Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Toys for lots (of dollars)

Although it lacks a certain organization, I like my idea of buying pieces of my panel over a long period of time. Yesterday another key piece arrived. The Grand Rapids Technology Engine Information System came last night. I bought it at Oshkosh in July. They lost the order but found it last week. No matter, I'm nowhere near the point of installing it.

The EIS will monitor what's going on with my engine faster and better than any of the human senses. If it reports a problem, I land -- immediately -- well before the problem threatens my safety. That's the plan, anyway. It's a compact, relatively inexpensive ($1,400) unit that also will monitor my fuel usage, cylinder head temps, oil pressure and temperature, exhaust gas temperature, RPM, and perform a ton of other tasks of keeping an eye on the engine while I'm busy looking out the window to keep from bending metal with another plane.

So far -- let's see if I can remember this -- I have my lights/strobes, emergency locator transmitter, a 296 Garmin GPS in an AirGizmo panel dock (I'm going to upgrade to a 496 at some point, probably), an audio intercom, a TruTrak single-axis autopilot (I'm probably going to switch to a Trio Avionics two-axis autopilot). I still have to decide on an EFIS (electronic flight information system) and am currently leaning toward the GRT Horizon HX.

David Maib, RV-10 builder on Fleming Field, stopped by the hangar last night. He was down at SteinAir looking at his new panel being built, the one with three Vertical Power units. Stein Bruch says he's convinced the solid state electronics are the future of aviation, so now I'm once again thinking of spending the dough ($6,500 last time I checked) for a VP-200 unit.

Of course, none of this is going to happen until I get the canopy windscreen done. I did more sanding last night.

The Halogen light makes everything look yellow. David looked at the radius and said, "I think you're about there." I think I am, too. I'm going to sand the very top down even with the two plys of electrical tape, and then switch to a higher-grit sandpaper, then start filling and sanding.

Here's another view:

This one makes it look like there's a bump on the left. There's not. I don't know what makes it look like there is.

Good luck, David -- Speaking of Mr. Maib, he made his last "official" flight as the chief pilot for Target Corp., yesterday, he told me. When he landed, the airport fire trucks saluted him with sprays of water. I've always thought that would be a sad occasion for a pilot, but David says, "I'm ready." As of this week, he told me, he's received a paycheck for flying every week for 40 years, starting with the Army (helicopter) in 1968. And now he's looking forward to finishing his RV-10 (first engine start next week?), flying off the hours, and then flying off with his wife, Mary, to their new home in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

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