Vance Harral

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About Vance Harral

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    Erie, CO
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  1. Vance Harral

    Loose sheet metal screws

    Moving to the next size up screw just delays the problem. Eventually that one strips, then you've got to go even bigger, and so on (ask me how I know). For the last 10 years or so, I've just kept a box of trim screws handy, and I periodically replace the ones that fall out, knowing they'll just fall out again soon. A technique suggested to me once which sounds promising but I haven't actually tried: use a dimpling tool to dimple the hole in the aluminum that receives the screw, then tap the dimpled hole for the next size up screw. The idea is this creates more surface area along the thread path, for the tap to cut and for the threads to hold purchase against.
  2. Vance Harral

    Tach time as hobbs etc.

    There's a rule of thumb floating around that 1.0 hours of tach time = 1.2 hours of operating time. It stems from flight schools that operated airplanes with no Hobbes meter, but wanted to charge for time from engine start to engine stop regardless of power setting. When we first bought our Mooney and everyone in the partnership was doing transition training, we tracked both tach time and "stopwatch time" (from engine start to engine shutdown). Over the course of almost 100 hours of tach time that first year, the 1.2 multiplier turned out to be spot on. It's even pretty close for instrument training with lots of long approaches at reduced power. Obviously the 1.2 multiplier isn't correct for a long cross-country flight, but pretty good for local hamburger runs and training flights.
  3. This seems to be the crux of the debate. At my uncontrolled home drome, it's approximately 150 feet from the hold short line to the center of the runway. Taxiing from the hold short line to a full-stop, aligned-with-the-runway position (e.g. for a classic short field takeoff technique) takes about 10 seconds, same as midlifeflyer says. This means I can "buy" 10 seconds of gap time by performing a home-grown-line-up-and-wait (HGLUAW) maneuver while another aircraft is still on the runway, vs. waiting until they exit. But if I plan to smoothly accelerate from the hold short line into a takeoff roll - which is not only my common practice but actually results in a slightly shorter takeoff point - the gap time I can "buy" with HGLUAW is even less than 10 seconds. In that environment - i.e. at my home drome, with me, in my airplane - HGLUAW is silly. The risk of doing so is arguably small, but the benefit is nil. Because when you're talking about literally a single-digit-number of seconds, no reasonable person can claim there is only room to safely squeeze between landing airplanes using HGLUAW. Marauder says in his case the delta is 30 seconds, and I have no reason to doubt him. Maybe a bigger airport with bigger runways, more distance from hold short line. Other folks may not be comfortable with the rolling start technique, etc. I just know that I've never personally been at an uncontrolled field where I felt like HGLUAW was the difference between a polite reasonable departure, vs. bullying into line ahead of landing aircraft. Put another way, if I think there's room for me to get out between two landing aircraft, it makes no difference whether I start from on the runway or from the hold short line, so why not take the latter option? On a related note, I picked up a trick from an old CFI a while back that I like. When using LUAW anywhere - towered or not - consider "lining up" not aligned with the runway center line, but rather cocked 30 degrees or so to the left. This lets you look back and check for traffic landing on top of you, and in most cases gives you an "out" to quickly taxi clear of the runway in an emergency (perhaps into the grass). When cleared for takeoff, just finish aligning the airplane with the centerline as part of the takeoff roll.
  4. Vance Harral

    Shadin Miniflo-L malfuntion

    Concur with Don and David. It will likely quit again, and it will likely be a failure of the transducer itself. Ours exhibited this exact same intermittent failure pattern, and was ultimately fixed by replacing the transducer. I did look carefully at the old one after removal, but I was never able to establish if the impeller was hanging up, or the connective wiring cracked inside the potted epoxy. Solution is the same either way: replacement.
  5. Vance Harral

    Prebuy inspection Denver area

    Another upvote for Arapahoe Aero. We do most of our maintenance done at our home drome (KLMO) but take the airplane to Arapahoe Aero for the occasional Mooney-specific issue (most notably patching fuel tank seeps). Always had good service.
  6. Vance Harral

    Shadin Miniflo-L

    Thanks for the picture, sir. Based on the part number, that unit does appear to be "new" enough to be an upgrade from our existing unit. What are you asking for it? Feel free to PM me if you'd prefer a more private discussion.
  7. Vance Harral

    landing gear annunciator

    Me too. But in my airplane the gear warning sonalert has one terminal permanently tied to ground, and the other terminal switches from N/C to +12V when the logic detects a gear warning event. Hence the need for the inverter. I just double-checked the schematics on this, and it's definitely the way the gear sonalert in M20F S/Ns 22-1306 and later are supposed to be wired. It's certainly possible other models or S/Ns are wired differently. The hookup at the stall warning sonalert doesn't need the inverter, because that one has one terminal permanently wired to +12V, and the other terminal switches from N/C to ground when the stall vane switch closes. Any chance you're confusing the way the gear vs. stall warning sonalerts connect to the AV-17?
  8. Vance Harral

    landing gear annunciator

    Another vote for the AV-17 - we've had one for years and really like it. Note that you'll need an AVI-1 inverter to connect it to the existing gear warning circuitry: Same if you have ram air and want to connect it to the generic "3 chime" warning. You can wire directly to the stall warning without an inverter. And of course, you can wire directly to the warning line of an EI engine monitor.
  9. Vance Harral

    Shadin Miniflo-L

    Can you post the specific part number and/or firmware version of this particular unit? Part number would be on the data plate. Firmware version shows when you run a self-test (I realize this may be difficult for you to do now that the unit is out of your airplane). We have a Miniflo-L in our aircraft and it works fine. But we were unable to interface it to our GTN-650 when the latter was installed because our particular unit is too old. We might be interested in your unit if it has newer firmware. What are you asking for it?
  10. Vance Harral

    Thank you

    Peace to you and your family, Don.
  11. 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:
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.