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A friend insisted on an engine monitor in his antique taildragger, now he has lots of engine issues where none existed for the first 70 years of the aircraft's operation.

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In a model C Mooney, nothing is easier to ignore than that six-pack of tiny little gauges over near the co-pilots' left kneecap.  I think there is a reason why later models moved those gauges front-and-center.   In the original C the ergonomics of the Garwin gauge cluster is terrible.

With a modern engine monitor placed in a more visible location and with its greatly improved legibility, I can include it in my scan without having to put my head in the co-pilot's lap. The use of numbers and bar-charts eliminates parallax effects in interpreting gauge needles.  I can see important stuff, such as that time that I was told to expedite my departure, skipped a few items on my checklist, and started to take off with lean mixture.   The engine monitor EGT bars turned yellow and I pushed in the mixture.  I'd say that is perhaps a good example of that engine monitor "earning its keep".

Oh, and a certified engine monitor allows you to remove a bunch of antique gauges, and keep all the flammables firewall forward.   During a recent airshow I spied pressure transducers in the nacelle of a DC-3.  I asked the maintenance guy about it- he said the pilots love not having fuel dripping on their shoes when some fuel pressure fitting starts leaking.   Antique taildragger maintenance guy says that he really likes having a modern engine monitor...

 

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Did a thing today, again. 

Fired up foreflight and followed the magenta line to Morganton, NC for a visit with AGL aviation.  

 

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(Tickling 170 knots never sucks in a 180 hp bird.  Tailwinds are cool.)

 

It took five or seven pounds of right pedal to hold wings level on the way over. With a little breath of a tailwind I was tracking 170 knots over the ground at  at 7,500 feet.  

 

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After they worked three hours of shop time magic on my bird, and two test flights later, I cruised home using the PC trim knob on the yoke to hold my heading.  

I’m sure it’s faster, but didn’t run the numbers. The elevators match each other now and I’m not hanging the barn door rudder out to keep her straight. 

A public service message to rig your birds, if you haven’t yet. 

On the way back, I stopped at the airstrip in north Georgia where I bought a runway lot.  I’m kind of an unknown there- to the extent that I landed, taxied to my lot, shut down and pushed her off into the weeds to clear the taxiway. 

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Two old guys stood in a hangar door, giving me the stare.  Finally another rode by on his golf cart to ask if I needed help looking for someone.  

“Nope. I’m just here to introduce this old gal to what will be her home, once we get it built.”

I did make some new friends, so that’s always good.  

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Edited by Pasturepilot
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On 6/18/2019 at 11:59 PM, Pasturepilot said:

I was considering dual Garmin G5s until a friend suggested the Aspen e5. One box to replace both the AI and DG. It talks to legacy nav/comms and GPS units. Over time, I'd love to modernize, but realistically  one box at a time is a more realistic way to go. In time the LORAN boat anchor will give way to a GPS - Maybe an older Garmin 300XL or the new GPS175 if I can swing the expense. 

Anyone got a better suggestion that I've not seen yet? 


 

 

Jeremy, here's a summary of what I did with the somewhat antiquated panel in my bird after we acquired her.   The cost was not too great because the only upgrade was installing a used 430W and transponder for ADS-B out.  At least I didn't have to deal with Loran...

 

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“Honey, the Boss said to take a day or two off between changing job roles next week. Can we fly to the beach?” 

“Only if you want to transform the five-hour torture session into a 1:45 flight.” 

So, first trip together. Only answered three radio calls with my airline callsign. Fulton County tower now replies to my initial call with “are you that airline guy again or a real pilot this time?” 

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She loved the trip down. Once clear of Atlanta’s arrivals, we got up to 7,500 on top of a scattered layer for a smooth 145-knot nonstop run to the beach. (Just the slightest hint of a tailwind).

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Did a quick run up and down Cumberland and Jekyll Islands and landed there at Jekyll’s 09J. Nice folks, friendly golden retriever, and no tie down fee for a night’s stay. Caught a ride to the hotel with some of the airport folks who swore they were headed to lunch anyway after the hotel said it’d be a whopping 15 minutes before they could get to us. (Spoken with some sarcasm about the van wait - I’ve written magazine columns in bits and pieces while waiting on hotel vans for work layovers). Gave Robert a few bucks to help with lunch and thanked him profusely. 

Had a great but quick stay on the island. Ate a mess of fresh seafood, walked a gazillion miles in the salt air, got up for the sunrise and as we neared the end of our walk, stumbled across a lone hatchling loggerhead turtle working his way to the water. Amy and I provided air cover against the seagulls as he worked his way to the waves- no short trek for a tiny creature on the giant beach at low tide. Watched him hit the waves (pics and videos on my Instagram, same username) and started on to the hotel, then stumbled across two of his siblings. Wound up spending a magical hour guarding the last three turtles to leave that nest. 

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Ate breakfast at the hotel. Lounged by the pool. After lunch with a high school friend who lives down there now, he dropped us back at the airport for the flight home.

Landed at Baxley, Georgia for a fuel stop. Gas cheaper than $4 a gallon (by a penny) and a great little FBO with accommodations for aviators who get weathered in. Two bedrooms and a van available.

 

I’m filing that stop away into my bag of tricks for navigating the convective minefield that is aviating in the south. 

Airborne again and with a full load of dinosaur juice, we got on top of most of the clouds so I could pick my way between the buildups. Before long, though, Atlanta gave me the “thou shall not” regarding their class B. Big storms had everyone deviating off the arrivals and departures, and a couple of jets were going missed off Hartsfield. Flew a big arc around their airspace, landed at Carrollton and topped off before hopping to my buddy’s airstrip to put her to bed. 

Takeaways: The PC system works, but not authoritatively. I distinctly remember the yoke sawing back and forth when I was a kid flying this bird, now full lock left or right on the trim will eventually generate a gentle turn. Time to go leak-chasing. 

The attitude indicator is getting verrry sleepy. Time to start making a decision. Don’t want to overhaul the AI if I’m just gonna go with glass in a couple months. 

When it’s too bumpy to fly with the trim wheel and the PC left/right knob, using my wife’s knee as a prop to fly with my right hand on the right yoke is actually more comfortable than left hand on the left yoke. Makes her more comfortable too, she says  

I need to find a permanent place to keep the CO detector. 

It’s time to install o-rings on the fuel caps. Spent my time on the beach hoping it didn’t rain for different reasons than most beach goers. 

It was all more than worth it when we landed at Jekyll Island and she said how much she enjoyed the flight and was much less stressed than when we do road trips!  

Continuing  to enjoy my short-bodied traveling machine....

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Edited by Pasturepilot
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Jeremy, great write-up and trip Jekyll is my go to.  When I have a new student, I always make sure we go there to show how easy a beach trip is from Atlanta.  Usually getting their significant other to go along seals the deal.  Also, the golf courses are almost never busy.  Often, round trip with golf, it's faster than if I stayed in metro Atlanta to play.  Plus, a quick jump over to SSI for a BBQ sandwich at Southern Soul is never terrible. 

Spent the night at the "FBO" in Baxley last month.  The accommodations are as comfortable as they look.  What a special treat that airport is.

Btw, the PAPI outage at Baxley sucks at night.  That is a type of darkness I rarely see. 

Destin and Hiltonhead are also good shortish trips from Atlanta.  Obviously, those are more expensive and busier than Jekyll. 

William

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@Pasturepilot thanks for your XLNT writeup- now I have a new beach destination!

We've hung the Sensorcon CO detector on the unused co-pilot's microphone hanger forward of the door.  It actually stays there real well, and gives the co-pilot a bit to operate and monitor.

The contrast between GA and Airline Pilot perspectives you offer is really fascinating to me.  If my career choices had turned out just a bit differently, I would be a professional pilot "livin' the dream", not just a weekend guy schlepping around below the flight levels at M=0.18.

 

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2 hours ago, Fred₂O said:

@Pasturepilot The contrast between GA and Airline Pilot perspectives you offer is really fascinating to me.  If my career choices had turned out just a bit differently, I would be a professional pilot "livin' the dream", not just a weekend guy schlepping around below the flight levels at M=0.18.

 

Thanks!

 

I carry moleskine notebooks with me when I fly and jot down ideas, outlines, and stubs that later turn into columns. 

“Dual Citizenship” is one I just started jotting on yesterday. Some elements from GA carry over to airline flying. Some airline stuff likewise crept onto my GA flying. 

But they are very different sides of the same coin. I can’t do an aggressive forward slip in the Airbus. The computers would rat me out to headquarters and a chief pilot would be standing at the gate awaiting my arrival. (But my taildragging feet refuse to sleep through a crosswind landing). I can’t go punching buildups in the Mooney that I wouldn’t blink an eye at in the ‘Bus.  

At the end of the day, though, it’s all in dogged pursuit of a passion that hasn’t faded a bit since I walked into the local FBO at age 13 and refused to go home. 

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Please tell us when you publish articles and where.



Monthly column with Plane & Pilot Magazine.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Jeremy,

If this is OK for you...

https://www.planeandpilotmag.com/article/saying-goodbye-to-your-aviation-inspiration/#.XSvthcopChA

Happy to read various mags, paid for by clicks and eyeballs...  :)

Plane and Pilot is a nice readable magazine...

I used to look forward to buying at the newsstand at Newark airport...

Best regards,

-a-

 

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Jeremy,
If this is OK for you...
https://www.planeandpilotmag.com/article/saying-goodbye-to-your-aviation-inspiration/#.XSvthcopChA
Happy to read various mags, paid for by clicks and eyeballs...  
Plane and Pilot is a nice readable magazine...
I used to look forward to buying at the newsstand at Newark airport...
Best regards,
-a-
 


I didn’t even realize that one had made it online yet. He’s been gone a year and a half and I still had to keep the tissues handy when I wrote it. And now, as I read it, too.

If it’s online that means the next one isn’t far from newsstands.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
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1 hour ago, Pasturepilot said:

Monthly column with Plane & Pilot Magazine.
 

Thanks.  I subscribe, didn't put 2+2 together.  Look forward to reading your articles.

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Today, I found my vacuum leak. The forward (red system) rudder actuator bellows. 

Got some calls, emails, and PMs sent looking for a replacement. 

Slowly but surely we’re getting there! 

 

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Good luck finding a replacement membrane.   Some of us have hoarded secret stashes, I suppose some more willing to part with than others...    I e-mail Brittain earlier this week inquiring about their status.  No reply as of today.

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1 hour ago, Fred₂O said:

Good luck finding a replacement membrane.   Some of us have hoarded secret stashes, I suppose some more willing to part with than others...    I e-mail Brittain earlier this week inquiring about their status.  No reply as of today.

I cut my teeth on old Zlin Akrobats and Trener Masters. You haven't met a parts hoarder until you've met a Zlin owner. Someone just bought two I've been flying for as long as this Mooney - they were mainly buying the parts with the airplanes as a nice addition. They've been without factory support for decades. Brittain's been closed for a couple years now? I just got a box from Mooney. The Brittain stuff is out there. It just takes a little scrounging, and that's nothing new to me. 

In the meantime, here's how she handled the bumps with a patch over the tear yesterday. Much improved. 

 

 

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Jeremy,

We have a few resources of some disassembled pre-owned Mooneys...

@SheryLoewen

@acpartswhse

@Alan Fox

The rubber bladders have been a challenge, and the company is greatly reduced... as their primary person has flown West...

Fortunately, you have the required skills...

Hope these contacts can help...

Best regards,

-a-

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Continuing to do things here. When it comes to instrument panel stock mounts, I suppose there are those who have and those who should. 

I moved from one group to the other today. As you can see, these were well past their prime. To my bottom row of instruments that’d been riding on the support tube for ... decades? I’m sorry. Won’t let that happen again.

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And with that, she’s ready to travel. Which is good because I’ve got some vacation time coming up next week, as does Amy. Might as well make a spectacular trip out of it. 

 

Stay tuned.  

 

Edited by Pasturepilot
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Great pic, J!

Best upgrade for the lowest cost possible! :)

That’s one way to keep the drooping panel from shutting off the CBs...

Did you get some fancy brass acorn nuts to finish things?

Best regards,

-a-

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8 minutes ago, carusoam said:

Did you get some fancy brass acorn nuts to finish things?

I got some fancy brass screws to go into threaded shock mounts.
 

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I bought my Mooney in Tyrone Georgia.  There were so many little strips I thought my GPS had suffered a nervous breakdown.

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A few days after purchasing the bird, Amy asked “can we go places in it?” 

Today: West Georgia to Georgetown Tx. Mooney-Ed up an already Mooniful ramp. Tomorrow: On to Santa Fe. Kanab, UT after. Gonna go check a couple national parks off our bucket list. 

 

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