Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile my webpage Previous Previous Next Next
Yay for weekends! - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
Yay for weekends!
Saturday was my tow day. Pawnee 1 is still down (another month until the new engine is done), so I got to fly the big one. Pawnee 1 is a 180 hp, Pawnee 2 is 235 hp, both are about 1500-pound airframes. In comparison, my Tripacer is 500 lbs heavier and only has 150 hp. If I don't have a glider in tow in Pawnee 2, in the two seconds it takes to get the throttle all the way in, the airplane is already off the ground. Then it will climb at more then 2500fpm. It's very much fun.

But I only used it for towing on Saturday. It was a slow, quiet day, only about 15 tows. I was an idiot and forgot the sunscreen, so I'm badly burnt on the tops of my arms, tops of my legs, and my face. I do this once a year - then I don't forget the sunscreen again until the next spring.

I went back to Weiser and pulled the Tripacer out. Greg wanted a ride, so we got in, got the plane started, and the intercom wouldn't work. No matter what I did. So I shrugged, and we headed out anyway. I let him fly, and just leaned over and screamed in his ear when I wanted something.

When we got back, I looked under the panel, and knew instantly what was wrong with the intercom. When he re-did the electrical system a few years ago, Michael hooked 11 wires to the load side of the avionics breaker. A few times a year, they start vibrating off - and this time it was the intercom power wire (and 2 others) that were danging under the panel.

On top of this, the breaker for my strobe and panel lights has been blowing every time I used it. Michael said the 5-amp breaker that was in there was too small, and I should replace it with a 10. All the wiring is 25-amp, so this is acceptable. I'd tried to replace it once before, but was too intimidated by the breaker panel wiring to get very far, so I'd just been flying without the strobe and panel lights.

But now I had two things to fix, and that was enough for me to get in there.

I spent Sunday disconnecting the breaker panel. It was a pain - there were nuts that you needed to drop the panel down to get to, but you couldn't drop the panel down until you'd already removed them. And nothing was labeled. On top of that, there's a structural tube that runs 6 inches above the floor that you have to bend over to get under the panel to work on it.

It took me all day to disconnect all the wires, label them all, pull out the old breaker, put the new breaker in, re-hang the panel, and test. On the first try, the fuel gauges and turn-and-bank wouldn't come on, but I quickly realized that they'd worked off their post somewhere along the way, and as soon as I reconnected them, everything worked.

When I turned the strobe and panel lights on, they ran great for 2 minutes. Then the new breaker popped.

There was loud cursing.

I went and found Michael, and he showed me how to test the load that each was pulling. Panel lights on full: .6 amps. The strobe: it was above 10 amps when the multimeter leads got so hot I dropped them. We disconnected the strobe, and I re-tested - 0 amps. So we knew it wasn't a wiring short, and I finished reassembling the panel while he took the strobe apart.

He said one of the capacitors was leaking to ground, and he would fix it for me this week.

I decided to fix the avionics master problem by buying a terminal strip, and hooking all the avionics to that, then running one wire back to the breaker. I didn't get that finished, because after 8 hours, I just couldn't contort myself under the panel any longer. The strip is there, the jumper is on it, I found a safe place to mount it, and a few wires are connected. One night this week, I need to finish connecting the avionics to it, actually do the mounting, then get under there and wire-tie up all the wires that I had to un-wire-tie them to work with them.

It's needed to be done for a long time. Now they're all labeled, and so next time will be easier.

I hope.

Also on Sunday, I took an instructor and the Duchess and spent an hour on NDB approaches. I hadn't done one in years, but the instructor was quite helpful, and I got 2 very good ones. That completed the 10 hours I needed to fly it solo. If anyone local wants a ride, I'd be thrilled to take you up in it - it's a nice, easy twin. However, at $168 an hour ($158, plus the $5 per-engine-per-hour fuel surcharge), I'm probably going to ask for a bit of help with the rental fee.

When I got home last night, my back and shoulders were so sore I could barely move. And I bruised something on my right side by laying on top of that seat-support tube all day, even with a pillow on top of it. But it was worth it...or at least I tell myself that.

Tags: ,

3 comments or Leave a comment
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: April 25th, 2005 06:17 pm (UTC) (Link)


Perhaps that's why it failed when we flew, and you couldn't hear me on mine...

IIRC, Mike King's Geronimo at LVJ might be a bit cheaper, IIRC about 145 or so.
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: April 25th, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Perhaps

Yeah, but then I'd have to start the 10-hour checkout process again. And I'm becoming fond of the Duchess.

And, no, that was a different intercom problem. That was entirely user error, I think - I finally got all the switches right and the squelch set, and I haven't any any problems since. Well, until it stopped working entirely. :)
From: ex_inviolet697 Date: April 25th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
:golf clap:

Nothing more satisfying than a newly-rewired electrical panel*.

*for virtually any value of "electrical panel".
3 comments or Leave a comment