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Caribbean Mooney Pilot

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Posts posted by Caribbean Mooney Pilot

  1. Finished the 1,000NM Caribbean crossing last week to deliver N9689M to Sarasota Avionics. I was delayed a week due to Hurricane Eta. The flight was smooth cruising at 12,500 other than the constant headwind. One fuel stop in Exuma, Bahamas and a quick turn to Sarasota, Florida. Covid flying logistics (customs, testing, fuel) in the Caribbean have not made these long distance flights easy. 

    Sarasota Avionics was quick on performing surgery on the panel and it hurts to look at the pictures but I know it will be worth it. I will be installing dual Garmin G5's integrated to STEC 30. Dual EI CGR-30P and CGR-30C with CIES Fuel senders. Guardian Ipad Mini flush mount panel install and a long range Turtle-Pac fuel bladder so I'll be able to fly direct to Puerto Rico. Since COVID clearing customs, absurd testing requirements, and spotty fuel have made me go this route. 

    Will keep updated on progress, Happy Holidays.




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  2. Gentlemen, I wanted to share this new video with the Mooneyspace community. The video is from FLY8MA.com a flight training company that I have been affiliated with. The video analyzes a 1981 Mooney M20K crash on takeoff that occurred on April 21, 2016. The 1981 Mooney M20K was determined to be over gross weight, not making takeoff power RPM, and taking off from a 2,000 foot runway.  I don't know how many of you have heard of this incident or seen this video but what my friend Jon Kotwicki of FLY8MA.com recently posted is not meant to Monday morning quarterback the pilot. It is merely to examine the facts and learn from the incident.

    Being a professional pilot, ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, and part of the FAASafety Team I was surprised to learn how this Mooney pilot with over 3,000 hours and also a CFI could have such an accident. External pressures can lead to bad decisions and cause us to overlook flight associated risks.  I am not one to judge and I have made my fair share of bad decisions during my flying career. Things can happen to anyone at any stage of your piloting career all we can do is learn from these incidents. I suggest watching this video and spread throughout the Mooneyspace community. 


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  3. Today my buddy and I knocked out the Flight Enhancements electric step conversion kit. I am having a dual Garmin G5 install completed soon and removing the vacuum system so I needed the electric kit since I won't be having the pneumatic pump anymore in the back to pull my step. The install took around 4-5 hours and was fairly straight forward. I still have to safety wire the turnbuckle and attach power to the battery bus tomorrow. Tested on the ground with a 12v battery and it worked like a champ. Pretty cool little device for the price and for what it does. 

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  4. After waiting several months trying to locate a new Air Induction Coupling part # 600064 I finally replaced mine today with a new one. The old Aerotech part was discovered at annual falling to pieces and made me nervous for the health of my engine. I tried to repair it the best I could at Annual but I still was not happy with the results. I contacted a friend of mine at Sarasota Avionics Maintenance, a Mooney Service Center in Venice, Florida and he happened to have one on the shelf. I couldn't believe it...I know these things are very hard to acquire and I immediately purchased it. I have tried calling LASAR multiple times with no success. It was expensive at $495 but it gives me piece of mind now for the future. 

    The install was straightforward by removing the lower panel in front of the nose gear and air intake grill. Would say total work was around two hours. Nice to know the Lycoming is breathing fresh filtered air without any risk of debris. 





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  5. 23 hours ago, Tcraft938 said:

    I can give you a reference with the two G5's, but I know that's nothing impressive today.  I too would like to clean up the right side of my panel with something like the CGR 30p since I have a great spot open to the right of pilot panel (similar to you), or maybe a bigger JPI system.  The digital stuff I have on the right side, all works, but it's a lot of toggle switching and rotary dial moving from cylinder to cylinder to get information.  Kind of run out of hands when flying, leaning and switching.  Of course an AP would help with that, but at this point I will wait to see what happens with garmin and trutrak.  Sorry in advance for my ignorance, why are you installing two CGR instruments?


    I bought the CGR-30P and CGR-30C combo package when CIES was running the Sun n Fun sale this year. The combo package gave me a $800 rebate for the purchase. The CGR-30C installed to the right of the panel will be dedicated as a dedicated Fuel Management and Flight Planning gauge more so than anything. I do a lot of island flying and wanted a solid Fuel Gauge paired with the CIES fuel senders. The photo was just of the stock CGR-30P I have attached what it will look like. It also provides a dedicated remote Annunciation panel which I thought was a cool addition for better situational awareness.


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  6. On 9/14/2020 at 9:37 PM, Jim Peace said:

    Dont forget to flush and be sure to put a push to talk on the right side if you dont already have one...mine is on the panel.

    Some high amp USB chargers are nice to have....

    It is nice to leave the right side blank so the iPad does not cover stuff up...I decided to go with the mygoflight suction mount setup....this way when technology changes all I have to do is get a different suction mount....plus sometimes I do not even need the iPad for local flights....so it stays out...

    Sensorcon has a deal now on monoxide detectors,,,,get one or two....

    I have the Stec 30 as well....the GPSS and the ALT hold works just as good as in the Boeing I fly at work....

    picture was taken right after the install....you and I do not have a flight director but I did change the ADI to a dual cue set up....you can see the pitch much better that way....The V bar thing blows chunks...

    Also there were some issues between the Stec and the G5's.  apparently a wire needed to be jumped to the flux capacitor to make things happen and it was not done during the install....And no a MSC did not check it prior to signing it off.....why would they,,,it is the new way of doing things....

    It also it took a lot of effort to get a proper compass swing many weeks after install....that was not checked either....

    be sure to ask about the quality of work regarding your buss bars....mine were not properly secure or fasted or hooked up right....It was a MSC so there you go....several times a completely dead airplane even as recently as two years later.....It has all been fixed 100% now.....took a grass roots mechanic who would never work for a large shop....





    Beautiful airplane and panel, thanks for posting. I am having the install done at Sarasota Avionics, I hope they should know what they are doing. I have been looking at mygoflight ipad mount instead that way I can keep the right panel clean. Will let you guys know. Thanks!

  7. On 9/14/2020 at 9:05 PM, Bob E said:

    For what it's worth I upgraded my '65 M20C panel over the last two years; the only remaining item is a GFC-500 whenever they get it certified.  I have Cies fuel senders and have been happy with them. (One of the senders was bad but they promptly sent a replacement and it has worked for more than a year now -- super-accurate.)  You'll no doubt love the CGR engine monitor too, an incredibly nice upgrade to have after years of guesswork!  You can't go wrong with the two G5's; they integrate seamlessly with the 430.  I installed the magnetometer for the G5/HSI display out on the end of one wing.  If you have LED position lights be sure to distance it a foot or two from the light.  Since you have a GNS-430, definitely get a FlightStream 210 if you don't already have one, to enable your iPad(s) to synch with the 430:  You enter a destination or a flight plan in Garmin Pilot or ForeFlight and instantly send them to the 430; no more buttonology!  I chose two iPad minis since they fit nicely on the yokes, and they are also the brightest iPads on the market. They're powered with USB cables plugged into a panel-mounted USB charger port, so battery life is never an issue. I fabricated by own yoke mounts to position them.  A photo of my panel is below; you can see the spot where the GFC-500 will go!  When I upgraded, the criteria I used were basically as follows:

    • Simple, functional layout.  All buttons and controls easy to access and use with minimal distractions.  (It took a long time to find the right clock and digital timer, but if you're interested they are here:   clock=  https://amazon.com/gp/product/B07DRP936J/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 .  Timer= https://amazon.com/gp/product/B07HGYZBW8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) Simple and clear navigation visuals with no clutter. I decided not to go with a large panel-mounted glass display, so I use the GPS screen for navigation only, and use the iPad to display charts, traffic, weather, and plates.
    • Avoiding single points of failure.  Engine monitor functions, radios, GPS navigation, and legacy navigation are all separate systems.  Also, each G5 has its own separate altitude readout and its own attitude indicator and battery backup. 
    • "Bulletproof" quality.  That's the reason I kept the KX-155 radios, which despite being at least 25 years old, have LED upgrades and will likely be functional for another 10 years or more.  Since your 430 has built-in comm, your KX-155 as com 2 is great. 
    • Compatibility.   I went with all-Garmin except for the engine monitor and ForeFlight.
    • Aesthetics.  I experimented with Photoshop to see what different panel layouts looked like.  Glad I did.

    I hope this is useful.  Good luck with your panel upgrade!




    Thanks for the very informative reply. I look forward to flying with the upgrades. I have been looking at the flightstream and was also considering it. Will post when install is complete. Thanks again!

  8. On 9/12/2020 at 1:15 PM, Ragsf15e said:

    I have the G5s paired with stec30 and garmin 430w.  Works awesome.  My panel is similar... you sure there’s room to flush mount the G5s?  Mine, the shop said there wasn’t room so they aren’t flush.  Not a huge deal, but flush looks better.

    Are you doing the temp sensor/input for the G5s to give you temp, da, TAS?

    Yes I am doing the GAD 13 OAT also 

  9. Hey guys finally pulled the trigger and booked the date for the panel upgrade at the end of November. Decided to go with the Dual Garmin G5 install, CGR 30-P, CGR 30-C, Cies Fuel Senders, and a nice Ipad Mini dash mount from Guardian. Looking forward to removing the vacuum system and having the ability to have accurate fuel readings and a solid engine management system. Also looking forward to having the G5's pair with the STEC 30 for GPSS steering. 

    Has anyone had a similar setup done and what are your thoughts so far? I was playing at home and putting in images to compare the cockpit before and after take a look. I will be removing everything right of the stack also the AI, DG, Garmin CDI, Vacuum pump and all original Mooney gauges on right side of the panel. Let me know if any of you guys are interested in purchasing these come November. 


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  10. I just balanced my Hartzell two blade prop at annual using the DynaVibe system. It took probably 5-6 hours to do taking the spinner off and on and adjusting weights accordingly. The prop was removed for annual to replace the generator belt. The original reading on 1st test run was 0.43 IPS by the sixth test run we got it down to 0.01 IPS. What a major difference in smoothness at cruise power. I would recommend the DynaVibe system to anyone wanting to balance there own prop. 


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  11. Venice Airport (KVNC) in my opinion is still one of my favorite airports in Florida. I grew up in Venice, Florida and also had a hangar with a Cessna Skylane there. Venice is a great city with small town charm and right on the water. It is a beautiful place to live and retire. My parents still live there and I try any chance to visit them. The airport is well taken care of and the hangar rent is reasonable for Florida pricing. There is a great restaurant in the FBO and the beach is right across the street. If you have any other questions about it let me know. 

    This was back in the day landing our seaplane there. 

  12. Well after almost 10 weeks of having N9698M down for an extensive annual the IA finally signed off my logbook entries. I spent the day reinstalling the freshly steamed cleaned seats and carpeting (what a difference that made). My buddy and I used his new DynaVibe prop dynamic balancer and spent the majority of the next day dialing in the Hartzell Prop. We started at almost .43 IPS and were able to get an average reading of .01 IPS which was a dramatic difference. After buttoning up the airplane she was detailed, washed, and waxed. Thanks for all of the help and comments I had received from the Mooneyspace community. 

    I hope the next few years annuals won't be as extensive because my body is sore and tired after this one. 
















  13. Seeing that the Caribbean has entered another COVID lockdown I haven't rushed this annual and continued improvements in N9689M. We removed the prop and continued our inspection replacing the generator belt and installing a new overhauled generator, Corcorde Battery, Lamar Starter, and Zefttronics voltage regulator. Received new airframe and engine hoses from PHT Hoses. Had to send both fuel lines back to PHT for being a few inches small. Still waiting to received the new ones (they were helpful in shipping new ones out right away). What a pain in the ass the oil cooler lines were to install (glad those are done). All of the other hoses were fairly straight forward with having to do another gear swing (see video) after installing hydraulic brake lines. Bled the brake and flap lines after installation of the new lines. 

    After further inspection in removing the lower cowling for generator removal I went ahead and replaced all SCAT Tubes after noticing some cracking. Removed my old Stewart Warner Oil Cooler and sent out for overhaul with Pacific Oil Cooler after noticing some corrosion on heat exchanger fins (still waiting to receive that). After removing the entire interior and upholstery carpeting it was taken to a detailer to be steamed and cleaned. The amount of dirt and nastiness removed from the seats and carpeting was pretty impressive (see video).

    Hoping to have the annual done within the next week when I receive the parts. Miss flying but now is the time to get the work done. 













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  14. Yea I agree it is a good feeling. It is even more work down in the Caribbean getting it done. The IA came and inspected my airplane said plane looked good but suggested some parts so I figured I wouldn't mess around due to the overwater flying I do and this being my first year of owning the plane. I Currently am waiting over a week to get some parts for the plane, shipping is not efficient down here. I repaired the battery box thanks @kortopatesand did the gear swing a few days ago. I installed the new uplock from Lasar which went smoothly and I checked the preloads. I purchased new Hose kits for the engine (oil/fuel lines) and airframe (brake, hydraulic, and wing fuel lines) from PHT hoses. Figured I would take care of replacing all aging hoses in the airplanes with nice new ones. Going to replace the generator belt along with a new overhauled Delco Generator, Zeftronics Volt Meter, and Concorde battery. New intake gaskets, intakes hoses, and exhaust gaskets Finally rebuilt the rat socks from@larrynimmo  on Mooneyspace thanks! Appreciate everyones help on here and looking forward to flying again soon. 







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  15. Today marked day four of my owner assisted annual on my 1966 Mooney M20C. Everything has been pretty straightforward thus far with this being my first year owning N9689M and a Mooney. I have turned wrenches on airplanes growing up but never on a Mooney. My friend (A&P) and I have been knocking out about a section of the Mooney Annual Maintenance Inspection Guide a day and hoping to have the IA on the field sign her off at the end of next week. The engine section went well with compressions 78/78/78/80, new Aeroshell W100 Plus with Camguard, and a nice and clean visually inspected oil filter. Spark plugs were cleaned and regapped without incident and the engine was repainted with a nice Lycoming Gray along with the baffling. New air filter was installed and the carb bowl was drained and wire main inlet screen cleaned. The only concern that needed repair was the removal of the battery box for sheet metal repair on the bottom of the box and repainting of the firewall.

    My Hartzell Propellor was inspected and lubricated per the Hartzell Maintenance manual. All access panels required for the annual inspection were removed which took a while and I plan on fogging with ACF-50 before closing her up . We are now treating surface corrosion in the wheel wells and will be repainting the wheel wells and landing gear. Still have to start lubrication of airframe after paint and perform gear swing, repack bearings, and inspect brakes. I will be installing a new uplock from Lasar which I am looking forward to finally getting done. I dissembled the rudder bungee assembly due to surface corrosion, regreased, reassembled, and reinstalled (picture is before all work was completed). Cleaned and treated surface corrosion on brake master cylinders, and the electric fuel boost pump.  I purchased an ADLog for this airplane several months back and spent my time researching all of the logbook entries from back to factory new. It took me a long time and was exhausting filling out the entire book to ensure compliance with ADs but I am sure glad I have that with me now to present to the IA (it makes it so easy to show proof of compliance).

    I still can't understand some things however after researching logs of maintenance performed in last annuals, propellor entries, and also powerplant logs (and I mean thoroughly reading every log entry since new). I have followed the Mooney Annual Maintenance Inspection Guide exactly and have used the Mooney Maintenance manual and parts catalog throughout the annual for reference. I feel like the IA in previous years has been liberal on his sign offs after thoroughly inspecting my airplane this annual. For example the Propellor required much AeroShell #6 grease on the top blade and was extremely black coming out of the hub. I am no A&P but am very mechanically inclined and there is no way in less than a year with less than 50 hours on the bird this year as the new owner (thanks Corona Virus) that some of these items have formed. I have a hangared airplane and wash it almost twice a month. However, its good to see and find these discrepancies firsthand, fix, and have a sense of security in the hard work you have put in to preserve this great machine. I feel as though I have been more thorough in my annual inspection than dropping it off at a local airport maintenance facility. 

    This annual has been a lot of work, and living in the Caribbean I can't drive down the road to my local Mooney Service Center for parts but I planned ahead and had most of the parts needed to perform a thorough annual to take good care of the old girl. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel as this had been a great learning experience. I feel much more confident in performing owner preventative maintenance in my Mooney. Look forward to hearing other Mooney owners experiences in performing owner assisted annuals. Let me know if any of you guys are ever down in the Caribbean and want a flight around the islands. Keep Flying









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