Summer Heat and More PAGE 304. 

June 20, 2009:  The update for this Saturday covers a few things that happened in the past week.  My original 1-liter/34-ounce RED CUP has been traveling around the world with me since October 2001.   This past week saw its retirement and a BLUE CUP taking its place.
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The old RED friend has seen some rough and tumble experiences being blown off my left wing walk on more than one occasion, and dropped a few times.  The crack in his side and the others across the bottom edge tell the tale.  At the end, he had the cold sweats, plus condensed moisture between the plastic layers and in the insulating foam between those layers.  I had cleaned the old RED CUP and tried to repair his wounds but to no avail.  The damage was fatal.  I knew just how bad things were when I picked up both cups when they were EMPTY and realized the weight difference from the new vs. the old.  I gave the old red guy a trip through the dishwasher and that confirmed what I suspected.  Water drained from his cracks as he was counted out and retired.  
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The BLUE CUP is a clone of the original made by Aladdin up until a few years ago.  The replacement was built from the same molds and bears the same patent number on the bottom, but not the Aladdin name.  The name on the handle and on the bottom of the cup is Thermo-Serv.  And the new kid handles the most humid weather with "no sweat" on the outside.  The ice water stays colder longer and still tastes as sweet.  By the way, there is an identical BLACK CUP in the pantry awaiting the call for his turn at bat.

It was during my return from the recent Florida trip that I searched for a replacement for the original Aladdin cup to no avail.  I stopped at a truck stop north of Atlanta and noticed a driver with a similar Aladdin cup with logo's on the outside of it.  He indicated he had his for a number of years.  He puts hot coffee in his cup, not cold drinks.

I turned to the internet to search for the replacement and discovered a guy from the Chicago area who also wanted the original Aladdin cups so much, he located the owner of the molds and contracted for a production run.  I bought mine from him via a posting on eBay.  Just search for "Aladdin mug 34" and you will find them there.

Now for the other news from this week:  On Thursday evening, June 18, 2009, I had my biennial flight review from our resident CFI and friend who went to Alaska with Wendell in 2007.  He also provided my BFR in 2007.   Even though we made the flight between 7:30 and 8:30 PM, it was still very warm outside.  All was going well until the second ILS approach to Dalton when the oil temperature alarm climbing out from that last approach with a touch and go on the runway.   The Hobbs meter was approaching the 1-hour mark as we headed for home and higher altitude and speed to cool things down under the cowl.  Both my landings were "greasers" and I had a chance to learn from an ATP about stable hands on approaches.  My goal is to some day have that instrument rating "just in case" and to get more options on long cross-country trips.

Now you say, where are the photos from the BFR?  Sorry, I was too busy flying for that hour to worry about trying to take any photos.  The only thing that remains to be done is clean the bugs off the "Enterprise" during our next meeting.  I did make this GPS ground track map overlay of the 1-hour flight from Thursday evening.
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June 28, 2009:  Sunday started out clear, but with hot weather coming later in the day.  I did not get out to the field on Saturday due to other things that needed to be done, and it was really hot outside.  The focus on Sunday morning was the beginning of the annual inspection of Enterprise with the stuff under the cowling being the issue of the day.  I pulled all the spark plugs for inspection and did the compression checks on each cylinder of my O-320 engine.  All the compression values were fine with only 271 hours on the engine.   I did notice that I flew just under 29 hours since last year's inspection.  I would rather have more time in the air.  The first year, the total flight hours were 173.3 hours.  Since then, having a regular job and limited AVGAS funds have kept my flight hours to lower numbers.  Year two was about 60 hours  (16 of those going to and from Denver as part of my day job), then just over 11 hours from June 2007 until July 4, 2008 when my previous annual inspection was completed.

Here is a look at the carburetor linkages and the bolts on the filtered air box.  I checked the areas where I had made some minor changes in previous inspections to confirm none of those issues were haunting me again this year.  The various safety wires are still where they belong.
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I also checked the oil cooler for clearance from the engine mount and realized I cannot change to a larger unit without moving to a new location and using a large SCAT tube to bring the cooling air to the oil cooler.  When this cooler was originally installed, a portion of the mounting flange had to be removed to provide clearance for the engine mount.  I thought about putting two oil coolers in series using Wendell's old unit which is the same size as mine, but even that does not work since there is no place to put it on the other side of the engine. 
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It is still not time for the next oil change, so the cowl was put back on the airplane after I completed my checks of the various key components around the engine.   I did find time to clean off the bugs from the last flight.  Wendell had come out for a short visit earlier in the morning, but the heat of the day sent him off with his wife in their car before I completed my work for today.  Next weekend, I will complete the checks of the control rods and bearings in the fuselage and wings, then take the airplane for a test flight.  I plan to try the wing leveler coupled to the localizer output from my VOR receiver over at Dalton on the ILS approach.  I want to see how close it can track the runway center line and practice my power settings to follow the glide slope.  If the autopilot can hold the heading down the approach, I should be able to take a photo when I have the power set correctly.

July 1, 2009:  I had an interesting contact with a pilot from Brazil tonight.  We talked for almost 2 hours on Skype about his upcoming project to build an RV-9A.   He is getting the wings quick-build, and the fuselage the slow-build route.  I explained the tools used for construction and some of the things that were easily seen in my web pages.  By the way, this web site currently has 645 pages covering my RV-9A construction, Wendell's RV-8 project, a lot of travels for my airplane, Wendell and Terry's Cessna 182 trip to Alaska, and just the everyday experiences of builder/pilots of Van's Aircraft RV's.  As of this writing, the number of Van's Aircraft that have been completed and flown stands at 6,232.  That number changes almost daily and is posted on the home page of Van's web site at

My new friend from Brasil has excellent command of the English language, and has the thirst for knowledge and excitement of all of "US" who have gone before him in this quest to build a personal airplane.  I offered an open invitation to contact me when needed to get information about the process of building a Van's Aircraft RV-9A.  He is planning to build the sliding canopy version.  There are other builders in his area.  I did not ask him why he contacted me.  He had just started to read my web site and had yet to discover so much about it.  More later as things progress....

July 3, 2009:  Today is a company holiday since the U.S. Fourth of July holiday falls on Saturday this year.  I spent the morning and some of the afternoon completing the flight control inspections.   This is the access hatch for the right wing showing the aileron bellcrank and the tubing leading to the Lift Reserve Indicator probe.  All linkage bolts and jam nuts secure, same as last year.  No visible vibrational wear to the air tubing.
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The rear baggage wall panels were removed to access the elevator bellcrank and every nut and bolt here is still where I left them the last time I had this section open.
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It is always good to see the panels and insulation installed and ready for flight.  I can also put away the spray lube and make the test flight on Saturday before the day gets too warm.  The Meske sliding canopy tip-up modification for Van's RV-6, -7, and -9 airplanes made  the inspection of the aft section go more quickly.   Of course the RV-6 builder who designed the mod was more interested in getting baggage in and out easily.
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July 4, 2009:  The short test flight today was over to Dalton one more time to test the NavAid analog autopilot using the DC output voltage from my Garmin AT SL-30 tuned to the localizer.  It started out good about 7 miles out, but as we got closer, the old NavAid proved why it is for those long cross-country flights only.  After a quick touch-&-go at Dalton, it was back to Folks Field for a downwind landing.  Along the return path, I circled another grass field and buzzed the runway at another.  The wind was a bit more than I expected, requiring the use of the brakes.  Wendell will not be flying in the next six weeks, so the RV-8 goes into the back corner of the hangar and Enterprise is now parked in the front row.
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July 11, 2009:  A day without flying, but I did visit the hangar and clean off the bugs from last week's flight.   Wendell and his friends had their usual Saturday morning coffee and discussions.   I brought a photo album of my trip to England from October 1999, and a stack of photos from my day job in 1981-1982 when I helped to install an 11-meter satellite antenna system in Hawaii.  It made for some interesting discussions.

It is Sunday, July 12th as I publish this abbreviated entry.  A light rain and overcast conditions prevail in the Chattanooga area.  In short, it is a good day to update this web site and browse the web forums at Van's Airforce web site.

August 4, 2009: Twenty-eight years ago today, my youngest son was born.  A day I will never forget.

As for the July flying news, there has been nothing significant to report.   I had an extended trip to Florida via my old Caddy in July that covered two weekends.  The alternator in the Caddy failed at 214,000 miles and was replaced along with a new serpentine drive belt as a precaution.  The old car still gets 25 to 27 miles-per-gallon cruising on the interstate highways and my favorite US highways in central and south Georgia.  I had a busy schedule down there with friends and my day job calling on clients.  I took one day to visit a periodontist recommended to me by my dentist when I was down in the West Palm Beach area on a previous Florida trip.  I got back home the evening of July 27th.  The day job was normal last week with the usual calls and emails. 

As for this past Saturday, August 1st, I paid a visit to Folks Field during the Saturday morning gathering of Wendell's flying buddies, his non-pilot friends, and neighbors.  They meet every Saturday morning for coffee and donuts, and the meeting breaks up when some of them head out to a local restaurant for lunch.  I checked on my airplane, cleaned off some insect droppings, and noticed a red power wire visible in the right wing going to the landing light.  Since it was touching the inside of the wing skin, I took off the wing tip, re-positioned the ground wire lug, and used a small tie-wrap to secure the RED wire from rubbing any metal surface.  When I was doing the recent inspection, I checked all the lights when I had the hangar door closed and the hangar lights off.  Since all the airplane lights worked, I did not actually look directly into the landing light lens until this past Saturday morning.

One other thing to note, Wendell and I swapped places with the airplanes.   While he had his out, he flew around the pattern a couple of times.

I also had contact with an RV-9A builder in Brazil again over the weekend.   He reports his quick-build wings, tail kit, and slow-build fuselage kit are shipping from Van's aircraft soon.  He successfully negotiated a better rate for shipping with his freight carrier.  He also asked me about my engine choice for ECI.   I went to my links page and discovered a couple of broken web page links when I tried to show him a couple of things.  I called the folks at Penn Yan Aero and confirmed they are no longer building experimental engines.  My web links page has been updated.  ECI is still building my engine and selling through a network of dealers listed on their web page via Titan EXP engine links from their home page.  I cannot link directly to the experimental web page from here, so you have to go through their site a few pages to get there.

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