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When I last posted here, I wrote about the steps in buying a plane… - delta_november

May. 13th, 2014

11:30 pm

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When I last posted here, I wrote about the steps in buying a plane and the tasks still ahead of me.  Yesterday they were completed.

The mechanic finished with the great list of work.  I got a new certificate of registration issued, and I found an insurance provider to cover me.

The insurance folks will always demand some sort of type conversion training if you are new to the plane model.  That's often 15 hours of dual instruction, which might be done over the course of a month.  Since I am a special snowflake with a multi-engine license I talked them down to 5 hours of dual.  I then attempted to do that all in one day.

Early in the morning my mechanic picked me up in Toronto in his Vans RV4.  That's one sweet ride!  He let me fly it to Waterloo, and I almost changed my mind about the plane I want.  The visibility is excellent, with a dome right over the pilot's head like a 1950's bubble helmet.  The controls are light, with a between-the-legs stick like a proper plane should.  It's as cramped as a kayak cockpit, and there's no room to fold a map, but it's grand for short jaunts.

When I got to Waterloo I met with my instructor for the day and we started up my Mooney.  Thunderstorms were threatening, so we had to move quickly.  We took off to the north immediately, and found a hole in the clouds to practice some turns and stalls.  Then to Hanover for a quick lunch and circuits, followed by a cross-country loop around to Simcoe and Toronto before more circuits at Waterloo.

We got the 5 hours of dual done, but I was right on the edge of exhaustion.  The Mooney is miserable for circuit flying.  The elevator control is very heavy, and correct trim is essential.  Dropping the flaps gives a large downward pitch moment, which must be corrected with trim.  Without trim I found I was at full back-pressure on the column and still unable to control approach speed.  In an overshoot or touch-and-go circuit there is the need to suddenly transition from a dirty approach to a clean climb.  Getting the trim right for that transition is difficult, and if unsuccessful there's a lot of muscle involved in hauling the crate around.

 As miserable as circuits are, cross-country is beautiful.  The autopilot is coupled to excellent 1980s navigation gear.  It can be configured to do some IF-THEN maneuvers, such as "climb to this altitude and then level out" or "follow this heading until this airway is reached, and then follow it".  There is a fluxgate magnetometer and heading gyro tucked away in the aircraft tail, feeding realtime data to the HSI and RMI instruments.  The magnetic compass is a useful safety backup, but there's no need to check it regularly or correct for gyro precession.  All of this means that there is less effort in flying the plane, and more attention can be given to navigation and traffic avoidance.

There are still a few things wrong with the plane.  Some of the redundant engine instruments don't work.  I'm missing analog indications of cylinder head temperature and exhaust gas temperature.  I have the same numbers in other places on a digital display, so it's not critical, but it is annoying.  The fuel flow indicator is also iffy, and should be ignored.  Finally, I can't get the tach to read the rated 2700 RPM at full propeller control.  Since the tach has already been replaced, I feel that this may actually be a propeller governor issue.

After 20 minutes in Waterloo to catch my breath and refuel the tanks, and then back in the Mooney and successfully completed a solo hot-start.  It took 30 minutes to fly back to Toronto.  I got it parked and tied down successfully, and then hauled myself home for the sleep of ages.


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Date:May 15th, 2014 01:15 am (UTC)

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