Yooper Rocketman

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Yooper Rocketman last won the day on September 22

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About Yooper Rocketman

  • Rank
    Won't Leave!
  • Birthday 12/18/1955

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    KIMT, Iron Mountain, MI
  • Interests
    Building Lancair IVPT, should be flying in 2016. Active pilot with Northwoods Airlifeline, flying mercy flights for almost 25 years. Built a custom log home, several solar collectors and restored a 1940's wind turbine. Also love 60's muscle cars.
    www.upsolarsolutions.com
    www.uptruckcenter.com
  • Reg #
    N1017L
  • Model
    M20K Rocket

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  1. Yooper Rocketman

    Today's flight for 2018

    Thanks @gsxrpilot and @EricJ but I can’t imagine any of you not doing the same! If we’re fortunate enough to have some success in life and have our health, how could we not be compelled to help others handed such a challenging fate? Tom
  2. Yooper Rocketman

    Today's flight for 2018

    Recently (in April) I took over the flight dispatching / coordinating for our mercy flight organization. I have been the coordinator on and off over the last 30 years, and the guy that took it off my plate 13 years ago was getting fried (24/7/365 on call). Anyway, I had a flight request going from IMT to RST (Rochester, MN / Mayo Clinic) in late August and all the possible planes for doing it were down for service work. I would ordinarily use my Mooney, but it's down for an engine right now. The girl was going over for a bone cancer consult, after just being diagnosed at Bellin in Green Bay. Mayo wanted her ASAP, as she was diagnosed early enough they thought they could give her a better chance than the 20% - 2 year life expectancy Bellin had told her. So I'm hearing her story and it's killing me we can't get her over there. She stated the 2 hour drives, with the tumor on her spine, to Green Bay were brutal on her. I'm thinking, how in the world is she going to sit for a 6-7 hour drive to Mayo? I called her and stated my only option was I could do the flight in my "Homebuilt" airplane, but qualified that this wasn't your average "homebuilt". I would be doing the flight as a friend helping a friend, not under the organization's control or direction. I also told her the typical hour and 30 to 40 minute flight in the twin or the Bonanza would be done in under an hour. She agreed to have me fly her over. She showed up early the next morning, with a close friend and some clear anxiety about the trip. She would have been nervous about a GA airplane ride anyway, and now an experimental? After looking at the plane she was more comfortable. I explained everything that was going to happen during the flight and I flew her over in 55 minutes. I waited a few hours and brought the two of them back, again in under an hour. During the flight I found out she has a 13 year old daughter, and has some real concerns she will see her graduate from high school. She really took a chunk out of my heart. After the flight she asked if there was anything she could do for me. I said "make it through this". A couple weeks later I flew her over again, waiting nearly all day as they did her final consult before beginning radiation. Her dad (about my age) went with this time and it was cool to see her telling him everything she had learned about my plane in the earlier flight. She was even bragging to the line guys how fast we were doing her flights (and I'm thinking I'm giving her a bright moment, albeit for a short period, during a pretty rough spot in her life....pretty rewarding!!). I told dad I was adopting her as my second daughter! It was just days later she needed to be dropped back over there for a couple days of treatment and two different organization pilots flew her over, and then back the next day. She was dropped again this past Monday, and I was the only one available to bring her back on Tuesday. By now I don't care what the fuel cost is, I'm doing what ever I can to make her journey a bit less painful and hopefully more successful. That was her last radiation treatment, and chemo will be done locally. Her only trips to Mayo now will be more spread out for follow up. I think she will get a few more 55 minute rides in the future. Tom
  3. Yooper Rocketman

    Yoopers Rocketman's Lancair

    I haven't posted for a while on the Lancair, well actually haven't posted much at all lately (been pretty busy). I saw quite a few of you at Oshkosh, with some of you stopping by to look at my bird on display. We had a real good show, got some attention and it was the first Oshkosh I attended from opening day until closing day. I had painted the prop, as one of my last "to do" items before the show, the day before we flew out. When we landed on Sunday afternoon (I was lucky enough to be approved for the war bird approach, so didn't see the delays some of you had) and after getting out of the plane, found my two 2" white stripes on the tips of my three blades had ran right off the wing tip. Clearly there was something wrong with the paint, as it had over 24 hours to dry before we launched. It was a mad scramble to get that fixed before judging began. I elected to just sand the crap off and paint it gray like the rest of the prop. We set up a pop-up tent which made the sun so much easier to deal with, dropping it down and pulling the top cover off each night. We also set up some signs describing the different aspects of the plane like the builder details, plane performance numbers, acknowledgements to those that helped me, and some detail on how the paint design was determined. My wife even attended the show for 4 days and my daughter and family plus my oldest son attended on Saturday. During my long build I had a hot rod friend invite me to a garage open house after he completed a restoration of an old 1950's Ford. I thought it was pretty neat, getting to visit with old hot rod friends and told my wife when the plane was done, we were doing the same thing. Two weeks ago we had a hangar open house. We had sent out about 120 invites and were totally blown away when a good 150 friends and relatives stopped by to see the plane. So many of MY friends had heard (ad nausea) about me building this over the last 19 years; it was time to show them I had actually finished it. I was also concerned my wife's friends were being told she was flying in this "homebuilt/experimental airplane" to Florida, so I wanted to quell concerns about what I was "forcing" my poor wife to fly in. Some of the comments were interesting. It was not what they were expecting. One of my snowmobile buddies asked Beth and me to stand by the plane for a picture. She hates getting her picture taken, but on the day of the hangar open house she was really enjoying herself. The smile on her face was priceless (actually, mine wasn't too bad either). We really enjoyed the day. @tigers2007 showed too. Tom
  4. Well, as luck would have it, while at the air show in Oshkosh I met a very serious buyer for my Rocket. He stopped by while I was repainting my prop on the Lancair (on the flight line, at the show......a whole other story). Anyway, he was SO interested he offered to come up to IMT while I was doing my annual in August and do a pre-buy inspection on it while it was opened up. He's a member of this forum but rare contributor from what I've gathered. Anyway, the day before his flight I advise him we found a couple cylinders low on compression but apparently, between several conversations to this point, and a good review of my logbooks by his IA, he was still interested in the plane. I had given him a "ball park" number (a high to low I would likely be asking for the plane) based on a run out engine. After his review/inspection of the plane, logs, and long conversations with my FBO, he was still interested. A couple days after he left, once the cylinders were off, we discovered the cam had some early stages of wear on one of the lobes; wearing off the hardness on the edge which, based on our local Mooney/ Continental guru John Miller, means I likely had no more than another 100 hours of life. I talked with my prospective buyer and indicated I really didn't see any sense in investing serious money into the engine at this point without doing an OH. He agreed and said he expected no more than another 100 hours after buying it, so as long as he had say in the OH decisions, he was still interested. In fact, the delay was giving him more time to get things settled on his end for the purchase. We got several quotes from the more "known" engine builders but the frustration was none of them were interested in using some of the very new components recently replaced on the plane, like a brand new (not OH'ed) turbo, new alternator (case was cracked, so I bought new outright), and very low time mags. In addition, my engine was a first run since new, so the case was in great shape and all but one cylinder were within specs for OH (and Jewell had good spares to replace that one). So......after reading all the positive comments on Jewell, and the estimate coming back WAY under the big boys, both my prospective buyer and I agreed Jewell looked like the best option. I ran the engine down there (800 mile drive) immediately after it was pulled. The prop was sent out for OH as well. Now waiting for the call it's done so I can drive back down and pick it up. Tom
  5. Yooper Rocketman

    New Member in Michigan

    A cam failing due to cam lobe wear is just going to start generating less power. It won't flat out fail. You normally determine it by finding metal in the oil filter more than any type of actual engine failure in flight. We're jumping this thread. Maybe I'll start a new one about the engine OH. Tom
  6. Yooper Rocketman

    New Member in Michigan

    It WAS already reduced for a run out engine Pretty hard to value engine at 500 over TBO. To fix the cylinders so the new owner could fly it home would have been a total waste of money. The serious buyer I have right now DOES HAVE SAY in the overhaul. He’s been in on every decision to this point and knows the price is going up by the amount I put into it. Frankly, if he doesn’t take it I will be able to get more for it than he will pay. I’ve have at least 5 others that want a call if he doesn’t take it. Since he was willing to take it with a run out engine he’s only paying my added expenses. Based on current markets I could clear another $5k to $10k over where he’ll be. Tom Oil analysis came back clean (did on my F model with an oil filter full of cam flakes too, 400 hours past TBO). Cam failures (worn lobes anyway) are pretty benign. Pretty hard to not find before having an in flight issue. Tom
  7. Yooper Rocketman

    New Member in Michigan

    When we had two cylinders pulled for repair (low compression) they pulled the lifters and they had evidence indicative of cam wear. They inspected the cam and found one lobe worn through the hardness layer on the edge of the lobe, a clear start of cam failure. It must have just started as my oil filter was spotless. Being 500 hours over TBO and selling it, I just couldn't see NOT doing the OH. Jewell has three Rocket engines in their shop right now for OH, so nothing they haven't done before. What I like about them over the bigger shops is they will use my new turbo, alternator and recently OH'ed mags, where as the others insist on OH'ing very low time components. Tom
  8. Yooper Rocketman

    New Member in Michigan

    Yep, that would be me. My Rocket is down for the count right now. My 500 hour over TBO engine was determined during annual last month, while pulling a low compression cylinder for repair, to be within 100 hours of camshaft failure. The engine is at Jewell Aviation with another two weeks before expected completion. I have a member on this forum that has looked at it for purchase and is still very interested in it once the engine OH has been completed. I had several other members contact me about the pending sale, even though I've never listed it, but will not play the "who will give me the most" game. The current party has full, non-competitive, purchase option until he either buys it or declines it. He has even had say in component OH decisions during this engine R&R. As others have mentioned though, I highly recommend one be careful moving to a Rocket without SOME Mooney experience and plenty of transition training from an experienced Mooney instructor. The guy I bought mine from had a brand new crank and complete engine tear down just hours before I bought it............due to a prop strike from porpoising WITH HIS FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR. Tom
  9. Yooper Rocketman

    Thank you

    Don, I too was not aware of your loss. So sorry to hear and know all your Mooney friends are thinking about you! Tom
  10. Yooper Rocketman

    Today's flight for 2018

    Come on guys................this is one of the most popular threads. This drift isn't fair to @bonal How about a nice U.P. sunset to get this back on track? This is a view looking north west from just north of KIMT, my home airport, towards the Keweenaw Peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior. Tom
  11. Yooper Rocketman

    305 Rocket Review

    No. Rocket Engineering did an impressive job on the baffling (was even noted by the A&P conducting his first Rocket annual this year, under the watchful eye of one of the best IA's I have ever met). When I sold my F model, the pilot was from Griffin GA and was Moonyized by his father who was the one that came up to Iron Mountain to look at it for purchase. His dad asked if we would deliver it as he was concerned his son was not up to speed for a Mooney yet. We did in April of 2000 and it was pretty hot the day we delivered it. I let my hangar partner / E model Mooney owner / A&P/ best friend Steve fly the leg home in the Rocket and he tried the 2500 RPM/35" climb setting as we headed for the flight levels (I had been taught everything full forward until level off) and we started seeing temps getting to 400 degrees. I told him go full throttle, full RPM and the temps came down immediately. One note on that (Steve); he has IMHO one of the nicest looking, fastest, and efficient E model Mooneys out there (155 knots, 8 gallons an hour, picture posted below). He has more time in my Rocket over the last 5 years than his E, but has owned the E since the late 70's or early 80's. He would take the Rocket in a heartbeat over his E. The fresh wash job was completed be me just before Oshkosh...........that's the kind of friend he is to me. Tom
  12. Yooper Rocketman

    305 Rocket Review

    Paul, It's a IVPT. The Evolution is the next prop-jet model brought to market by Lancair, who then changed their name to Evolution Company and sold the Lancair company to some boys in Texas who recently introduced the Mako. The EVO (Evolution) was purpose built as a pressurized turbine, unlike the IVPT that evolved from the basic IV series. Darwin Conrad took the 231 air frame which was seeing "higher than normal" engine issues (mostly related to manual waste gate controls and pilots new to turbos not operating them correctly) and installed the Cessna 340 / 414 engine system in it. This engine is all automatic waste gate control and added nearly 100 more HP to the air frame. He converted more than 100 of them and, IMHO, changed the focus of the factory pretty quickly to new models with more HP and speed. At the time I bought mine I was really looking for a 252. The Rockets were significantly cheaper and easier to find. 1800 Rocket hours later, and with a turbine in my stable now, my wife and I still love that Mooney. It will be a sad day when I sign the bill of sale over to the next owner, which will happen before the ball drops for 2019. Tom
  13. Yooper Rocketman

    305 Rocket Review

    Back to the Rocket and WHY anyone would possible want one when it burns SO MUCH FUEL. Mine is used a lot for business. I love Mooney's, so didn't want to move off the brand, and my budget wouldn't support the newest models. I needed more than my F could provide and found this model to meet those needs. A couple mission examples. I needed to drop a driver off to bring back a new Western Star tractor we found in a York PA dealership and were able to get on a dealer transfer for one of my customers We could not get out of my home airport until 8 AM due to fog and when we arrived in Eastern PA I lost several hours going to the dealership, checking over the truck and getting all the documents compiled and signed before my driver could get on the road bringing the truck back to the U.P. When I got back to the FBO, there were a lot of thunderstorms in PA and NY and a decent group of pilots stranded in the lobby. A good weather radar and forecast study revealed I had a window if I headed out north and traveled across a larger section of Canada on my way back, especially since I could go to FL240 and dodge what larger stuff there was VISUALLY. The 1214 NM round trip ended up more like 1400 NM, but I landed by 5:30 PM and was sitting in a lawn chair by 5:50 PM watching my kids warm up for their 6:00 soccer game. Not a parent on the sidelines, besides my wife, had a clue how many miles I had traveled in my own plane that day before showing up for my kids game. I had a customer out of Marquette that was looking for a couple used dump trucks. I flew up to KSAW and picked him and his driver up. We headed to Danville VA for the first truck and I will never forget the comment by the truck driver in the back seat. He said "we really don't look like we're going very fast", to which I replied "were doing 245 knots, which is over 280 MPH". He said again "it still doesn't look like we're hardly moving". My second comment was "son (he was substantially younger than me), you'll realize how fast we were going when you get out of this plane after a three hour flight and it takes you 1 1/2 days to drive back". We bought one truck there and flew over to St Louis, MO for the second unit. That one was not as advertised so back to KSAW with my customer, 1700 miles traveled and one truck bought (he bought the second one a week later that we found in lower Michigan), and HE WAS STILL HOME IN TIME FOR DINNER. I paid ALL the plane's expenses for that year with those two truck sales....and gained a customer for life. Efficiency.................I guess it's a matter of your own perspective. A standard J model Mooney could not have performed those two missions in the time frame required. I've got a bunch more of those types of trips but I won't bore you with the details. FOR ME, the Rocket has been the best plane for the mission. Tom
  14. Yooper Rocketman

    305 Rocket Review

    I always get a kick out of how so many boast about the speed and efficiency of their Mooney until someone has a faster plane. Then we just talk about efficiency???? Airplanes are ALWAYS a trade off. Speed, efficiency, payload, seat count, acquisition cost, operating costs, maintenance factors, the list goes on and on. If you compare the Rocket to most other high performance singles and the lions share of twins, it stacks up pretty good. On this forum, I’ve always been amazed at how it’s treated like the black sheep..........well, by those that don’t own them or have any appreciable time in them. But then, what would I know? Tom
  15. Yooper Rocketman

    Cylinder head/barrel separation at 14,500ft.

    Good job Dan! Great to hear a successful outcome. Tom