Kyle Koukol

N187CT - Building Our Dream 201

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In March of 2015, we finalized the purchase agreement of N4352H, a 1979 Mooney M20J “201”. Early in 2017, we decided it was time to do a full modernization project and ensure the safest and most capable aircraft we possibly could. We figured that this project would take just shy of one year, so I dropped the airplane off one day before new hire class for my airline started. 

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Upon purchase, the aircraft was equipped with the Aspen PFD2000 system, a single Garmin GNS-430W, the S-TEC55X autopilot, as well as the Lycoming IO-360-B3A6. With the exception of those upgrades, the airplane remained relatively original in its equipment. Her most recent coat of paint was put on in 2001 and scored as a 7/10, her interior was from 1997 and also was 7/10.

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Avionics:

We first started the project at Airborne Electronics in Sacramento, California (KSAC), with an entire overhaul of the panel. After much debate, the decision was made for the following equipment:

  • Aspen PFD2000, with Synthetic Vision (previously installed)
  • JPI EDM 900
  • Garmin GTN 750
  • Garmin GTN 650
  • Garmin G5 standby attitude indicator
  • PS Engineering 8000G audio panel
  • Garmin GTX 345 transponder
  • S-TEC55X with altitude preselect
  • P2 audio advisory system

Below is the old wiring being dealt with as we progressed through the tear out process.

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New wiring being installed, not a single one of the original wires were retained:

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The panel layout was drafted several times throughout the process and mocked up with cardboard cutouts:

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After harnesses were created the panel was cut and powder coated. All harnesses were assembled in a manner that lets the avionics tech remove a few screws and pull the individual components down and underneath the panel for ease of maintenance:

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Finally, operational testing of the equipment began, this was an exciting day for all of us:

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As an aside, I hated the rocker switches in the original panel, so we went with a more typical switch setup, for any CRJ drivers, you may recognize that battery master switch:

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The panel and glare shield once installation was complete and she was ready for her ferry flight to Auburn, California (KAUN) for annual:

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After annual she began her last flight as N4352H down to Santa Maria, California (KSMX) for paint art Art-Craft Paint (http://artcraftpaint.com/).

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Paint:

I dropped the airplane off at Art-Craft and discussed our project. They were certain they could pull off the design within the 30 day window as quoted, and they delivered perfectly on time and on budget. The masking and foil process began the day I dropped her off:

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The paint was stripped and they kept me updated every Friday (minimum) as to her progress of becoming N187CT.

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The base layer was applied:

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And finally the picture that got me the most excited about this project, seeing the paint start to come together, taken two days before delivery day:

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Finally delivery day! I showed up via Uber as they were just putting the finishing touches on the aircraft:

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The final product. It was a mix between the Mooney Acclaim paint job, and another scheme that I preferred for the tail design:

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Below is the original design that we presented to them:

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Interior:

We contacted Bruce Jaeger of Spatial Interiors (jaegeraviation.com) to come out to Sacramento to help us bring the interior into a modern age and style. Bruce spent three days in the middle of summer heat reconditioning and repairing our original 1979 plastics. The results were incredible. The attention to detail that Bruce demonstrated was second to none. He spent the time to repaint the center control stack as well to bring it inline with the rest of the aircraft stylization as well.

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Finally, the seats were updated to include "Mooney 201" badging. 

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All in, the project took about 9 months, a long time to be without our beloved Mooney, however it was the best decision we felt we could have made to create our dream airplane. 


Kyle

http://www.comstockaviation.com/

 

 

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Edited by Kyle Koukol
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Looks great Kyle. Was this plane based on the east coast before you bought it? Looks like a plane that was based in Maryland.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

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Thing started out with a better panel than I ended up with.  Still, good of the OP.  Nice to see our wonderful airplanes get new life.  They ain't gonna make any more.

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Sweeeeeeeeeeet

Good job.  I would be afraid to know how much it cost.  However, you did it right all at one time.  Once the shakedown flights are done you can enjoy it for many years.

 

 

 

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Nice!

Are those regular toggle switches or CB/switch combo?

 

I’m thinking of doing the same thing, but adding regular circuit breakers and just use regular switches.

I noticed you kept the ram air, did you consider removing it?

 

Tom

 

P.S. nice touch of painting the gear down switch

A lot of empty space on the left panel....just begging for another upgrade

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If you're gonna spend the money to bring one back to "Factory New/Modern" condition, the J is certainly one of the best candidates. Well done, she looks amazing.

And that panel configuration looks somewhat familiar. :D

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Way to go Kyle!

We’re going to need some pireps as you go through all the commissioning of everything...  :)

The new 201s look great.

Best regards,

-a-

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1 hour ago, Marauder said:

Looks great Kyle. Was this plane based on the east coast before you bought it? Looks like a plane that was based in Maryland.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

It sure was. I picked is up from KESN when we purchased it.

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That is a beautiful upgrade!  Art-Craft did a fantastic job on the paint job.  I love the avionics layout and the interior looks better than most sports cars.  I hope you and your passengers enjoy this plane for many years to come.  :)

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1 hour ago, ArtVandelay said:

Nice!

Are those regular toggle switches or CB/switch combo?

 

I’m thinking of doing the same thing, but adding regular circuit breakers and just use regular switches.

I noticed you kept the ram air, did you consider removing it?

 

Tom

 

P.S. nice touch of painting the gear down switch

A lot of empty space on the left panel....just begging for another upgrade emoji2.png

Art, they are a CB/ switch combo. I really did not like the original rocker switches, so I am super happy with the new switches, I highly recommend that modification. And we actually never had the conversation about removing the RAM air. Finally, the gear down switch does look much better than the original off white it was, that was a cheap upgrade!

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55 minutes ago, carusoam said:

Way to go Kyle!

We’re going to need some pireps as you go through all the commissioning of everything...  :)

The new 201s look great.

Best regards,

-a-

Thank you! It has actually been out of the shop for a little bit now, so I have had some time to get all of the systems up to speed. 

 

The squawks were very minor for the magnitude of the project:

  • Comm 1 (GTN 750) was scratchy. Airborne took the airplane in and put the 750 on the bench, verified squelch and reinstalled- problem fixed.
  • Rudder trim was slightly left of center.

I couldn't believe how well everything came together in the end. It even survived the flight to and from Oshkosh this year!

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28 minutes ago, Bike_rider said:

That is a beautiful upgrade!  Art-Craft did a fantastic job on the paint job.  I love the avionics layout and the interior looks better than most sports cars.  I hope you and your passengers enjoy this plane for many years to come.  :)

Thank you very much! We have sure loved the airplane thus far, I hope that will continue!

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Just amazing what you guys are doing to these wonderful airplanes! A real collectors prize. 

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Very nice!! You thought of everything.

My first impression was, "Why would you want the STEC 55X controls way over to the right?", but then I remembered that the 55X can be controlled by the Aspen.

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Then I thought, "Why didn't he or the shop catch that they had misspelled AVIONICS?"

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But you caught it.

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I really like the way you mounted the annunciator in the glareshield - very creative.

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Did Bruce have to remove everything from the lower console to repaint or did he mask everything and do it in place before your new interior went it?

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@LANCECASPER, there's no sneaking past your attention to detail! You are exactly right, a few of those pictures were from early in the build out process, so the misspelling was caught and corrected. The annunciator panel was actually one of the more challenging aspects of the panel, we had no clue where to put it when we had laid the whole design out. Randy and Rich at Airborne are the ones to credit for that ingenious mounting method. Finally, great question regarding Bruce. I am not sure to be honest, I will email him and try to get an answer for you!

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41 minutes ago, Kyle Koukol said:

@LANCECASPER, there's no sneaking past your attention to detail! You are exactly right, a few of those pictures were from early in the build out process, so the misspelling was caught and corrected. The annunciator panel was actually one of the more challenging aspects of the panel, we had no clue where to put it when we had laid the whole design out. Randy and Rich at Airborne are the ones to credit for that ingenious mounting method. Finally, great question regarding Bruce. I am not sure to be honest, I will email him and try to get an answer for you!

Thanks!  I will sleep much better tonight also knowing that the tops of your two Aspens and the top of your G5 line up perfectly . . lol

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It's a lot of fun spending other people's money. Here are some winglet/leds that would look great on your 201.

http://www.aveoengineering.com/crystal-conforma-for-mooney/

Here's what they look like on a K model (still picture, not a video):

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Lance has the Eagle eye tonight! :)

Special skills that only a few MSers have...

probably comes from years of scanning a panel full of instruments in IMC...!

Best regards,

-a-

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14 hours ago, Kyle Koukol said:

Art, they are a CB/ switch combo

At least you know they won't go brittle or crack and they'll easily be changeable.

Congrats on your beautiful restoration.

I particularly like the colour of your panel that will definitely be my colour choice when the time comes.  Is it a very light grey or a particular type of white?

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I think my two favorite parts of this project are the switches and the chamfered edges on the what is it .090 aluminum.  Great attention to detail. Solid metal switches will last... 

Where’d you source those switches? They look classy 

Also - are the avionics split into two busses thus the left and right switches? 

Wonderful job. 

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