EricJ

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EricJ last won the day on July 16 2018

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About EricJ

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    Scottsdale, AZ
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    N201TS
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    M20J

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  1. The instructor that I did most of my post-thirty-year-break currency training with said that he thought SVFR was mostly to get out of an obscured airport when conditions cleared either above or past it. i.e., it's a way to get out of someplace if the weather is good nearby. That's not a completely accurate assessment, but it's a very pragmatic one.
  2. Should get decent reflection off the ground. Line of sight isn't required, just adequate signal strength at the antenna. If a strong enough reflection off of something is received, that works, too. That said, since the Mooney sits so low, it could still make a pretty shadowed area for a bottom-mounted antenna.
  3. Maybe we should just have a sticky thread about avionics horror stories with a thermometer graphic on how much people have spent at shops they were unhappy with.
  4. I've been using full flaps except when there's very strong or gusty wind, especially crosswinds. To be honest I've really not tried a lot of half-flap landings...I probably should.
  5. I ain't one yet...still in school. The shortage is real and will continue as a bubble of aging A&Ps retires. The replacement rate is not keeping up, so a shortage is expected for a while. The number of recruiters coming to our school and the opportunities are pretty crazy. For a non-college kid with an interest willing to go to a trade/tech (A&P) school, this is a pretty reliable route to a solid job. FWIW, the same thing is happening on the pilot side. The school I'm in also has a flight program and I don't think anybody is leaving without a job.
  6. I went in this one with healthy skepticism, which is SOP for a lot of us. It doesn't eliminate the possibility of a vendor or shop just pulling surprises on you or making mistakes, which was what led to several of my bigger complaints.
  7. How close are your antennas? For VHF comm they should be at least 3ft and preferrably farther apart. The farther the better, but no need to go crazy once you're past about 4-5 ft. The re-radiation theory is practical for closely spaced antennas, as what happens with a typical radio architecture is that the oscillator from the non-transmitting antenna that gets radiated out a little bit mixes with the transmitted signal. What happens is that there is bleed and interference between the two channels. This is one of the several reasons why comm antennas should not be closely spaced. Spacing further makes the amplitude of the radiated oscillator much smaller and eliminates the effect pretty quickly as the distance is increased. That will help determine whether it is an LO (local oscillator) bleed issue or not, which might also be tested just by tuning the second radio to a different frequency and pulling its breaker before contacting one of the offended stations. Another issue with antennas spaced too closely together has to do with near-field effects which are often non-linear and difficult to predict. This is why keeping the near field (within more or less 1/4 to 1/8 wavelength for these antennas) around an antenna free from interfering objects, like other antennas with similar resonant frequencies (i.e., the same band) can be important. This can significantly affect the radiation pattern of both antennas. A friend was just going through some similar stuff on his Cherokee after one of his comm antennas was vibrating a lot and causing a lot of worry about generating a fatigue crack. I warned him about selecting a new location not too close to his other antenna (which has evidence of a previous mounting within a few inches of it). He subsequently sent me pics of a lot of airplanes on his field with VHF comm antennas spaced pretty closely, in one case probably about a foot or so. Don't do that. All that said, there could be other things that could cause the problem, but I wouldn't start moving antennas until the culprit is located. Does this happen regardless of which radio is used to talk to the offended station?
  8. A common methodology is that there is a centering cam inside the nose oleo strut that centers the nosewheel when it goes to full extension.
  9. It seems like Avionics shops in general are a giant sucking sound for cash with not nearly as much to show for it as one would think. And it doesn't seem to matter how much you know or how much research you did ahead of time, they can find some way to disappoint. I paid up to go to a "reputable" shop that seemed to understand what I wanted and had a reasonable plan of how to get there. I even figured that the cost would likely come in about 1.5x the cost estimate (it did) and about 2x the schedule estimate (it was 3x plus a bunch of return trips for warranty work). In my case a lot of the issues just had to do with a disappointing level of competence and not always doing what they said they were going to do. They selected (without any input from me and without telling me) a replacement for my dying LC-2 clock from their used stock. Their replacement clock wasn't fully functional, either, and used 270mA continuous current and they wired it to the ship's battery instead of its standby battery, so if the airplane sat for a week or so (e.g., flying only on the weekends) the ship's battery would be dead when I went to fly. I had to debug that one myself. My hangar fairy rehabbed my LC-2 to working condition and they swapped it back in during one of the warranty trips. They put in circuit breakers for my new IFD540 that were sized for a 28V system instead of a 14V system. Everything worked fine except whenever my CFII talked on the radio the breaker would pop. It would only do it when he talked...didn't do it for me, didn't do it for other CFIs or safety pilots I flew with. Eventually we figured out it was because he talks WAY too long on the radio so the breaker would only get hot enough and pop when he talked. They said they had a lot of experience with Century autopilots and said mine, which had recently gone inop, could be fixed for $3k-$4k, as that's what they were typically seeing. I figured that was a reasonable amount to pay to nurse it along until I could replace it with one of the new gen autopilots once they got certified for the M20J. Instead what they did was just shotgun it, take out ALL of the boxes and servos and send it ALL back to Autopilots Central for overhaul. No diagnostics, nothing, just rip it all out and send it for overhaul. The bill from AP Central alone was $12k. Plus it still didn't work and required another round of diagnostics and warranty trips and sending stuff back to AP Central, anyway. Total waste of money and I would never have approved that action if I knew they were going to do that instead of some basic diagnostics and send off a culprit box or two as they had described. They deleted, without any discussion ahead of time, my Nav1/Nav2 switch for the autopilot and refused to replace it. This was based on their own opinions about safety and that the Avidyne STC did not show the presence of a Nav1/Nav2 switch. It didn't matter that it may have been OEM equipment or that installing the switch was a minor mod, they refused to replace it. My main beef was that they waited until my airplane panel and wiring was disassembled in their shop before informing me of this position. They installed a JPI EDM 900 and wired the CiES senders to avionics master instead of ship's master. That screws up more stuff than you'd think, and it's pretty noticeable if you even try to test it a little bit. Somehow they managed to do all of the calibration, etc., without noticing that. They had initially installed all of the sensors for the EDM 900 on a nice piece of billet aluminum that they attached to the engine mount frame right across the space where the oil filter goes in an and out. I had to point out that I wouldn't be able to change the filter any more with that in the way, and their initial reaction was to make it easier to remove so that I had to deal with it every oil change. Eventually we settled on putting the sensors on the firewall. There were a number of other issues that required multiple trips back for warranty work. In the end I wound up debugging a lot of it myself and a lot of it I was able to fix myself (software misconfigurations, etc.). Since I'm an EE with several decades experience in digital wireless comm, this was a bit frustrating as I was paying up to watch people take way longer and spend way more than necessary. This was a big part of my motivation for going to A&P school, as it was clear that this is pretty typical in the industry and I was just going to be suffering a lot of aggravation and annoyance in the future if I couldn't just do it myself. So, yeah, the stories are real and, sadly, not at all uncommon. It can, and probably will, happen to you. And with the A&P shortage it's probably going to get worse before it gets better.
  10. I went to the Lycoming rep's talk at the recent IA seminar here and he explained that anything above 6 qts in an I/O-360 is essentially in the windage of the crank and is susceptible to getting blown out. The 8 qt capacity meets the FAAs requirement of being able to run for a certain number of hours (I think 4 hours? May have had to do with the tank capacity.) at the maximum oil consumption rate before starvation. I think the pump still makes pressure at 2 Qts or something like that. If the pressure is starting to twitch at much higher levels there may be a pickup problem.
  11. You cannot set the compass rose heading on a G5 HSI like you can a DG, i.e., you can't align it to your compass manually. The GMU11 does that for you. So, basically, you can't have a G5 HSI without a GMU11 as that is what aligns the directional heading display.
  12. I think most of us have had experiences hearing somebody's radio communications and wondering how they managed to get a license, assuming they have one. And sometimes it is the people in the jets or the bigger than usual GA hardware. The only time I've ever filed an ASRS about another pilot was after he buzzed me on the taxiway as I was turning off the runway, while he was complaining on the radio, "that guy is still on the runway". This was at a Class D with an operating tower. As long as the other airplanes are flown by people there's going to be a wide variance in talent and experience level and competence. The more we look out for each other the safer we'll all be.
  13. Get a J model or later. Release a few camlocks and the top comes off, a few more and the cowl flap connections and the bottom comes off and it's completely cowl-free. No frame, no doghouse, just a motor and some baffling. Not much more effort to put it all back on. I think Sabremech's cowl works the same, so that's maybe more motivation for people to go that way if they're on the fence.