Thursday, February 20, 2014

First Cross Country

And so we went to Lake Havasu City for a couple of days to get some rest and to try out the plane. Interestingly enough, this destination was also my first real Cross Country flight after I had flown as a Sport Pilot for about two years. That was in April of 2010 and back then it took me agonizing 4.5 hours to get the little RANS S-12S through that strong headwind (and I needed to stop in Buckeye for fuel). Heck, if you look at the first entry in this blog from April 26, 2010 it shows that this first real cross country flight in the S-12S ("real" meaning that it includes at least one sleepover) was the actual trigger to start the RV-12 build. I just realized that I needed something faster and roomier to be able to travel in it.

This time the wind was worse but we made it in 2.25 hours burning 11 gallons of gas at 8500 ft and I hardly ever had to control the plane as the autopilot did most of the work. In addition to ADS-B, I used Flight Following to keep myself busy. As you can see it wasn't always easy to understand what these controllers were saying.

The rest of the flight was almost boring - that is to say, uneventful - which in aviation is a good thing.
The airport is very nice although I had some trouble getting the bird down from the unusual high TPA of 1300 ft AGL.

The plane was quickly wrapped after the FBO had offered me to use one of their tie down spots for free. Otherwise HII charges $11 per night for parking. The FBO guys insisted on me using their free spot despite me telling them that I could not fuel up with their 100LL. Great FBO!

While being in Lake Havasu I might have found the paint scheme (or at least the colors) that I'd like to use for the-12.

It's a bit of an orange-yellow sunburst with green accent. Very visible!

On the day of the return flight, I fueled up with the deflatable 5 gallon gas containers that I had ordered from Australia. They proved to be very, very effective and they can carry just short of 5.5 gallons. So with both of them filled up I could refuel the plane in one run.

Here's the link to the manufacturer's website.

The flight back was again uneventful (good!). And I used Flight Following again. We had a slight tailwind (mainly cross) and made it in 1:55 hours with a slightly higher RPM burning again 11 gallons at 9500 ft.

I terminated radar service once we had reached our prominent landmark that represents 20nm distance to the airport: Picacho Peak.

After a Citation jet had passed me in the pattern, the runway was free for the taking.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wheel Pants Installed and Flown

In the morning I completed the installation of the glare shield by pulling those two LP4-4 rivets. It felt like the force was almost high enough to break the shield, so be slow when pulling them!

I also installed the wheel pants in preparation of the Cross Country flight, thinking that they should provide a reduced drag and fuel burn or a higher cruise speed. I had almost forgotten how many screws are holding them together... and the best is that I will have to take them off to check the tire pressure for now until I have a minute to mark a good spot for drilling an access hole.

Oh well, they do look good though :-)

I flew the plane for half an hour after the installation and verified that the plane did NOT have any change in yaw at cruise speed and that the glare shield worked as designed.
I was not able to verify a significant increase in cruise speed beyond maybe 2-3 kt. but I have not yet installed the nose leg fairing.
Landing was uneventful with the existing clearance of at least an index finger between fairing edge and tire.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Glare Shield Installed

In preparation for my first real Cross Country flight, I found the time tonight to head out to the hangar right after work. I had everything set up to install the glare shield which needed a good dose of ProSeal to glue it to the canopy frame. I had everything but a scale to mix the ProSeal, but that did not keep me from doing it anyway. After so much gooping one is able to mix the two components well enough by just looking at the color of the mix. I wouldn't do that on a tank supposed to hold gas but for a glare shield, no problem.

I filled the lip with ProSeal and spread it out carefully to not get anything on the top surface. Then I had already masked some areas on the frame to ensure they would stay ProSeal-free.

Then, very very carefully I slid the glare shield in place, avoiding to smear the stuff everywhere where it wouldn't belong.

The clamps are supposed to lightly squeeze out the glue and hold it evenly in place. The clecos are the reference points.

Now it has to cure and lose its sulfuric smell and then I will pull the two rivets to finalize the install. This will be a great relief during the flight to KHII, Lake Havasu City, AZ.