Jun 20 2010

Ground Plane

Ppod needed some additional “ground planes” which are used for making the antennas work properly.  Some antennas need large ground planes to work such as the transponder and ADS-b antennas.  Since I am adding new antenna (the ADS-B) and there is not enough much room in the plane for the size recommended.  In my plane I had to compromise with smaller ground planes or really odd shaped ones (such as for my lightening detector).  A few years ago, I found some electrically conductive paint which was used in my plane for reducing electrical noise (as shielding).  Ken Miller apparently used a conductive paint successfully for the transponder antenna he installed and since ATC reported no problems picking up the transponder signal, it was decided to just make the area much bigger. 

The entire bottom of the passenger area was painted with this stuff.   After drying,  I tested the resistance of the paint and found it amazingly conductive.  It reads 17 ohms across the fuselage (about 18″).  When tested it with a 12v source, it did not loose .01 volts from front to back of the plane!   I also plan to attach some small copper tape (about 1/2″ sq) to the one side every 12″ and solder a wire on each tab to ground.    It will be interesting to see how this new system works in flight with ATC. 

I hope this works well I can use this technique in future planes!  **NOTE: I used this technique to “enlarge” the ground plane in my LongEZ.  I can now report NO more problems with ATC picking up my transponder.  It is working better than ever!

The fire system bottle was installed today.   I replaced the 2 ea stock bottle holders (47 g ea) with a riveted hose (6 gm) hose clamp with a finger actuator.  You will have to stick your arm way up the spar to tighten the wing bolt and was concerned about interference with the stock clamps.  The hose clamp can swivel out of the way, and overall I saved 96g (3 oz) with the mod.

The additional cable installation for the fire system was micro’d so it will be less noticable when finsished out.

Today we had a very strong thunderstorm after I went flying.  It was easy to see on the XM weather in the plane and my lightening detector was showed significant activity.  This evening, the club manager called and I found out part of the roof of the hanger had blown off.  After checking my plane over, all is well.  Base maintenance should be fixing in the next few days.

Updated pictures of the Boeing 787 Dreamline plant.  They are making amazing progress on it.  The contractor has now started on moving a 2 mile road 500 feet to the south to enlarge the manufacturing site.

The Dreamlifter

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