Stephen Watkins

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About Stephen Watkins

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    KPTK Oakland Pontiac Michigan

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  1. Definitely insist on a borescope inspection of all 4 cylinders as part of the pre-buy. You will be able to confirm or eliminate the question on corrosion in the cylinders...and get a look at the heat pattern on the exhaust valves..
  2. Pulling a prop through before starting is an OWT carryover from the old "round engine" days. In radial engines, under certain conditions, oil can pool in the bottom cylinders. Oil is not compressable, so if the engine is cranked in that situation, major damage would/could occur. To check for this, before starting, the prop is pulled through. If there is oil in the cylinder, it will 'lock' and the prop cannot be pulled through. If that happens, they pull a spark plug, drain the oil, clean the plug, and then start. See the link below: On modern 'boxster' engines, I would not recommend this. You want to minimize any movement of the internal components when oil pressure is at zero.
  3. I wish I could go. My mom's family and my wife's family are from there. I went to college and learned how to fly in nearby Mobile. JKA was one of the places I would fly impress my dates. My grandparents would meet us there and loan me a car. If you have never been to Gulf Shores, Alabama, you are in for a treat. Gulf Shores is a bit of a secret that hasn't gotten out yet. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the US. In October, there are always condos available at reasonable rates. If you like to fish, you can charter fishing boat that will take you out into the Gulf. Golfers (not my sport) will find a number of excellent courses in the area. My favorite activity is sitting on the condo balcony, drinking sweet tea, reading the latest Lee Child novel, and watching the waves come in. My wife likes to go to the beach and do the 'sun rotisserie" thing. As for restaurants..when I'm there I always try to go to the "Wolf Bay Lodge" for sea food. There's another interesting place called "Lulu's" that's on the intracoastal waterway. It belongs to Jimmy Buffett's sister, and he has been know to pop in there every once in a while and sing..about 10 miles north of the JKA airport, on Hiway 59, there is an outlet mall that your wife will love, and right next door is Fletcher's Restaurant - "home of the thrown rolls" (another place I make sure I go to whenever I get back there. Damn, writing this really really makes me homesick. Roll Tide!
  4. If you have the money, I would recommend that you buy your own plane, but only after you solo. By then you will know for sure that you really want to pursue aviation, and that you don't have airsickness issues...(My dad, wanted so badly to be a pilot, but couldn't get past the airsickness. He flew RC planes, and got me addicted to flying at a very early age. Fortunately, I didn't inherit the motion sickness issues. ) You can learn how to fly in any plane. The US Navy's primary trainer (back in my day) was the T34C turboprop, with retracts, constant speed prop, and 210 knot cruise...I chose it because it had AC...some of my buddies flew for the first time in the T-28. However, I don't recommend that for civilians that have a budget and aren't full time flight students... I recommend you look at the Grumman Cheetah or if you have the budget, a Tiger. They are both FUN planes to fly, simple and very affordable. They have fixed gear and fixed pitch props, nonetheless, their performance ain't shabby. A well rigged Tiger will run with or outrun a 200 hp Piper Arrow. They aren't as "hot" in the pattern as a Mooney, but, they are more 'similar' than any other trainer that I can think of. Get a hundred or two hours under your belt, then look at moving up to something more complex...
  5. Good news. I also posted on the facebook mooney pilots group and found someone here with a J model. He's probably a member of this group too.. Anyway, tomorrow he may be out at the airport loading and prepping the plane for a trip on Wednesday. He volunteered to let me sit inside. I sure hope I can get comfortable. There's a nice looking 1979 Mooney M20K 305 Rocket on TAP, hopefully it has my name on it...
  6. You’ll fit. I was 6’4” 295 for a while. Maybe I should qualify that “you’ll fit”. You’ll fit if you don’t have a co-pilot as big as you. Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
  7. OK, I'm a little wide too. 6'3" 300#, but given the motivation of a Mooney and an extra gallon of fuel for each 6# lost, I can do something about the weight!. The height will not change... During the last couple years, I have been flying a Cessna Cutlass, Cessna 182 and a Piper Cherokee six. The Cutlass (172 with retractable gear and 180hp) was tight but do-able. Several years ago I lost 50+ pounds and I can do it again. I turn 60 next July and plan to hit that birthday at the same weight I was when I was 20. (around 220 pounds). Steve
  8. I just looked through an engine log on an aircraft that is for sale. It has a Lycoming IO540 with around 350 hours on it. In 2017, All six cylinders were replaced with only 200 hours on them. Why? Because the engine was overhauled in 2002 and only flown 200 hours in 15 years. There were several times where the engine had not been flown in over 2 years. In '17, the owner complained about excessive oil consumption. They borecoped the cylinders and found corrosion. All of them had to be replaced. The THREE biggest enemies of cylinders are: Corrosion - engines that aren't run corrode. If you can't fly your plane enough, sell it, or find a buddy to fly it for you. IMO, planes should fly at least once every two weeks. Excess Heat - CHT management in climb and cruise is critical. Obviously, engine baffling and magneto timing have to be correct, then, manage heat in climb by increasing airspeed and richening mixture. In cruise by reducing power and flying LOP. Mechanics making decisions based on "Compression Tests" Every piston airplane owner should read Mike Busch's book "Engines" . Link below:
  9. If it was up to me, basic aerobatic training would be required for PPL, and it's really too bad that it's so hard to find aerobatic planes and instructors. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend learning basic aerobatics. First of all, it's addicting...very addicting! Second, it will increase your aviation skills, and third once you have flown inverted, or in a vertical dive, and recovered, if it ever happens to you because of turbulence or whatever, it won't be a big deal... Steve
  10. Hi! I'm thinking about buying a M305 Rocket, but would like to try one on for size. The last time I sat in a Mooney was in 1982 when I was a skinny flight line worker in Mobile, Alabama. Is there anyone in this group that has a M20K @ Oakland Pontiac airport (KPTK)? I would like to sit in the front seat and see if I still fit.. Steve Watkins