No more lost pencils?

Pilots flying under instrument flight rules (IFR) make a practice of recording instructions from air traffic control (ATC), usually with pencil and paper.  Pity the poor pilot who lost their pencil to the cabin floor and can’t retrieve it because the seat belt and shoulder harness are tight and the plane is flying through turbulence while ATC is issuing an amended route clearance.

With a 3D printer and idled hands I made a solution for Van’s RV aircraft. 

The blue double ended thingy sturdily clips onto both the plane control stick and standard sized pencils.

I’ve started giving them to other fumble fingered pilots.

You know who you are.  Just ask the next time we see each other.

For RV deprived pilot friends, I also have a version that clips onto standard aviation chromalloy 3/4″ tubeing.

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200 Knot Club

In the world of Van’s RV Homebuilt Aircraft there is an event known as “joining the 200 knot club”.  It’s for aircraft that have surpassed 200kts (230mph) groundspeed in level cruise flight.  By far the majority of Van’s RVs have a top speed in level cruise around 175 kts or 200 mph.  So a pretty good tailwind is required.

Thursday 4/7 on a flight retrieving N50KB from Michigan to Florida we (I and the plane) joined the club.  Click on the photos to see the detail.  What a ride!

There was a 72 kt tailwind component at 14,500 ft msl. That plus the 143 kt full throttle (59% power) true airspeed pushed and pulled us at 215 kts over the ground.

215 kts

9.9 gallons per hour.  24.9 miles per gallon. Hooah!!!

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Over Michigan last week

Last Monday (03/30/2020) I relocated the Dream Weaver from Florida to Bishop Airport in Flint, Michigan. Then, I took our mini motorhome out of the hangar and drove back to Florida. Eight hours including two fuel stops going up; three days sanitizing gas pump handles driving South.

Michigan and northern Indiana were totally socked in. The photo is from 9,500 ft. Ceilings were 4000; scattered 1300 ft. Outside air temp flitted between 27 and 32F. When ATC cleared me lower for the approach I dove at 2,000+ fpm to pass through the layer as quickly as reasonable. Even so the plane picked up some light rime ice on the leading edges and windscreen. Fortunately it quickly melted below the deck. The approach and landing were uneventful.

The relocation was done because the plane is ten months into its last twelve month condition inspection; all of my tools and hangar are in Michigan, while Dolly and I expect we will be stuck in Florida till late July.

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1929 Ford Trimotor

Volunteer Perks:–

Last week Dolly and I volunteered as ground crew for the EAA’s 1929 Ford Trimotor that was visiting Brooksville Florida.  On Sunday the ten passenger plane had eleven flights.  On the last flight there were only nine paid passengers.  From the volunteers, Dolly was selected to fill the last seat.  It was a beautiful yet blustery day.  Winds were 10 gusting to 24.

Dolly”s seat

I worked as flagman, signaling to the starter that my side of the ramp was clear of people.

This trimotor has a 235 gallon tank.  The pilot climbs up through a cabin roof hatch, drops a rope and pulls up the fuel hose.

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Night Ops

The alarm went off at 3:00 AM.  Dolly heard it an woke me.

The plan was to regain nighttime currency, three takeoff and landings to a full stop at night.  We want to fly to St. Petersburg tomorrow to see the Kratt brothers show at the Mahaffee theater, a short walk from the airport.  The return will be at night.

Everything went just as it should.  The tires and tanks were full; all the nuts were on their bolts.  I taxied from the hangar pad and clicked the mike to turn on the taxi and runway lights…clicked the mike to turn on the taxi and runway lights…clicked the mike to turn on the taxi and runway lights…clicked the mike to turn on the taxi and runway lights.  No lights.  I tried both tower and ground frequencies.  I tried three, five and seven clicks.  No lights.  Frustration and nice photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Triple Tree Fly-in

Triple Tree is a unique place created over many years by Pat and Mary Lou Hartness. From undeveloped land they wrestled out a beautiful airdrome in South Carolina.

It’s centerpiece is a 7,000 foot grass runway of Bermuda bent grass that is irrigated and maintained like a golf course green.

For one week each year the private airport is opened up to all things airborne. All persons are invited provided they can show a pilot’s license or some other direct connection to aviation.

Facilities include the pavilion shown above, plus showers, wet and dry camp sites, an educational center, aerodrome control tower, a museum/hangar, pilots lounge and other necessary infrastructure. Pat’s prime aviation interest has been model aviation although he also has a full scale mirror polished Spartan Executive and a P51.

Pilot’s Lounge

DC3’s?

These two birds put on an airshow Saturday afternoon.

Shade from the sun and hangar flying conversation – Triple Tree hospitality.

Food at TTA is plentiful and delicious. There is a different menu for the cookout every evening. Thursday is “pick out and grill your own steak” night with tasty fixings and chocolate cake. Yumm!

On Saturday we lined up for a pulled pork dinner near the top of the hill by the hangars. A quartet played old songs and friends caught Dolly and I dancing. We had worked as volunteers all week; Dolly helped in registration and I drove six person courtesy golf carts.

Try it next year?

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Oshkosh Airventure 2019

Sent a photo of N50KB in response to a query on Vans Airforce forum. Doug Reeves passed it on to Vans Aircraft where Rick Hayes passed it on to Lycoming. I received a call that Lycoming would like to have the aircraft on display at their Airventure booth in Oshkosh.

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