Going home (to 4G4)

Ever since I first flew my RV I knew I wanted to take it ‘home’ to my hometown of Canfield, OH – the megatropolis that it is.  What a better day to do it than today?  Woke up to find that my wife and daughter went to the in-laws for the weekend.  Checked the WX on the net, called FSS, got the dog to the kennel and headed out to the airport.  What a great flight north.  Since I only had about 33 gal when I launched I decided to stop at Richard Downing Airport in Coshocton, OH (I40) on the way for cheap gas… $3.63 full serve!  After filling up on 100LL and some good local ice cream, I headed northeast for 66nm to arrive at my destination – Youngstown Elser Airport (4G4).

This great little hometown airport is closest to my parents.  Much closer than KPIT, KCAK, or KCLE when we fly commercial.  Each easily over an hour away.  It only took me about 2.8 to fly to 4G4.  Door to door it was about 3.5 hours!!  So much better than the 5.5+ hours it takes when we fly Delta.  The drive home to my parents only took 7 minutes compared to the 1 hour drive it normally takes from the big airports.  The RV is such a great machine.  Flew the whole way at 9500′ and it was as smooth as can be.  To date, this is my longest flight ever in any small airplane piloted solely by me.

After I arrived, I helped the parents with some landscaping.  Then we headed back to the airport to give some rides to family and friends.  Then it was time for some mexican food (ok, not the best thing in Northeast Ohio).  This was the weekend of the Hot-Rod Supernationals so it was a little more happening than usual.




Lots of good food at 2J3

Just walked in the door after making it back from the Catfish Fry, generously hosted by Pierre Smith.  Alan, Mike and myself launched as a 3 ship out of LZU and picked up Reno overhead.  After we picked up Reno, Kahuna dropped back to pick up Alan who dropped well behind us.  Did a pass overhead with Mike’s smoke on and then came around for the overhead break on Rwy 31. 

About 4 RV’s beat us in.  But over the next hour or so the field filled up quite well.  Over 30 airplanes, at least 25 of which were RV’s made it out on this gorgeous day for flying.  Most of the planes were from the Atlanta area (about 100 nm northwest) but we did have one RVer all the way from Texas.  Think he was in the area on other business, though.  I’d have better pics but the batteries in my Digital Rebel died.  So I was stuck with the cheap Panasonic FX-01.

The catfish was great – cooked perfectly… and so was everything else.  I saw Barefoot Billy manning the fry station most of the time with lots of other helpers prepping the food… everything from hush puppies to fries to boiled shrimp.  So thanks to everyone who helped with the cooking duties… and many big thanks to Pierre for arranging this nice afternoon.

Pierre didn’t ask us for any money… if we wanted to give anything it would go to a great local charity, the Broken Shackle Ranch.  This facility takes at-risk kids (14 – 17) and teaches them all the valuable lessons of life.  From carpentry to church to opening a bank account.  So my money went in the bucket as well as lots of other givers.  Quote from their website: “Broken Shackle Ranch is a Christian youth home that specializes in helping young men ages 16-19 by teaching them responsibility, discipline, work ethic, and moral values.”


Updated GRT software

Made it out to LZU today after work.  Hoping to go fly but I only got a chance to update the software in my GRT EFIS to V29E.  At the same time I updated the AHRS software to version 0.24.  There is this warning (below) about updating the AHRS software.  Because I paid $300 for a pitot-static check, I think I might lose my very accurate altimeter settings (i.e scale factor and calibration numbers):

A bug was found that caused a discontinuity in the altitude calculation near 12,000 when the altimeter scale factor was set to a value other than 1.000.  No problem occurs if the altimeter scale factor is set to 1.000.The altimeter scale factor should be checked before or after loading this software.  It is accessed on the altimeter calibration page, which is accessed from the main settings menu.  The altimeter calibration page must be set to “ON” to review the settings in the AHRS.  The altimeter scale factor appears as the 3rd entry on this page, and is labeled as “scale factor”.

If the scale factor is set to a value other than 1.000, then the altimeter calibration will be affected by this software change.  The accuracy of the altimeter must be verified before the next flight.

If the scale factor was already set to 1.000, then this software update will have no affect on the altimeter accuracy.

If the scale factor is not 1.000, it should be set to 1.000, and rough calibration of the altimeter should be performed by setting all altitude corrections (the 5000, 10,000, 15,000, etc. entries) to zero, and the altimeter bias should then be set so that the
altitude and baroset agree with a known accurate source (such as ATIS).  This will provide sufficient accuracy for VFR flight.

After that was done, I removed the front half of the wheel pants to check the tire pressure.  Had to put a few pounds in.  Put the plane back together so it’s ready for the next time.

Day trip to Alex City

Flew to “Alex City” in Alabama today to go meet a fellow Delta guy, Tom Hollywood Henderson.  Tom is captain on a B737-800 and also flies some more maneuverable aircraft in the military.  Here’s a shot of his gorgeous RV-8, N469SH, before we launched for a two-ship.  He gave me an aerial tour of Lake Martin near Alexander City, Alabama.  Home to Russell Athletics – hence the name of the airport, Russell Field.  Gorgeous part of the country over there – the lake is the US’s biggest in terms of coastline, or so they tell me.  Many new housing developments are going up there.  Wouldn’t mind living there but I don’t think I could convince my wife to move away from the ATL.

Thanks, Tom, for the good time and good eats.  One thing’s for sure Alex City… things move at their own pace there.


Fixing the NLG

Yesterday the goods to fix my nose landing gear showed up from Genuine Aircraft Hardware.  Good people to deal with.  So today a good friend of mine helped me get the plane back in flying shape.  First order of business was to remove the nose gear assembly.  Not a problem.  Then we came up with a plan of attack.

Ideally we’d like to ream both the mount and gear leg at the same time.  However we couldn’t guarantee the parts would stay lined up.  So we reamed the engine mount first and then the gear leg.  We set the NAS6605-28X bolt in the freezer while we went across the hangar row to chat with another buddy and fix a CHT probe on his gorgeous C-182.  After that was done, I lubed up the bolt and proceed it to insert it from the bottom.  Took a hammer with me in the plane – it needed some tapping to get it in.  Eventually we stepped up to the rivet gun.  Once it was in we tightened it a little at a time.  Unfortunately it took 5 washers (one under head, 4 under nut) to get it on there properly.  Not the ideal situation but it’s not coming out. 

GAHco drill and reamer NLG assembly

Made a jack, jack

Copied idea from buddy’s website who I believe copied the idea from the RVator.  Here’s my take.  Still have to drill some holes in the top blocks to anchor the bottle jack.  But it works for now.  A $20 solution to a $300 problem.


Fixed the breather hose

Been meaning to do this for a while… so why not while I wait on the parts to fix the NLG.  Previously it was held in place in a very ghetto fashion.  Not that this is any better but it should help.  Holes are drilled in the tube further up so it can breathe.  But it’s not airtight at the bottom.  This contraption just holds it in place a little better.  Maybe the bottom of the plane will be less oily as well.  Only time will tell.

Breather Hose