The first flight of N50KB, 1.7 hours, was made on June 5, 2018. All went well except I felt it necessary to file a NASA report for busting the lower floor of the Flint, MI class B outer ring by 100 feet. Contributing factors were the new airplane first flight and first use of Garmin G3X touch glass panel instrumentation.
That’s not the reason for “Confession” in the title of this post. Some 12.4 flight hours later on June 13th I managed to do a very very gentle tip up of the plane during landing on a 2700 ft grass strip. I don’t like to talk about it because I’m supposed to be an experienced tail dragger pilot. Besides having way too high airspeed ~90 kts on final, I overexercised the excellent Berringer brakes. The prop made nine cuts in the soft sandy soil before coming to rest on a blade that broke. The left wing tip was dragged.
It was an expensive lesson that halted further flight until September 19th. The engine received a full tear down and reassembly at G&N Aircraft a Lycoming dealer in Griffith, Indiana. All parts passed magniflux inspection with no problem.
The propeller was a different story. Only one blade broke. On the bright side Catto props recommended replacing the broken 68/72 with their new 66 inch diameter and 74 inch pitch three blade prop. They predict a 3 to 4 knot speed increase.
Repair of the wingtip required replacement of the outboard forward rib and skin panel. I have been complimented on the quality of the restoration.
Think that is the end of this tale? Wrong! On October 3rd I flew to Owasso< Michigan (KRNP) to practice landings. With the airport in sight the oil pressure warning light lit up red. An aluminum plate and gasket covering an oil pressure supply on the rear of the engine developed a serious leak. I immediately landed and still had very low but positive pressure when the engine was shut down while still on the runway. The airport staff was very helpful and N50KB spent two weeks in a hangar while Dolly and I diagnosed and fixed the problem with a new cover plate from Lycoming.
The plane has performed beautifully for the next 58 hours to date. Whew! I feel better already.