Spring Storm Repairs at Folks Field · · PAGE 302.
April 26, 2009: Here is my Sunday
report on the repairs to the hangar at Folks Field. The concrete block wall has been
restored and the south wall is now properly aligned again.
The wide shot of the interior has the blue tint from the plastic sheets
covering the missing roof panels.
This closeup shot of the wall shows one of the steel rebars that is run down to
the foundation inside the concrete blocks. Each location with a rebar is also poured
full of cement to provide extra strength against the type of failure that occurred here.
With no airplanes in the hangar, Wendell has brought in his utility trailer
under those covers, and his tractor that is used for runway mowing and other landscape
New roof panels and the matching cap strips for the top of the building are
ready to be installed next. That will get rid of the temporary blue plastic from the
roof of the hangar.
Wendell and a few of his friends flew commercial on cheap tickets from
Chattanooga to Sanford, Florida this past week. They got a rental car and went to
the Sun-N-Fun fly-in at the Lakeland, Florida airport. I was looking at some online
photos which showed John Myer's RV-8 down there. I also ran across a news item about
this guy who created special wheel pants for RV-7 and RV-10 airplanes. This photo
was originally a 200 x 320 pixel web photo which I have re-sampled and
"sharpened" with my photo processing program. Yes, those are landing gear
doors designed to cover the tires on fixed landing gear airplanes. The inventor got
an award from the folks at LoPresti for this new speed modification to Van's RV's.
The early tests say it adds 8 knots to the speed of the tested airplane. I want to
keep a watch on this idea!
May 1, 2009: I found an update on the speedy wheel pants above. Look at this page on the LoPresti web site. I don't know how long this will remain on their web site.
In other news, Wendell and I retrieved our airplanes late yesterday and they
are now parked back at home again. I had a dead battery and discovered I had left
the master switch on. The battery charger was rated at 1 ampere and could not match
the power drain from the solenoid coil. The flight home was made on just the
magneto, with the battery power of the GPS and Dynon unit guiding the way. It is
just for times like this that I have a panel with passive gauges and a regular magneto on
the engine. The internal battery of the Dynon D-10A worked just fine. It
provided me with winds aloft data showing 29 MPH tail winds at 3,500 feet MSL.
As before, RV-8 builder and pilot John Myers came over to open the hangar for
us. He was there waiting with the hangar door open when we arrived by car.
Wendell does a pre-flight fuel check before pulling his RV-8 out to the ramp in front of
the hangar. Wendell's Alaska traveling partner Terry McDowell came along to drive
Wendell's GMC SUV back home after we took off in the airplanes. John hand-propped my
engine for me to get me started on the way home. None of the panel electronics
worked since the battery was really dead and the alternator had virtually no field current
to start charging the battery on the trip home. About five minutes after takeoff, I
tried the flap switch and to my surprise, there was enough power to raise the flaps.
There was not enough voltage to run any of the electronics in the panel from the main
I had to fly by how the engine sounded since there were no RPM, CHT, EGT, or fuel flow readings. I set the engine controls to the approximate positions I have seen over the past four years and flew home. I was in flight before I remembered the internal battery on the Dynon D-10A and turned it on for the remainder of the flight. It took it a minute to reset itself to in-flight conditions. When it was fully booted and ready, it compared GPS ground speed to air speed and told me about the 29 MPH tail wind I enjoyed.
When I got back over our home field, I tried to lower the flaps with no luck.
I then decided the only reason the flaps came up was because of the 115 MPH wind
helping a weakly-powered flap motor to turn. I made a flaps up landing from the
north into that tail wind that helped to get me home. With that much wind in my
face, the landing was typical with the stopping point near the wind sock as usual.
Once the airplanes were in the hangar, I tried the battery charger and it would not do
anything with the battery. I took off the cowl and measured less than 1 volt DC
between the positive and negative battery terminals. I pulled out the battery
expecting that it would never recover. I also found a few things under the cowl
needing minor attention before the upcoming annual inspection in June.
When I got home Thursday evening, I put the battery on my low-current charger and was pleasantly surprised to see it start a recovery. The only other time I killed the battery was before the first flight in June 2005. It took about 36 hours for the battery to reach a full charge during that first battery distress event. That appears to be what is happening now. With any luck, the battery will be installed tomorrow (Saturday) morning, when I join Wendell and his friends at the hangar. The GPS reported a flight of 28 minutes Thursday evening. I have rounded that to 0.5 hours and added that to my pilot log book. The Hobb's meter is electric and therefore no time was added to it yesterday. There is one thing I like about spring flying, daylight savings time and the late sunset time. Unfortunately, Spring also brings out the bugs and cleaning of them off the airplane afterwards.
May 2, 2009: My aircraft
battery had indeed come up to a full charge by the time I got up for breakfast on Saturday
morning. I headed over to the field to put it in and check out as much as I could on
a very rainy day. There would not be a test flight today. After getting the
battery installed again, I checked out the charging of the battery via the 12-volt
accessory outlet in the panel. My charger gave normal indications. I climbed
inside the cockpit and fired up the avionics master to see everything come to life as
normal. After that, I shut down the electrics and got out to inspect things around
the engine. When I first took off the cowl, I had found a hot spot inside the cowl
where the left exhaust pipe had been against the fiberglass cowl. What I found was
one of the braces to the pipe had come loose. I also found a couple of loose bolts
in that area on the parts that secure the two exhaust pipes at a fixed distance from each
other and at a suitable distance from the fiberglass cowl. Van's design uses a heavy
duty hose and hose clamps to secure those pipes. This picture below is from my page
73 of this web site showing the lateral hose and a pair of hose clamps that keep the two
exhaust pipes at a fixed distance from each other. A pair of similar hoses and
clamps are used to set the vertical placement of the hoses so they do not touch the engine
cowl or the engine mount powder-coated steel parts. It was one of those hose clamps
that failed and allowed the left exhaust pipe to contact the cowl.
I got everthing buttoned up on the cowl and then took this photo before heading
home for the day. Wendell will be moving things around in the hangar this week.
The weather forecast is predicting rain for most of the upcoming week. He
won't be mowing the field, or bringing his Aeronca Champ home from its temporary storage
hangar. I still have to get my airplane out on the ramp to run the engine and
confirm my alternator is working properly. After that is complete, I will remove the
left elevator to improve on the temporary repairs to the trailing edge. I feel I can
do a better job by putting the elevator back on the work table and the back-riveting steel
plate to replace a number of rivets. I may open up the elevator skins and hammer out
the two wrinkles in the skins with my rivet gun or rubber mallet.
May 7, 2009: I went over to the hangar after working hours today to start the engine and check out the electrical systems of "Enterprise" before my next flight. I pulled the airplane out of the hangar and turned it facing North before starting the engine. It fired up immediately. I noticed the battery voltage was at 14 volts when the engine monitor came alive. This was obviously due to the float charger that is always connected when the airplane is in the hangar. The engine run time today put 0.1 hours on the Hobb's meter. That was long enough to get the oil temperature up to 120 degrees Farenheit. I checked all the electric lights while watching the charge rate to the battery and the battery voltage holding steady at 13.6 volts with a full electrical load turned on. I also cycled the flaps up and down. Everything worked properly, including the COM radio talking to Wendell on the air-to-air frequency. After that, I put my airplane back in its hangar position and we put Wendell's RV-8 back in the hangar also. The Aeronca Champ is also back home.
After the hangar door was closed, Wendell wanted to take me down to the other end of the runway on his golf cart to show me the runway conditions along the full length of it.
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