Monday, January 21, 2013

Pre-inspection wrap-up

The inspection is scheduled for Wednesday morning and perhaps not surprisingly, this has provided a much-needed impetus to wrap up the loose ends that have accumulated over the course of the last few months.  Because the inspectors are going to want a lot of the panels and floorboards removed, I went ahead and tore everything back apart after the carb syncing operation. Having everything opened up again offered Pete and me the chance to take another close look for things in need of tightening up and/or things that may be rubbing inappropriately against other things.

You know, like high school dance chaperones.

For the most part everything was pretty well put together, but with this being the first time that the tail cone has been removed since the day it went on it wasn't too much of a surprise when Pete found a screw/net pair loose on the trim motor tray. It must have always been thus; given that the airplane has never flown, it was very unlikely to have been caused by vibration. It is far more likely to have never been tight, and the experience of trying to tighten pointed out why. The nut is one of the tiny little metal locknuts that have given me so much grief whenever I have to deal with one of them. I don't have a wrench small enough, and pliers aren't strong enough to hold them. I did find that I have a 1/4" drive socket that will fit, though, so we were able to get it snugged up.

This experience reaffirmed yet again the tremendous value of having a second (or third, fourth, fifth...) pair of eyes looking things over; they see things as they are, not as someone like me sees what he's used to seeing.

One of the other little to-dos was to put a tail number identifying tag on the panel as required by the set of FAA regulations designed to assist the guy that steals your plane. I will eventually get a nice engraved tag, but for now it is a printed piece of paper held in place with packing tape. I installed it with the same preternatural skill at getting things dead level that was so well demonstrated by the installation of a new mandated tag on the transponder that is required by the update of the Skyview firmware to version 5:

I'm also to the point where I really need a tow bar. Moving the airplane around without one is difficult and to some degree, risky. It doesn't always go where I want it to go, and the moment arm on the tail is such that it wouldn't take a great deal of untoward swing at the front to cause crushing amounts of damage in the rear.  I looked around (since I'm not keen on the $100 offering from Van's) and found a suitable candidate at Lane Aviation, right here in town. They're located at Port Columbus, though, and it's moderately hasslesome to go there, so I called ahead to make sure they had one. The warning hairs on the back of my neck prickled a bit when the answer was "The computer says we have one," but against my better judgement I went anyway.

Naturally, they didn't. They would have to order one. One the plus side, they will have it shipped to my house without charging me for the shipping. Also scoring high in the plus column was this terrific find:

Note that while I am using this as a much-needed pitot tube cover, that is not what it really is. When it is doing its intended job, it protects the static wicks on Cessna business jets. It was a bargain at $7.15 if it was even possible to find a cover specifically designed to fit the odd size of the RV-12 pitot tube.

I also took the opportunity to check the compression levels on all four cylinders. I was pleased to find all four to be exactly the same, although I was somewhat surprised at their low level as compared to a more traditional engine like a Lycoming. Note that I am testing at the lower value of the 80-87 psi range called out for the Rotax, but still - I've never had a cylinder lower than 78/80 on the RV-6 and the Rotax cylinders are all 74/80.


Hugo said...


The inspection should be complete by now and I look forward to the coming Pireps.

Wishing you CAVU.

Unknown said...

Hi, Dave. Any chance you could share the make and model numbers for the tow bar and pitot cover you found?

Thanks, Bob

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