Vance Harral

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About Vance Harral

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    Erie, CO
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  1. Regarding how difficult to replace, it depends on whether your airplane has the access hole in the trailing edge plate where the aileron attaches. If it does, replacement isn't bad at all. Disconnect the aileron control linkage, swing the aileron fully up and out of the way, and use a socket wrench with about an 8" extension to access the nut that holds the servo in place. If your airplane doesn't have that access hole, you have to reach around through the wing access panel to get a wrench on the nut, and that's much more irritating. You can tell if the access hole is there without disconnecting the linkage - just gently lift the aileron to maximum up deflection and peer in behind it with a flashlight. For more info, see this similar thread:
  2. Vance Harral

    GTN 650 vectors to final function

    Honest questions: how do you define "appropriate" IAF to load when the choice is ambiguous, and what do you teach your students about the behavior of the CDI during the interim period until you activate VTF? I'm particularly interested in the scenario where you're approaching from the opposite direction of the final approach course (i.e. being vectored downwind), and the IAF is beyond the point you'll likely be vectored on a base and thence intercept leg. To be clear, I'm not saying it's wrong to load an IAF when being vectored, and I'm not suggesting you're giving bad instruction. I'm just saying the benefits aren't that clear. I practice both methods as a form of mental pushups to stay comfortable with the navigator, and loading an IAF while being vectored seems like more of a distraction to me on the GTN.
  3. Vance Harral

    GTN 650 vectors to final function

    The guidance to always load an initial fix rather than vectors is arguable. I think new GTN owners are sometimes led astray by CFIIs who have been working with older navigators and/or older firmware for years. First, with modern firmware, loading vectors on a GTN retains all fixes along the final approach course, including those prior to the FAF. This is different from older navigators and GTNs with older firmware. So if you're "surprise" cleared direct to a fix along the final approach course when you were expecting vectors, it's no more or less keystrokes to activate direct to that fix than if you'd loaded the full approach to start with. Yes, it's possible the controller could clear you to a fix not along the final approach course when you were told to expect vectors, but this is uncommon, and not that big a deal anyway (see third point below). Second, loading a full approach while actually being vectored has its own problems. If you do this, the CDI is providing guidance along a leg you're not actually flying, and sometimes results in sequencing behavior that's hard to understand. While it's true that controllers sometimes tell you to expect vectors and then clear you to a specific fix instead, this is less common than them actually giving you the vectors you were told to expect. So by loading a full approach, you're accepting the risk of incorrect CDI guidance as a hedge against an event that's arguably not that likely to happen. This is not an obviously good tradeoff. Third, I've never really understood the mindset that loading a full approach somehow guarantees you're not going to have to push buttons in the middle of the approach in a way that might get confusing. I do understand that with older navigators the number of button pushes may be different to switch in one direction vs. another. But you should practice and understand how to re-sequence your GPS rapidly in either direction. You're going to need this skill anyway for the "what's it doing now?" problem. And on the GTN, it's pretty trivial to reload a VTF transition approach to select an IAF transition instead. The five clicks are HOME -> PROC -> Approach -> Transition -> [desired transition]. Takes about 5 seconds. If you find this especially distracting or confusing, I'd argue you need more practice and training.
  4. Vance Harral

    Instrument Rating during the Summer

    Couple of thoughts, worth what you're paying for them. First, an instrument rating isn't some magic panacea that allows you to fly a light piston single in thunderstorm or icing conditions. So spending 3 weeks in an area of the country with the "worst" weather is most likely to generate a lot of on-the-ground discussion about no-go decisions. That's good experience, of course, but does nothing for teaching you the motor skills and in-flight ADM critical to instrument flying. If you're going to hunt IMC during your training, you want to look for benign stratus-y conditions. Plan accordingly. Something coastal perhaps, or maybe light early morning rainshowers in the south. Not hot summer afternoons in tornado alley. Second, there's such a thing as too much, too soon. While there is always the occasional ace-of-the-base - and you might be that person - most beginning instrument students are completely overwhelmed in the first few hours by simple tasks. Just making a frequent series of heading and altitude changes might be a non-trivial struggle. Or the first time you're given a hold with no moving map to help. Doing these things VFR under the hood gives the instructor a lot of leeway to work on basic skills. Doing them in IMC has good value, of course, but also requires the instructor to file a flight plan, work within ATC's constraints, etc. It's not always a great trade-off. Finally, I have no problem with the 3-week intensive course plan. But just remember that you tend to lose skills at about the same rate you learn them. I've known a few folks who got their instrument rating through intensive courses, and others who went the long slog route. The former seem more inclined to lapse all the way back to VFR-only flying. So if you have high confidence you'll fly a lot of IFR (not necessarily IMC) immediately after training, the intensive route is a good one. If not, you may actually benefit from stringing out the training over time.
  5. I'm not bluehighwayflyer. But based on advice from another Mooney driver here in other threads (I apologize I've forgotten which one), I recently set up my iPad Mini to mount on the yoke using a Night Ize Steelie Ball tablet mount. I stuck the ball ( to the center of the yoke, and the cradle ( to the back of the iPad. The cradle is very slim and uobtrusive. I did cut a hole in the back of my (cheap) iPad case to accommodate the cradle, but it's been no problem to carry the iPad around in a backpack and use it for non-aviation things. I really, really like this arrangement. I can click the iPad mini into the yoke mount in either portrait or (just barely) landscape mode. I can easily tilt it back and forth to deal with glare. If I decide I don't want it on the yoke for a bit (want to show a passenger something, don't want it there on landing, etc.), it takes literally one second to pop it off the mount, and put it back on later. The other partners in my airplane who don't necessarily want anything on the yoke find the ball unobtrusive. Very pleased with this setup.
  6. Vance Harral

    durable rattle can paint for leading edge touch up

    We've done touch-up work on our airplane using rattle cans mixed by the local Sherwin Williams automotive paint store. Couldn't even tell you exactly what the makeup of the stuff in the cans is, just that we asked for "color-matched automotive touch-up paint", and gave them an inspection plate to scan as a color reference. What we got back was 3 cans of self-etching primer, 3 cans of base color, and 3 cans of accent color. I think the total cost was somewhere between $100 and $200, don't recall the details. Never painted a leading edge with it, but we've painted landing gear components, the place where the ADF antenna was removed, and an empennage trim fairing to replace the one that departed in flight. Have used the same cans for different repairs spanning 5+ years (I know, I was pretty surprised the paint was still good the last time I checked). It's all holding up well, and looks decent enough on an airplane which was never a beauty queen to start with. For durability, I think the application is as important as the product itself. Careful prep work to ensure you're not painting over the top of old paint that's still flaking off. Several thin coats of primer and color rather than fewer thick coats. And perhaps most important, plenty of time to cure before exposing the new paint to the elements. Ideally you bake the parts during initial curing. Doesn't have to be done in an oven, you can use a heat lamp or even just a hot hangar in the middle of summer. In our case, it always worked out that there was at least a full week between paint application and the first flight. The longer you can wait, the better. I'm not saying you can realize undetectable touch-ups on your $20K paint job with rattle cans from the local auto paint store. But for those of us flying workhorse airplanes with marginal exterior cosmetics, it's a fine compromise.
  7. Vance Harral

    Gear retract issue today - M20J

    The mechanics of the gear systems are pretty robust. The electronic sensors, and indicators, arguably not so much. Indeed, for whatever reason, people have posted a rash of gear warning problems lately. To understand your problem, you really need the electrical schematics for your particular make and model, located in the Service Manual. Note that different Mooneys have different gear warning systems. Among the electric gear models, the systems are similar, but not always exactly the same. If you or your mechanic don't have the schematics, you're just guessing. Same about advice given here - the more directly said advice references the schematics, the more likely it is to be right. I have a set of schematics for M20J S/N 24-001 through 24-0237. Based on that, I'm going to guess your problem is either a malfunctioning/mis-adjusted squat switch, or landing gear doughnuts that didn't expand enough after liftoff to trigger the squat switch. That seems to fit the conditions you described. The logic of the system according to the schematics is that if the gear selector is moved to the up position when the squat switch "thinks" there is still weight on the wheels, the gear horn will sound, and the gear unsafe light will illuminate. Since the gear is still actually in the down and locked position, the gear down light will also be illuminated. Note that while it might be a good idea to clean the limit switches in the belly, they likely have nothing to do with this problem. Suggest the first thing you do is examine the condition of your main landing gear doughnuts. Does the gap measured at the retainer collar exceed the limits in the maintenance manual? You measure this with the airplane on the ground and full fuel in the tanks. No disassembly is required, so you can measure it yourself - no A&P required. When were the doughnuts last replaced? If it's been a long time since the last replacement and/or the retainer collar measurement is beyond limits, it's likely the doughnuts are slow to expand on liftoff, and therefore aren't triggering the squat switch. In this case, the gear can fail to retract immediately after liftoff, but will eventually retract if you simply wait a while for the doughnuts to expand. Sounds like what might have happened to you. If you're sure the doughnuts are in good shape, you'll need to get with a mechanic and put the airplane on jacks to test/adjust the squat switch. There is just too much that can go wrong fiddling around with the squat switch while the airplane is on the ground.
  8. Vance Harral

    Any tricks to pulling oil screen on IO-360?

    We have a 1976 F model. It's very tight if the screen stays press-fit into to the bolt as you're pulling the bolt out. Which it always has for us, and that's a good thing. If the bolt separates from the screen, you'd have to wedge your pinky in the hole to get the screen out, and there's little room for that. On our airplane, if you just pull the bolt/screen pair straight out, the bolt head hits the foot well just before the screen clears the pan. I need to either angle it slightly just as the tail end of the screen is coming out of the pan, or separate the screen from the bolt once it's about halfway out. I've never been successful at the latter, as I can't get my hands in there, and I'm unwilling to put tools on the screen. I just have to "bend" it out (I try not to actually bend the screen, of course, but the tail of it may flex every so slightly). I don't mean to make it sound overly difficult, it's not. But it is a bit of a tight fit for both removal and reassembly.
  9. Vance Harral

    Any tricks to pulling oil screen on IO-360?

    Like others have mentioned, we've found a non-trivial number of carbon particles in the screen over the years, with nothing at all in the filter. The most we found was the first time we pulled the screen, after several years of not realizing it was recommended to do so at least occasionally. Mixed in among the carbon particles that first time was a stringy piece of plastic that we're pretty sure was the "tear off" portion of the cap from a bottle of oil. About had a heart attack, as it all looked pretty awful. But after determining none of it was ferrous, and all of it was brittle, came to think of it as somewhat typical for an old engine that hadn't had the screen pulled in a while. It's been about 8 years and about 700 hours on the motor since then with no issues. While I don't think it's necessarily critical to pull the screen at every oil change, or even every annual, I wouldn't let it go indefinitely. Based on the rate at which carbon particles build up, I can see the whole system clogging up and preventing proper oil flow after a few years, even in a healthy engine.
  10. Vance Harral

    Any tricks to pulling oil screen on IO-360?

    I haven't found anything that makes it "easy", but I've done it enough times that I no longer necessarily dread it. First order of business is a set of long reach pliers, e.g. I have a similar long-reach diagonal cutter. These items make it much easier to cut and pull the safety wire on removal, and to get the safety wire started on reassembly. Once the safety wire is off, I just use a conventional, combination hand wrench to loosen the bolt. The slight angle on the closed-end side of the wrench is just right to slip the wrench over the bolt head and get good purchase. On our airplane, it only takes a total of 1/2 to 1 turns to break torque, then the bolt can be turned by hand... er... fingers, as I describe below. After the bolt is loose comes the worst part - jamming both hands in and around the footwell, where I can just reach enough of the bolt with one finger on each hand to rotate it. It hurts, and I cuss a lot, and every once in a while the bolt catches just enough that I have to pull out my hands and go back in with the wrench for 1/4 turn. But patience is rewarded in the end. I haven't changed this technique in a number of years. I have some ratcheting closed-end wrenches and have tried to use them in the past, but they don't really help - the bolt is too loose for the ratchet to catch. About the only thing that helps is a 10-year old with small hands, and I've used that method at least once. Reassembly is just the reverse of disassembly, no additional tools. These days, pulling the screen adds probably about 20 minutes total time to an oil change. Some of that is because I can never remember which side of the crush washer is supposed to go against the pan vs. the bolt head, and have to look it up. You'd think I'd just take note of the orientation when I pull the old one off, but I seem to forget that, too. Mostly it's just a practice-makes-perfect thing. I confess that I, too, don't always do it at every oil change. But I do manage to average about every other change.
  11. Vance Harral

    Bent retract rod

    Could be a malfunctioning (even temporarily) or mis-adjusted down-limit switch. The down-limit switch is what "tells" the gear motor to stop running when the gear reaches the down-and-locked position. If the switch malfunctions, or the tab that is supposed to actuate it slips, I think the motor will keep driving the system until it encounters enough resistance to pop the gear motor breaker. Presumably this should happen before anything bends, but I've always wondered what actually happens in practice. Any chance you had the gear motor breaker pop at least once since you last had it opened up?
  12. Vance Harral

    Manually retracting electric gear

    We actually have a 1976 F, not a 1974. As noted in this thread, there was some variety in the electric gear system around these years. That said, I think your question about the Heim joint connection to the bellcrank has a universal answer. But note that I'm not a licensed A&P, just an owner-assisted annual guy. If you look at the picture in SB M20-190B, you'll see there's quite a bit of space between the rod end and the "ears" of the bellcrank, right where the blue arrows point: That space allows the rod end to rotate around the bolt. A little rotation of the joint is good, as it prevents the inner diameter from binding on the bolt. Too much is bad, as it allows the outer diameter to contact the bellcrank ears, and possibly bind there. I think the washer arrangement spec'd in the SB is intended to control the amount of rotation. In particular, the AN960-716L washers have an inner diameter that's actually larger than the bolt, and they nestle up against the "ball" of the rod end. With one of those on each side of the rod end, accompanied by some number of bolt-sized AN960-616 washers between the AN960-716Ls and the bellcrank ears, rotation of the joint is limited. Presumably Mooney thinks this limits the rotation to "just enough, but not too much". As for how many washers are on each side, I try to use even numbers, but I don't think it's a big deal if the rod end winds up slightly left or right of dead center. I do think it's "bad" if all the washers are on one side, as this could allow the outer diameter of the rod end to contact the bellcrank, and possibly bind. It's hard to quantify the risk, and I don't think you were perilously close to a landing gear failure with your current arrangement. But on reassembly, I'd follow the guidance in the SB: one AN960-716L on either side of the rod end, then fill the remaining space with AN960-616s "as required". I can see how this got to be confusing, as the "F" and "J" parts manuals don't actually show where the washers go. The specific parts manual for my airplane spec's 1 AN960-716L and 5 AN960-616s, but it doesn't say or show on which side of the rod end they're supposed to be placed. My guess is that Mooney originally thought this wasn't critical, then later changed their mind about it when publishing the SB. Whoever put yours together last may have done so in good faith to the parts manual, but without looking at the details of the SB. Hope that helps. Feel free to call me if you want to chat further, I'll PM you my phone number.
  13. Vance Harral

    Ceiling vent clogged with??

    That's it! Kept thinking it was horse hair, but that didn't turn up any hits in searches. But as you say, it's right there in the manual: If you want to replace with original, turns out Wal-Mart has a PMA department!
  14. Vance Harral

    Gear down warning problem

    Seems like a rash of these gear indicator/warning problems lately. Speaking only for M20F serial numbers 22-1246 and later, If both the gear warning sonalert sounds and the gear down indicator light in the panel turns off, it does suggest the side of the DPDT limit-down switch that powers the Gear Down light and inhibits the gear warning horn is malfunctioning, or the wire that connects to it is loose. The up and down limit switches are in the belly, and you'll have to remove the belly panels to get to them. Because of the way the panels overlap, you'll have to remove two panels: the one just aft of the exhaust tunnels, and the one aft of that one. Below is a screen grab of a pretty nice video showing electric gear operation with the belly panels off. It's not my video, and I'm not sure which make/model of Mooney this is, but yours is likely to be very similar. I've drawn a green circle around the down-limit switch (which is hard to see because the gear is down and the tab that actuates the switch is mostly covering the switch itself) and a red circle around the up-limit switch (which is easier to see). If you watch the actual video, you'll see how the tabs that are connected to the rods which move the gear hit the switches to open/close them: Hope that helps.
  15. Vance Harral

    Daytona Gear Incident

    I don't have the schematics for an M20J handy, but I have late-model M20F schematics which I'm betting are similar. Here's the portion of the schematic showing the gear motor, the limit switches in the belly, and the light that controls the floor indicator lamp. Note that one side of the limit-down DPDT switch controls the relays that shut off the gear motor, the other side goes to the floor lamp. The schematic happens to show the switches in the gear-down position, i.e. power applied to the lamp and power removed from the gear motor. That ring terminal splicing off the floor lamp indicator goes to the annunciator light on the instrument panel. In other words, the same connection powers both the "Gear Position" floor lamp and the "Gear Down" instrument panel light. If you trace that wire in the schematic, it leads to the panel annunciator lights themselves: Notice the annunciator lights have one common (ground) terminal, but two terminals for power (applying voltage to either one will light the lamp). The "2" terminals on the right side connect to the push-to-test switch. The "1" terminals on the left side connect to the limit switches in the belly... and also the floor lamp indicator in the case of the gear down indicator, as explained above. In particular, when the down-limit switch moves to the "Gear Down" position, power is applied to the "1" terminal of the Gear Down indicator above. So, couple of things to understand about failure modes. First, if the gear indicator breaker trips, it affects both the panel annunciator and the floor lamp. These two gear down lights are not on independent circuits, they're only "redundant" in the case of a burned out bulb. The good news is, the mechanical lubber line on the floor indicator is still a good indication of gear down regardless of any lights. Second, the terminals on the instrument panel indicators have to be physically close together since there are three of them - maybe 1/4" to 1/8" apart. If you get a drop of moisture on the back of the indicator - perhaps streaming in through imperfectly sealed access panels just outside the windshield when flying in rain - it can form a short between the terminals. If moisture forms a short between terminal "1" and terminal "C" of the gear down indicator, this can create an electrical short between power and ground - but not until the gear reaches the down position and the limit switch in the belly closes to apply power to terminal "1". If you put the gear back up, power is not applied to terminal "1" and the breaker can be reset. If you put the gear back down, the breaker will pop again when the down limit switch in the belly closes. Sounds like this may be what happened to you. Hope that helps.