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10 Sep 2021 02:14 #3169


LED lights work great. They are bright even in full sunlight.

Quick picture of AVL scenery while waiting for takeoff clearance at runway 35 at AVL.

Got to test fly the Apache today. Brakes worked great. I couldn't see any hydraulic fluid leaks so we will continue to watch that but hope it stays fixed.

I took off and it was such a gorgeous day (after low ceilings and rain this morning) that I just had to do more than pattern work! So I climbed up going west and called Asheville approach for landing. They were fairly busy but they worked me in after some vectoring to the south. Actually this worked great as I was able to set up the ILS and fly it visually to see how it all looked. I LOVE the G5 displays!

On landing there was a bit of northerly wind and I easily made the first turnoff. I was ready to depart and as I was getting ready to take the runway I saw the left main fuel tank gauge was on empty. I knew it should have plenty of fuel but decided I should check it out on the ground, not in the air. So I told tower I had a low fuel indication and they had me taxi down the runway to clear (two Navy trainer jets behind me!) and I went to Signature to get fuel. Of course it was just a "flaky" gauge. So we need to check the switch on that as it has to switch from MAIN to AUX indications with the fuel lever and I think that is where the issue is. I can push the lever and get the needle to "bounce".

No issues going home and I'm getting more at home in the Apache.

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07 Sep 2021 02:05 #3163


Got to go out to work on the Apache today. We dived right into the brake issue. We found the hydraulic reservoir about empty. So we filled it. And the brakes worked great on the first try. Hmmm....
We checked all over the bottom on the plane including removing the huge belly pan and we just couldn't find enough hydraulic fluid that would indicate that big of a leak. So we cleaned everything off and we will carefully watch for leaks and fluid usage. At least the brakes themselves are ok.
Once the brake was taken care of we got into replacing the fasteners on the left engine. We got it almost finished. Just a few that need a different size washer and one that will need repair. Otherwise it is finished. We did find two minor issues that we fixed while we were in there. A cooling blast tube for the magneto was loose so it was riveted back and we found a missing rivet on a patch on the firewall so it was replaced as well. Also, we noted areas in the engine cooling baffles that will need to be fixed on the annual.

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Last edit: 07 Sep 2021 02:06 by Eric Parks.

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03 Sep 2021 01:50 #3159


Picture is 89P sitting on ramp with the "big iron" behind her at KSOP.

Had time and good enough weather to fly a bit. We had not gone to Pinehurst yet so that became a "quick trip" destination. Overall it went well and while I had planned to fly south of the Class B airspace around KCLT we got cleared by ATC to fly through the Class B at 8500'. That really helped to shorten the trip which was much appreciated as we had about a 10 kt headwind.

KSOP (officially Moore County) is a fairly busy airport for a smaller General Aviation airport. While listening to the Unicom on arrival I heard 3 different planes and once on the ground there was an Air Force C-130 starting up. I taxiied around them to our parking spot near the FBO.

Wifey and I went into Pinehurst to lunch and browse. The FBO very generously gave us the Courtesy Car and we didn't even buy fuel. I offered to top the mains but it wasn't worth pulling the fuel truck around for!

On taxi out the right brakes acted up again. They had felt a little weak on taxi out but they were working. So I continued to do my run up. The plane "inched" forward as I checked the engines and now I was unable to get enough from the right brake to avoid a taxiway light in front of me. Decision time. I shut down the engines as there was no other option there. Wifey got out with me and I pulled the hand held tow bar out of the baggage compartment and we pushed the plane back enough to allow a forward taxi again. Started up again and tried the brakes enough to see that I was getting some braking on the right. Since I had lots of runway ahead of me and lots at my destination I took off and we flew back to Shelby. Everything was normal except I was being super careful on turning to the right. No problem once I knew to be gentle with it.

We had a little tailwind going back but didn't get cleared as direct to Shelby so it was a little longer mileage wise but a few minutes shorter time wise for the return.

So, a nice day of flying but the Apache is back in the hangar waiting on more attention for the right brake. Hopefully we can get the brake issues taken care of and move to other things!

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Last edit: 03 Sep 2021 01:51 by Eric Parks.

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31 Aug 2021 00:37 #3157

The last time I taxied the Apache the right brake "gave out". Yup, while taking it to the hangar. So apparently giving the left brake all the attention only made the right brake jealous. So today was the day to fix that. Of course, since we had so MUCH experience in doing the left brake this was going to be a breeze.

I got to the hangar and my mechanic buddy had already gotten started and had the new O-rings in the caliper. So all we needed to do was use his handy "pump thing" to bleed the brakes and we would be good to go. Of course.... NOT.

He began to bleed the brakes and I also worked the brake pedal from the cockpit. We were getting NOTHING. Finally as we got more frustrated the hand pump just broke in his hands. Cheap plastic. So now we are back to the old way to bleed the brakes but getting nothing. We worked for quite a while. Finally he told me to pump it 10 times and I felt the pressure build! I told him it was working... until number 8 when I felt it go flat again. What?

However, this time he saw where the issue was. He removed a (T-fitting?) and put three tiny O-rings into it. When he put it back in we were finally able to pump up the brakes and got everything working again. So I guess we will get that additional part re-built on the annual for the other side. At least we are back to flying. I tested the brakes with a slow taxi, a fast "taxi" down the runway and finally I did 3 landings with everything working properly. Now it's time to put some flight time on it!

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17 Aug 2021 03:27 #3141

Today was a humbling experience for me and I didn’t even fly! Last flight I noticed on taxi in that my fuel gauge on the left tank was reading lower than it should. So I made a mental note to check it next time to see if we needed to fix it. I really wasn’t surprised since the Apache is so old you can’t expect the gauges to be correct all the time.

The past few times I flew the plane I also had noticed that the Garmin G5 that is my Attitude Indicator was not coming up automatically when the Master Switch was turned on and I assumed it was a software or connection issue. However, all I had to do was press and hold the power button and it would power up and work fine. After a couple times of this I did some research online and found out that there were software updates available and some pilots had experienced start up issues that the new software fixed. So I got a micro SD card and downloaded the upgrade.

Today I first went out and did the upgrade. That went very well and quickly I had both G5 units updated from version 5.5 to 6.82. I was feeling pretty good. I then decided to check out my fuel gauge issue and would also check the G5’s when taxiing it over to the pumps. I first took pics of the fuel gauges on both Main and Aux. On taxi over I realized my G5 was still not working correctly so the new software update did not fix it. When I pumped the fuel I wrote down the gallon amount on the pump after each tank was filled. This way I could keep track of how much went into each tank. Wow! There was a huge difference in the Mains. The Aux tanks were within .3 gallon of each other (16.6 vs 16.9) in a 18 gallon tank. But the Mains were way different, 27.7 gallons in the left Main and 7.9 in the right in 36 gallon tanks. So that explained the low fuel gauge on the left, it was showing low because the tank WAS low!

However, this really worried me. I could only figure that the Crossfeed valve was leaking under pressure from the AUX pumps. The AUX pumps are typically used for takeoff and landing (low altitude) and OFF for cruise. I had left them on accidentally when flying the other day at cruise and had done a lot of pattern work with them on so I decided that must be the reason for the difference in fuel burn. The Crossfeed valve must be leaking under pressure from the AUX pumps.

After getting the plane off the fuel station I called my mechanic buddy who was on his way out to the airport by then for some work on my plane. I told him of the new issues and how I was disappointed in the plane having more issues. He asked me if the circuit breaker was popped on the G5. I had no idea…

Going back out to the plane I crawled under the panel to check the breaker (it’s in a really bad spot to see it!) and there it was… A popped breaker. I reset it and everything worked just fine! Somehow the breaker either popped or was accidentally knocked open and unless you get under that panel you can’t see it. At least the G5 was now fixed!

My buddy got to the airport and we started working through the Fuel Crossfeed issue. I was explaining to him what I had seen and used the pictures I took of the gauges before and after fueling. Then I showed him the fuel panel and how I switched tanks. Then I showed him the Crossfeed…. Oops! It was ON. I was sure it had been OFF but there it was big as life. I told him I found my Crossfeed valve issue. I had it ON when it should be Off. Well, that explained why the fuel burn was uneven! So another problem fixed. Sigh….

Finally, we got to work on the right nacelle cowling to replace the rest of the fasteners. While the cowl was off I saw we had a hole wearing into a SCAT tube. So that was re-routed to keep it from chafing and the small hole was repaired.

Lessons Learned:
1. Don’t assume you know what the problem or the fix is until you have all the facts. Someone else might have a better understanding of what's going on so be willing to listen.
2. If your fuel gauge is showing low believe it even if you KNOW it’s wrong.
3. Know the details of your avionics. My G5 was actually trying to tell me it was on battery but I didn’t know the symbols well enough to figure it out. And the backup battery works great!
4. Document the issues. Having the pictures of the fuel gauges and carefully noting the amount of fuel in each tank as I fueled it helped us understand what was going on. And it gave me more confidence in those “old” gauges!
5. We really need to update the panel and get the circuit breakers where they can be seen and are less likely to be bumped by my knees. Mr. Piper really liked to hide switches on the Apache but that is not always helpful.
6. Occasionally check to make sure your are doing your cockpit "flows" correctly!
7. Open the cowls occasionally and look in there, you might find something that needs to be found.


Pretty easy to update G5

In process

Updated!

Gee, that doesn't look right!

A lot of help today, right nacelle is now done.

It looked good to me like this
But it should have looked like this

Last edit: 17 Aug 2021 03:51 by Eric Parks.

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15 Aug 2021 00:45 #3139

I finally finished the airline flying long enough to get some Apache flying in. Just did pattern work and mostly worked on smooth power adjustments and using different flap settings for landing. Getting fairly comfortable with the plane so it's fun to try some new things. I didn't take pics of the pattern work so here are some pics of work we recently did. My mechanic buddy is replacing the fasteners on the nacelle cowlings and they look way better (and work better!). He started on the inside of the right nacelle since that's what the wife looks at when she flys :)
Eventually we will get all the fasteners replaced. He found 4 places that needed repair but he thinks that is all the right side will need. There is always something to fix and/or improve! Eventually we will replace the wing nacelle fairings with new ones that are molded carbon fiber but that is for another day!

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Last edit: 15 Aug 2021 00:49 by Eric Parks.

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