Vance Harral

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About Vance Harral

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. Vance Harral

    Thank you

    Peace to you and your family, Don.
  7. 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:
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.