With Wings As Eagles: Craig P. Steffen's Blog

All the bits need to be cleaned

2012 February 09 23:03

My vintage Beetle is running really well. The carb is performing consistently, and the electronic timing has been completely trouble-free. Now I'm just waiting out the winter and building up a supply of spare parts before I take it out on the road.

So in addition to the one in the car, I want to have a spare carburetor to take along, just in case. When I'm making a thousand-mile trip, I don't have to stop in the middle somewhere and have to rebuild a carb. I have a spare distributor, and fuel pump, and some other stuff, but I only have one carburetor at the moment that runs well.

I have a 34PICT-4 carburetor, which I had re-bushed but when I put it on the car last it didn't idle right. I suspect there's something crusty down inside somewhere. I bought a can of carburetor dip, so I'm goingo dip the chassis to see if I can dissolve whatever's in there and get the passages cleaned out. It's an original German one, which I'm told are very good quality and shouldn't have manufacturing defects.

First the carb all together.

The major pieces, dis-assembled.

All the bits that came off.

The jets and stuff in a bowl ready to be soaked in carb cleaner.

The main hull again.

I'll grab one of the other carbs first and dip them, just in case the dipping compound attacks the material of the carburetor body.

An Odd Couple

2012 February 08 23:12

The juxtaposition of these two (of our) cars in a resteraunt parking lot amused me greatly, so I snapped a photo. When my wife and I are out of the house in different places, we're usually each in a car. When we go somewhere together, we usually ride in the same car (no surprises here). So it's very unusual for us to be driving two of our cars and have them parked next to each other somewhere other than the house. This was us having dinner at the local mexican resteraunt; and she had a meeting to go to afterwards.

The matter of Electronic Flight Bags

2012 February 08 22:56

I went on a trip to the Mooney Airplane and Pilot's Association conference in October. In addition to attending the conference, meeting lots of new people, and soaking in a lot of great information about generaal aviation and Mooneys, I had offered to put on a seminar about electronic flight bags. I recruited people who were goin to be at the convention to present, and I had a camera showing what was on their tablet sitting on the podium as they talked.

I had expected that most people in the room would be wary of the idea of electronic charts, and so I structured the talks to try to sell the idea of EFBs rather than a specific application. It turned out that far more people wanted to know which one to get--I was astonished.

Here are a couple of the presetations that I got mediocre shots of with my phone camera:

Thanks to everyone who did a presentation!

A three-hour(day) tour...

2012 February 06 23:56

So I took a (business) trip in January flying my club's Cessna 182...and I got stranded nad had to play the I-hope-the-mechanic-can-fix-it waiting game. The club reimbursed me for the repairs, but it ended up being a long weekend nonetheless.

On the flight up, it amused me greatly that my heading for the flight was 315 degrees; I had echoes of The Hunt For Red October goin through my head.

Flightstar at Willard Aiport treated me very very well--they had a red carpet on the ground when I landed:

The weather got snowy while I was there, so I had them put my plane inside (for an extra charge). Here it is, in good company. The plane I flew is the closer one.

I had been there during the week riding the bus. When I went to take off Saturday morning, I had a bad magneto check. So I ended up staying over. Since it was basically going to be a three-day weekend (MLK day), I rented a car to make it easier to get around. I once again ended up not getting the car that I thought I wanted. I ended up driving a Chevy Cruze. A nice little car, not as quiet as the Malibou. Here's the dashboard at startup for the lights test:

And once it's running:

The center console had an aux jack for a radio and a USB jack (for power--don't know if that would connect to the radio too):

The mag got replaced, then a weather delay, but Wednesday morning I was finally on my way. It seems like most of the time when I'm flying, I end up with a head wind, so I fly around 6 or 7 thousand fee to maximize forward airpseed to fight the wind. On this trip I had something like a 20 knot TAILwind, so I flew higher to take advantage of it. I don't think I've ever cruised at 9000 feet before.

Here I am, with Louisville passing off to the left. Notice the manifold pressure gauge on the right is only indicating 21 1/2 inches of pressure (it's about 30 on the ground) because the air's getting thin. That's with the throttle wide open. At lower altitudes, you try to cruise at the top of the green arc at 23 inches.

6 more hours of cross-country time, and 6 more hours of high-performance time. Despite the annoyances, a nice trip. Many playoffs watched.