should be clear that most folks can fly if they put their mind to it. People spend lots of money on boats, cars, campers, & motorcycles all in the name of recreation. The pie chart here represents the TOP END of the kind of flying most middle class folks would do (one hour a week in a high performance airplane). This article will show you how to do it for a lot less, (1/2 or more) if you need or choose to.
Annual Condition Inspection: Wow a year went by fast! August 2nd, 2011 marked a year since I signed off the inspection on my newly minted RV-8. Nine days later I would fly her for the first time (another story for another day).
Having flown the airplane a paltry 66 hours in the preceding year I wasn’t expecting to see anything worn out, but conversely it was the first year it had flown so there was bound to be somethings that needed attention.