C-182Q N96934 at West Valley Flying Club

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Autopilot Update and Other News

Happy 2007! Let's all have a safe and fun year of flying. Last year was a tough one for 96934, with a lot of expensive maintenance and limited availability. I'm hoping that this year things will be different.

The main squawk on the aircraft has been with the STEC 30 autopilot. The plane is at Sterling Avionics in Concord and Frank called me yesterday to report that he believes he found the problem which has caused the multiple failures of the last year. There appears to be an intermittent short in the coiled control cable from the engage/disengage switch on the yoke where it passes through the panel and connects to the wiring. The short causes a fuse to blow on the pitch computer assembly. That assembly is being sent back to STEC for repair. Frank is going to attempt to isolate and repair the short this week. The result will be the plane going back into service with one-axis of the autopilot serviceable. When the pitch computer returns, it should be a quick job to reinstall.

WAAS Update for Garmin 530

Garmin has received certification for the GNS 530W, which is WAAS enabled. The upgrades to existing units will start in late January. They may run for a few months. Some time in the period, 934 will be out of service for a week or two while the upgrade is implemented. For information about WAAS and some of the non-WAAS improvements Garmin is implementing at the same time, visit this site where manuals are available.

Condition Reports

There have been a few items noted in the aircraft keybook.

The fuel sump drain on the right wing has a slow flowrate. The club has replaced the drainvalve, it doesn't seem to make much difference. According to Phil Kirkham at Coastal Valley Aviation, it is probably just due to the onfiguration of tank sealant in the area of the drain. It should not affect operation. It is important to make sure that you give enough time to draw an adequate fuel sample from that wing.

It was also noted that the left drain failed to shut completely after draining. Drawing an additional sample cleared the problem. I suspect that some debris prevented the draing from closing all the way, until it was flushed out by additional flow.

Another item noted was that the pilot-side door does not close and seal perfectly. Unfortunately, this condition has been with the plane since I first met it. It is the result of either the accident in 1987 or one of the bent-firewall incidents the plane has experienced. Although the door will not ever close completely and evenly, it is important to make sure it is properly closed. A smooth, firm closing action from inside or out will make sure that takes place. The upper portion of the door should close almost flush, the bottom will protrude slightly.

Please do not put weight on the doors when exiting or entering the aircraft. Grip the doorframe or seat only. Also, please do not ever use the armrest to close the door from the inside. Use the pull handle or if the window is open grip the base of the window frame.

Engine Analyzer Data Available

The JPI EDM-700 records EGTs, CHTs, OAT, oil temp, and fuel flow during the flight. Reviewing the data, especially in conjunction with GPS data if you have it, is a great tool for improving your engine management technique. I download the data on a regular basis and I am happy to send the data to anyone who wishes to receive it for their flight. The viewing software is available for free at EZTrends download.

Receive N96934 Update Emails

I want to keep renters informed about the plane and any maintenance activity. However, I do not want to monopolize the WFVC member forum for this purpose. If you want to receive a short email to inform you have aircraft status information, please send your email address to me at john@felleman.com.

Thank you as always for your interest in 96934 and for the considerate use you all exercise.


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