I flew through Atlanta on my way from Texas to Missouri to pick up my plane a couple of weeks ago. Departing Atlanta, we flew over Peachtree DeKalb airport, where I've flown a few times and gone for flight instruction and classes and stuff.
They used to have an east-west runday, but the west end of it's been
remove and hangars built there. I assume that's a good thing; it
means the airport is growing and being used. And it was frankly
plenty busy as it was. Here's some photos that I managed to snag out
I looked in the publications about the airport; the change was fairly recent.
Recently, I looked at the airnav.com page for PDK, and it had an old photo. I sent them a copy of the second photo above, and as of this writing, April 26, my photo is now the one for that airport. Cool! (I'm sure they'll get a better photo with fewer clouds in the not-too distant future, but for now, it's neat that I have a photo there. )
So up until recently, I hadn't driven a New New Beetle. (I don't think that's what it's called. To me, the post-1998 VW "Beetle"s were the "New Beetle" so when they changed the design for 2013, I think it was, I think if it as the New New Beetle.
Anyway, I'd been wanting to drive one. Enterprise rental car had one when I was renting one time, but I didn't know that until I was in the parking lot and it was too late then.
Since my plane was down for 5+ months over the winter, and the last
flight I took in it was the one that ended with it being damaged, I
thought it might be a really smart thing to go get some dual time with
an instructor. So I took two flights over the winter to get some
take-off and landing practice. That was very useful, and I'm glad I
did it. One of the times I combined it with taking my car for an oil
change. I borrowed one of their fleet vehicles while mine was being
worked on; it was a Beetle:
They've moved away from the single round instrument, so that's a change. A very nice instrument panel, though.
They did a really superb job of sculpting the right side of the dash
The upper glove box is meant to look like the vintage Beetle's only glove box. However, there's another, bigger one down below (which contains an iPad cable, presumably for audio, highlighted by the green arrow):
The luggage area is definitely bigger than mine, which is great. It
actually does have a latch:
Which is the VW logo in the back.
It was very nice to drive. I liked it. I think I like the aesthetic of my car better, which more suggests an original Beetle, but this would be a fine car.
I was planning on blogging every day in April. Ha. I got busy and went to the MAPA convention and got delayed (again) until I could fly the plane back and I've just been busy. I should stop promising to do that.
Anyway, the airplane is physically flyable, annualed (so it's legal to fly) and back home. Yay! Here are a few photos of the gauges while flying back the last leg from Bowling Green.
Here's the stock 6-pack engine cluster.
The upper right gauge, the old ammeter, has been replaced by a new digital one (see next photo) and so it's marked INOPerative. The important thing here is the bottom three gauges are all firmly in the green (actually, the cylinder head temp, the lower right one, is basically below; this plane cools superbly well at cruise).
And here's upper-right side of the instrument panel:
In the lower left is the stock manifold pressure gauge and fuel pressure gauge. In the upper left is the new Horizon Tachometer. I really like how it looks and how it works. The area in the center was a blank panel up to this winter's annual. The orange engine meter (bar graph thing in the center) was all the way over on the right where the blank round panel now is. I moved it closer so it's easy for the pilot to see it and get at the switches. The third meter, the one with the single switch right below it, is my new volmeter/ammeter. I got it because the stock ammeter just didn't read very well.
The area in the center that's shinier black is a panel that I fabricated. The engine monitor is an older electronics piece, so it's fairly long and kind of heavy. THe extra screws that you see in the panel are attaching reinforcing rails to the back of the panel. Two of the breakers are for the new instruments. The third is for the engine monitor; it had been protected with an in-line fuse from the avioincs panel, but I wanted it on all the time, so I instead put a breaker and now it's powered from the main bus. And in the upper right is the control/sense plane for the new ELT (emergency locator transmitter).
Buying an airplane a year and a half ago was a first (and probably only for a long time) experience. However, except for this last July, where I took a couple of big trips, I haven't had a chance to really fly it due to mechanical stuff. Once it's back together, I expect I'll be able to. So as far as the airplane goes, this spring/summer should be the first real season of travel in it.
I knew my vintage VW had problems even before I rebuilt the top end of the engine in 2008. When I rebuilt the top end, I found all kinds of other problems; the heads were machined wrong, they weren't attached to the engine right, the oil pump was messed up. Now that I've split the case, I've found other problems (some created by me). The big one is that the camshaft was wearing severely, so it's time it's replaced. Also--I bought new tie rods and new bushings, so I can finally get the front suspension into shape. If I can get the engine rebuilt and everything else all together, it will be a real car.
Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and was one of the writers died a few weeks ago. He's young enough and Ghostbusters is enough of a milestone in my head that I hadn't ever thought about himm being gone. And David Letterman, while healthy as far as I know, announced the other night that he'll be retiring in the next year or so.
So I've had endings of things and renewal on my mind a bit of late.
So when several of my favorite songs came up on the satellite radio
during important times when I was driving, I've been (whimsically)
considering those to be good omens.
And this one in paticular when I was driving down to pay the hangar rent:
So in that theme I'm going to try to carry farward and do things this spring/summer that I've meant to do before but just never have. I'll try to get slides scanned. I'll get a Christmas/update letter sent out. (I almost got there last year but I stalled). I'll try to get my stuff in the basement organized. I'll get the old front stoop demolished and the new one built (I'll talk about that in another blog post.)
And blogging once a day (on average) for the month of April is part of it. We'll see.
Since we decided to have the engine overhauled for our airplane after the prop strike, and the airplane was going to be up for annual anyway, I figured that was a good time to take care of all the stuff that needed to be worked on and that would take calendar time, since the time was incurred anyway.
One of the things I knew was up was the ELT batteries. Every civil airplane in the US (with certain limited exceptions) is required to have an "Emergency Locator Transmitter" (ELT) on board. This activates if there's a sudden shock (because of a crash) and transmits a signal so that search/rescuers can locate the plane by radio signal. The ELT is internally-powered by batteries. Modern ELTs are supposed to have a panel in view of the pilot that allows the pilot to turn it on or off, and indicates whether its transmitting. In any case, I knew that the batteries in the ELT were due for replacing this annual anyway.
My plane didn't have an ELT panel, so I'd been thinking about that. So when I was at Oshkosh last year, I bought a used ELT (very cheap) with a new install kit. First, I thought that it would be interesting to look inside and see how they worked. Second, I though perhaps that the install kit would allow me to put a panel in properly.
So, first step was to look at the old ELT and replace the batteries. It turns out that there were problems with the old one; it had broken mounting. Its batteries were also the style that had to be replaced by a specialized battery pack, not with off-the-shelf batteries.
So I asked my mechanic if we could just use the used one that I'd bought, which, as it turns out, can be batteried with Duracell D-cell batteries. He said it was fine to do that, as long as it tests out correctly. The one thing I needed to do was to clean off the battery terminals. At some point someone had left batteries in it too long, and the terminals were a little green.
So here are the battery terminals, nice and cleaned up and shiny:
Here's the ELT sitting on the desk, batteries in and tested. The cord
is plugged back into the ELT itself to act as an emergency carry
strap. Patches the airport cat looks on.
Here's Patches inspecting the left wing navigation light.
One thing I had to do was run the control cable from the back of the
airplane where the ELT sits to the control panel, which I installed in
the front instrument panel. Here's the left side of the body, with
the interior mostly out, with the cable (which is really a phone wall
cable) installed and indicated with red arrows.
And here's a close-up of the center section:
And finally, the ELT installed and ready to go, with the cable plugged
in and the unit tested.
So I split the engine case of my vintage VW the other day:
So I found out what was putting the grit in the oil. I had used a crappy after-market distributor distributor clamp. The distributor is what holds the distributor drive shaft in the case agains the motion of the crankshaft, which is turning it but always trying to push the shaft out of the case. If the shaft gets too high, it eats up the brass gear on the crankshaft that's turning it.
That brass gear is toast, about 20% of the gear is gone. So I need a new one. And I'll replace a lot of other stuff in the engine. I got out my micrometers last night, and the camshaft is pretty badly worn too.
So I'm going to do a more thorough re-build than I had been contemplating. I'll add an oil filter to get the maximum amount of life out of it. I have other parts on order, I just need to find a machine shop that will regrind the crank.
I've been horrible about blogging. I blogged a bunch last August/September and and then like three times since then. Oy. However, Molly Lewis, the wind beneath my wings as far as internet presence goes, vlogged pretty close to every day in April last year, which was an inspiration to me. So I'm going to try again this year to blog every day in April.
I have a bunch of stuff to write about, including lots of photos, but my laptop needs a reboot before I can edit photos and I need to go to bed. So a brief list:
Lots of good stuff to write about this month. And hopefully some new flying photos in the mix.
Ok, I got the photos. This is in January. I took my commission a
little far as far as "cleaning up" the wiring, and and actually
removed a bunch of the accessory wiring. Here it is, spread out on
And here was a couple of weeks ago, with everything back in and lit up
for the first time: