Vance Harral

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About Vance Harral

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    Erie, CO
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  1. You don't have to get a new exam every year. You do have to "check in" with the FAA every year, in the form of sending them compliance paperwork, including a status update from a board-certified sleep physician that usually requires an appointment with that physician. Some people manage the paperwork dance with the FAA entirely on their own, via certified mail. If you choose that route, you have to wait for the FAA to respond with your new certificate, and turnaround time varies. I choose instead to pay $150 to visit my AME, which is what he charges to eyeball the paperwork that's going to the FAA, check that everything is in order, and use his issuance authority to give me a new certificate on the spot. In terms of hassle, it's about as irritating as getting the actual physical, yes. But there is no exam, and it's not possible to "fail" this non-exam checkin with the AME for any reason other than OSA compliance itself.
  2. I'm not seeing a problem of any kind here. I can't see enough of the altimeter in the posted picture to know for sure, but I'm guessing the airplane is a few hundred feet above sea level, on a close-to-standard day, which would make the ambient pressure somewhere between 29-30" Hg. An MP reading at full throttle of 28" is completely normal under those conditions. You're not going to see ambient pressure on the MP gauge at full throttle, due to a less-than-perfect induction system (the air filter being the most obvious "imperfection"). All the other values in the OP decrease at roughly 1" per 1000', exactly as expected for a normally aspirated engine. The post says the values are from different dates - and therefore different atmospheric conditions - so minor differences in the 1"/1000' rule aren't meaningful. If the OP is comparing against numbers in the POH and seeing values lower than expected, don't forget that the tables in the performance charts are listed by pressure altitude and spec'd at a particular temperature. i.e. they reference density altitude, not indicated altitude. So you can't just climb to 10,000' indicated on the altimeter on a random day and expect to see the numbers listed in the table for 10,000'. Indeed, in most of the continental U.S. here in the summer, the temperature at 10,000' is much higher than the standard temp of 23F.
  3. I'm guessing the hold they wanted you on was the one published on the approach charts, as Mike referenced. Requesting clarification is an obvious choice, and I'm sure you did. So the question this raises is, how do controllers know about "published" holds? I'm assuming ATC rarely/never looks at the approach plates and enroute charts pilots do. My guess is that "published" holds are somehow depicted on their radar screens, but I don't know how it works in practice.
  4. Unfortunately, you can't convert a certified airplane to an experimental-amateur-built type certificate, which is probably what you meant by making your Mooney "experimental". An E-AB type certificate allows broad freedom to fly the airplane, as you see the RV/Kitfox/etc. crowd enjoying, but requires you actually build the airplane. With a lot of hassle and paperwork, you could probably convert your Mooney to some other type certificate which would allow you the same broad maintenance leeway as E-AB, e.g. experimental-exhibition, or restricted. But it would severely limit the type of legal flying you can perform. You wouldn't be able to just jump in the airplane and go for a $100 hamburger run anymore. More info here:
  5. More likely they were lost by someone who disassembled the caps to install new O-rings in the inner shafts. The first set of caps on our airplane were missing these washers too. They "worked", but one side was pretty wonky - I think in part because without the sacrificial washer, the cam-shaped corner of the lever wears against the bulk of the cap. We bought some second-hand units which had the washers and they work better.
  6. Apologies for the confusion. I coulda sworn the individual parts were broken out including the cotter pin. But when I looked in my parts manual I found the same thing as you: only the O-rings are broken out, the rest of the cap is only referred to as an assembly. The critical point is, you want aircraft-grade, cadmium-plated cotter pins, like these: If you just go to the local hardware store, you're likely to wind up with mild steel cotter pins with no plating or other corrosion protection. These are much more likely to rust, and consequently fail and/or drop contaminants into the tank. I bought an assortment of cad-plated cotter pins from Spruce a while back, put them in a fishing tackle box along with other miscellaneous hardware, and use a few at every annual: fuel tank caps, seat rail pins, etc.
  7. It's definitely beneficial and I'm not knocking it. That said, while I trust its terrain modeling pretty well, I'm less trusting of its wind model, and think it could be misleading. Foreflight has no way to actually measure the wind around you. So it's just using some forecast model, the granularity of which is much coarser than the actual distance you can glide at piston altitudes. Anecdotally, I've flown around the pattern many times in surface winds that should have made the glide circle quite oblong, and yet it was portrayed as generally symmetric. Bottom line, even with the glide circle, you need more than a quick glance at Foreflight to know how far you can glide in any particular direction.
  8. You want the cotter pins with the specific part number called out in the M20E parts manual. You can order them from Aircraft Spruce, or other online aircraft parts suppliers. While these are "probably" the same cotter pins as the ones in my M20F, I'll let an M20E owner chime in to be sure. If you don't have a parts manual, you'll want to obtain one from Mooney.
  9. The thread you want to read is here: My guess is that when your mechanic "re-greased" the jack screw, he just slopped some fresh on the jack screw shaft, through the opening in the empennage. That's fine for regular maintenance, but once every 10 or 20 or 50 years, you've gotta pull that thing out, disassemble, and clean/re-grease it. Among other things, it provides an opportunity to check the bearings which the shaft goes through.
  10. $35K is light for sole ownership, but would be excellent for a 2-person partnership in anything up to an M20F model. That's just acquisition cost, though. What is your budget for fixed and operating expenses after purchase?
  11. Not a deal killer by any means. But for what it's worth, this would turn me off on a prospective partnership, and would likely have caused me not to join the very successful partnership I've been part of the last 15 years. People who buy the airplane first and only then cast about for partners are communicating they want things "their way" right from the start. Choosing the partners first and then acquiring the aircraft communicates that all the partners are willing and able to discuss and compromise on big choices. This isn't to say that if you have your heart set on a Mooney, you have to entertain some other brand. But if you're highly fixated on a particular model, and especially if you're inclined to buy a specific airplane first before consulting your prospective partners, sole ownership is probably a better route for you.
  12. This was and remains technically legal with respect to 91.155. However, the FAA is on record as saying they consider operating in the clouds without a clearance in class G airspace to be a violation of the careless/reckless clause of 91.13. See
  13. Installation of altitude hold components varies by make and model. There are actually three "boxes": the pitch damper, the altitude hold control unit, and the altitude reference chamber. Often all three are bundled together such that they look like just one or two boxes, but they are three units. In our 1976 M20F, the pitch damper and altitude hold control unit are in the front of the airplane, just behind the firewall with the avionics; but the altitude reference chamber is in the tail. I'm not sure why ours is installed that way, might be as simple as lack of space.
  14. Brittain was still answering the phone as of a few weeks ago, but they seem to be in hibernation/recovery mode while the new owner gets up to speed. They weren't able to supply parts when we spoke to them, so we bought a salvage part from Texas Air Salvage instead. Hopefully this is a dynamic situation that improves on a weekly basis. Certainly worth giving them a call:
  15. I've been pretty happy with PIClife: Bought a 20-year term life policy 10 years ago. As Skates97 says, by the time the term is up, I won't need the life insurance any longer. No aviation exclusions on my policy. Note that PIClife is essentially a broker, they work with different underwriters to find you a policy. My underwriter is Lincoln Benefit Life.