Saturday, November 30, 2013

Carb Syncing from the GOOD seat

Rule #1 when it comes to the recent phenomenon of Black Friday, the day when sadists and masochists unite in an orgy of tribal commercialism is "Don't leave the house." Fortunately, the corollary to Rule #1 is "Unless it is to go to an uncrowded place."  This loophole leaves me open to accepting requests of the nature "I'll buy lunch if you fly down and help me sync my carbs," which refers to a mechanical calibration of the two carburetors on a Rotax 912 engine, not a dietary effort.

As loyal readers will recall, I recently sync'd my own carbs with the assistance of Kyle, presumably no relation to Colonel Andrew Lewis, who will be making a cameo appearance here shortly.  Even without the offer of lunch, I would absolutely have jumped at the offer - a day locked in the house, while far more appealing than being trampled by hoards of hungry shoppers, held no real attraction in and of itself. 

Plus, flying.  Right? Who's gonna say no to that!  Not this guy!!

And one more thing: I would have to GOOD seat this time. Because I'm here to tell ya, standing in the frigid blizzard of prop blast is no great shakes, although it does serve as a convenient reminder as to why I consistently decline invitations to climb Everest.

The trip down to Jackson was routine, the saying of which is a pre-excuse for this inexcusably boring, low-resolution video:

I have to say it: THIS is the way to do a carb sync. That standing out in the prop blast thing is crazy. In fact, I'm going to move my annual re-syncing to July or August.

It sure is a great feeling to finally see that LED in the middle light up!

The morning light really made my new paint look great, so I availed myself of the opportunity to get some pictures with better backgrounds than the row of hangar doors across from mine.

And then... lunch. I found this place on before I ever left the house.

They have an extensive and eclectic menu:

But again, I knew what I was going to have before even setting a foot out the door.


It was very good, although Andouille sausage would have been better, albeit probably impossible to find locally. The fresh shrimp more than made up for that, though.  One of the shrimp still had a tail on it, which reminded me of a recent epiphany I had. Back when I was a young 'un, my grandmother would make home made cherry pies. She would tell us to be careful because she might have missed removing a cherry pit, but if we found one, she would give the lucky discoverer a dime.

I don't remember what thought process got me on that subject, but as I look back on it today I realize that someone found a pit every single time. It took me 40+ years to realize that she was leaving one in there on purpose.

Kyle went for a 1/2 pound mushroom & Swiss burger which also looked fabulous, but brought forth no childhood memories, at least none that he chose to share:

The place wasn't very crowded, what with it being early in the day, so I took a little walkabout to see what the rest of it looked like. First stop was the bar, which was mildly depressing in the same way that the bars at Put-in-Bay are: since I only ever fly there and don't overnight, I never get to partake.

Which made this really frustrating:

After lunch, we had a little historical tour of downtown Jackson. Quite a bit has happened there.

Kyle needed to borrow some scales for re-weighing his plane post-paint (something I need to do, too), so we stopped by a friend's race shop. I wandered around looking at old stuff sitting out in the scrap yard. I really like this old drill press:

From the alliterative manufacturer Manning, Maxwell & Moore. A company name like that makes me feel like like I should be wearing a fedora and griping about Prohibition.

More or less on impulse, we decided to fly over to Parkersburg to visit Rick Gray, the guy that most inspired me to buy my RV-6, and then eventually to build the RV-12.  Rick is very well known in the RV world, to a large degree because of the incredibly high quality work he does with building airplanes. He built a couple of airplanes that were so good that they were awarded Lindy awards at Oshkosh, a feat that very, very few builders accomplish.  He also gave Co-pilot Egg her first ride in an RV-6, back when I was trying to convince her to let go of her emotional attachment to its predecessor, our Socata Tampico.

I like going to Parkersburg because I like flying along the Ohio River, checking out the barges and such.

And here we are, parked in front of the coolest hangar ever.

This is what the tools of a busy builder look like: there's no time to be constantly swapping dies for every different squeeze like I did.

This is Rick's personal plane. It's a Pitts S-1S. The '1' means single seat, and the second 'S' means that it has a symmetrical airfoil. This is as opposed to the S-1C that I always wanted, which has a flat-ish bottom wing and only two ailerons versus the four on the S-1S.

Rick explained the name of his plane. Some of you will remember a couple of years ago when Rick was involved in an accident involving an RV-10. The engine pretty much exploded, leaving Rick and another pilot gliding over the hilly, wooded terrain of southeast Ohio. Rick had to crawl through burning fuel to get away from the crashed airplane and the ensuing years of recovery left him, not surprisingly, with a fear of flying. His doctor recommended a "get back in the saddle" therapy, which led to:

It's good to see him back to doing what he loves.

That bottle lists the twenty-seven (27!!!) planes that he has owned/built.

Kyle and I, at least one of whom is never going to build a trophy-winning airplane (Kyle might have a chance), got a kick out of holding a Grand Champion Lindy:

This is simply amazing:

I told Rick he could look at my plane, but that he would have to stay 50' away. Rick and I have very different mindsets when it comes to airplane building: he is a maximizer, I am at satisficer.  As long as its safe and airworthy, "good enough" is good enough for me. Well, within reason, at least. I actually laughed out loud at a manager once when he told me in a performance review that people didn't like working for me because I was "a perfectionist." I was able to laugh because I knew quite well that the "people" he was talking about was a mediocre female developer with whom he was having an inappropriate relationship.

So, the first thing Rick sees when he puts on his judging hat is an edge of the top cowl where I sanded a little too much fiberglass off, leaving what I would describe as an "Oh, well, it'll fly fine" sized gap.

"Who fit the cowls?"

"That would be me," I replied somewhat sheepishly. "But that's why I told you to stay fifty feet away."

"Oh, I would have seen that from fifty feet," he countered.

"Sure," I replied, "but I would have been fifty feet away on the other side and wound't have been able to hear you!"

Joking aside, he did have some good advice on fixing an area of the avionics cover that I damaged when trying to remove the canopy after it got hung up on a "ballooning" edge of edge skin on the avionics cover.

Rick needed to get back to work and I had the ticking clock of early-Winter sunset to worry about, so Kyle and I made our way back to Jackson where I quickly refueled and headed home.

And courtesy of Rick, I now have a new "passenger" that will ride with me in the -12 every time I fly it.

Oh, if you're still waiting for the cameo appearance of Colonel Lewis, go back to the historical tour of downtown Jackson and try again.

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