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About BaldEagle

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  1. BaldEagle

    auto equivalents

    Alas, I had to sell mine. The wife wouldn't let me have a Mooney and a Lotus. I always compared my Elise to a Vans RV. Sitting in either is like sitting in the bath with the water drained out. This was my 3rd (and last) Lotus. Like Mooney, Lotus was constantly looming from one financial disaster to another.
  2. I just got through my first annual, and as there were no nasty surprises I'm planning on getting the windshield replaced sometime next year. Can anyone recommend a shop, preferably in the Southwest? It looks like a big job and I'd rather have someone who has done this job before perform the work.
  3. This is really good advice. It wasn't until I purchased my third airplane that I came up with a similar list. Sales taxes, ferry costs, etc. in addition to above though. I read somewhere that 95% of GA airplane owners can't afford to own an airplane. Or to put it another way: many people can afford to buy an airplane but often grossly underestimate the cost of owning and operating it.
  4. BaldEagle

    Question about cylinder pressures

    Thanks all for the feedback. I did recently purchase Mike Busch's book on Engines, and although I'm fairly inept mechanically I did find the book very persuasive, especially in regard to on-condition maintenance philosophy (so much so that I'm currently working my way through his webinars on YouTube).
  5. Bought my '78 J back in February and its first annual since the purchase is currently being finished up. No nasty surprises (thank goodness), but the compressions are high 60's in all 4 cylinders. Last year they were all in the high 70's. During the PPI last January three cylinders were in the high 70's, while one was in the high 60s. When I questioned the A&P he dismissed it as likely a piece of soot or something on a valve seat. The engine is at about 1,000 hours since factory overhaul. Should I be budgeting for a premature major overhaul or top overhaul in the near future? Should I be worrying? The airplane did sit for a month in January (while negotiating, PPI, etc.), and a month in July (due to illness), but other than that it hasn't sat for more than a couple of weeks without flying since I've owned it. It has about 50 hours on it the last 8 months or so. The previous owner only put 40 hours on it the last year he had it, but prior to that it was more active. The engine uses very little oil, runs real smooth with uniform CHTs on all cylinders. Prior to my purchase it was based in the Georgia mountains in the summer and Tampa in the winter, so I knew I was taking a risk with corrosion but this was somewhat mitigated by evidence of meticulous maintenance. After paying for two major overhauls the same year (two difference airplanes -- I'm not that unlucky -- one had a cracked crankcase, the other eating metal) I've become paranoid about airplane engines.
  6. ATC reported erratic altitudes then no alt at all so I had the avionics shop replace the encoder (AK-350 for a AR-850), did a couple of flights including one IFR and all is good. Took it up this morning and the darn thing is transmitting 1,800 ft too high. I find it hard to believe the replacement encoder has gone bad so soon. Any ideas before I take it back to the shop? Static plumbing? Bad connection? Apparently there is a Garmin encoder that is recommended for the GTX 335 / 345. Install that?
  7. BaldEagle


    I got my first Mooney ('64 M20E) just after getting my private certificate. M20C/E is seriously good value for money for a first airplane. You can spend significantly more $$$ to go a lot slower...
  8. BaldEagle

    Air conditioning options

    Just curious: what are y'all using to survive the summer in your Mooney? I known there's an STC out there for air conditioning but I'm looking for a more economical solution. It seems some folks have had some success cobbling together a cooler with a bilge pump and heat exchanger, but that doesn't seem practical for trips (having to beg the FBO for ice) but seems like a good solution for flying around the local patch. Any other solutions? Anything available off-the-shelf that would do the job?
  9. Similar spec to the '78 J I just purchased. For comparison: appraisal tool put mine at $115k (I forget which one, might have been AOPA's), lender appraised it at $95k, and I paid $85k (what the seller was asking; I didn't negotiate because it was below market and PPI came back good). It wasn't listed in any of the usual places and had been on the market for a while with the price recently reduced from high 80's. We put another $10k to one side for purchase (sales tax, PPI, flights, hotel, etc. to take an initial look as it was based other end of the country, and later, ferry / delivery costs) and an additional $10k for maintenance float (the first annual is always a nail-biter). I only mention this as it took me 3 times going through the airplane purchase process to finally figure out that the problem isn't with buying the thing, it's all the other costs that hurt, so if you can get something below market that really helps (psychologically, at least). Budget $8k to reseal the tanks; they will start leaking sooner or later if it's been 20 years. Might be a negotiating point, plus whatever is found in the PPI.
  10. BaldEagle

    Coming back in to the fold

    I was in the same situation as you a few months ago. I used to own an M20E (loved that airplane), put a few hundred hours on it, and then fell out of love with aviation after it needed a major overhaul and the A&P ran off with my money, and, as it turned out, had something of a drugs problem. Anyway, fast-forward 12 years and I got the flying bug again and was in the market for another Mooney, but this time I was looking for my "forever" airplane. For me it was defining the mission and setting a budget. $100k got me a J with mid-time engine, but a really good instrument platform, which was my main priority. Aspen, KFC-200 with alt hold / GPSS, GNS430, ADSB-Out and recently re-sealed tanks. This time around I didn't want to spend money on the panel, and as others have pointed out it's always cheaper if the previous owner had made the investment in the panel. For the same price I could have got into a K, but I'm on a budget these days and maintaining a 6 cylinder continental and a turbocharger scared me off. Of course everything in aviation is a compromise. I love my M20J; love it more and more every time I fly it, but if I had the budget I would have been shopping for an Ovation or a Bravo.
  11. BaldEagle

    Today's flight for 2018

    Bought this J in March, but didn't get a chance to go on a trip until a couple of weeks ago due to work commitments. Flew a triangle in the Southwest: San Diego - Las Vegas - Bryce Canyon - Santa Fe, NM - Sedona, AZ - San Diego. Mod. turbulence on each leg, gusty winds and density altitude landings and departures had me worried that the wife would never want to go on another trip. Fortunately she's now hopelessly addicted to airplane ownership and is itching to go on another trip. Neither of us had been to Bryce Canyon before; jaw dropping views, pictures don't do it justice, and we were both very taken with Santa Fe, and will definitely visit again. Landing in Sedona is a blast, and was my first time landing there in 16 years. Fun route as the longest leg is only about 2 hours. Here are a couple of pictures of our 201 parked up at BCE and SEZ.
  12. BaldEagle

    Gear retract issue today - M20J

    I'm currently tied-down at El Cajon Flying Services, south of SAA. Will go shopping for a hangar after my first annual. By the way, we did have an email exchange a few months ago for Mooney transition training: I'm getting back into aviation after a 13-year hiatus and was expecting some 10 hour transition training requirement from the insurance company, but in the end they just wanted a check-out so I did that with the ferry pilot, who was also a CFI (in case you're wondering why you never heard back from me!).
  13. BaldEagle

    Gear retract issue today - M20J

    Just to follow up on this thread, my J does has the airspeed safety switch as opposed to a squat switch. After digesting the POH, I took the airplane up and the gear retracted as normal. I think the issue was with the pilot: hot day, high density altitude, obstacles at the departure end of the runway and bringing the gear up earlier than I normally would to clean up the airframe; airspeed was likely below what the airspeed safety switch is set to (no mention of what that number is in the POH).
  14. Hi all, Departing a high density altitude this morning, 85KIAS bring the gear up and the Gear Down and Gear Unsafe annunciator lights illuminated with an audible alarm sounding. Recycled the gear, and on the second attempt the gear retracted and we continued to our destination without incident. Anyway, I mention it here because I must have north of 1,000 hours retract time in various singles and twins without a single issue until today. I only have about 12 hours on my "new" '78 J, and was under the impression that the gear systems on these flying machines are generally very robust. Anything I should be concerned about? Take it to the shop, or something I can investigate initially myself?
  15. BaldEagle

    Marine battery for GPU

    I have one of these on the way: To power up the avionics without running the engine (to learn my Aspen / GNS430, etc.), is it acceptable to hang a marine battery off this? Spruce, etc., have portable GPUs but they are pricey, and as I only want to power up the avionics I'm guessing I only need something like 12 volt 25 amp power source to feed the panel. Airplane is a '78 J (14 volt system). Airplane is tied down (waiting for a hangar to free up) so no power outlet and a portable solution required.