Nov 10 2012

CHB4 Reunion

In August of 1989 I was activated by the Navy Reserve to serve in Operation Desert Storm although it was not called anything at the time. I was a sophomore at the Citadel pursuing my degree. The Citadel was great about refunding me the tuition for the year and even my book costs with the promise that I could return as soon as I was done serving. Anyway, my 7 months in Spain, Italy and Grease make for story, at a later time perhaps.

This CHB4 was the Cargo Handling Battalion 4. Were sort of mobile stevedores. Moving bombs, bullets, trucks and tanks. After spending some time with the battalion, it is nice to catch up on stories and remind those of forgetful memories the funny experiences and embarrassing moments..

It was great just exploring Myrtle Beach. I ran across a olive oil store which unsurprisingly was called “The Olive Shoppe”. I always wanted to check out a good oil store after hearing a great story about oil oil on NPR.

I read there is a lot of differences among different brands of oils. This store didn’t have some much an assortment of world oils as specialized in flavored oils and flavored balsamic vinegar. Oil oil with a hint of garlic, oregano, blood orange, habanero, black pepper, rosemary, lemon, etc. The balsamic vinegar has such flavors as orange, mango, cinnamon peach, strawberry. The hostess paired oils with vinegar’s in a taste testing frenzy. Different combinations as if you would use it for a glaze on meat or for a salad dressing I went oil CRAZY. Ended up with 3 different olive oils and 4 balsamic vinegar’. Oil: Basil infused, Garlic and Lemon. Vinigars: Blackberry, Orange mango Passon Fruit, and finally, Orange. Salads are going to be interesting!


This is thee CHB4 Officers and Chiefs


The group.


Nov 06 2012

Trip to Airflow Performance

Todays objective is to take my fuel injection system to Spartanburg, SC (about 200 miles away) to have they equipment tested. I think there is something wrong with it and some sort of fuel restriction caused my fuel emergency landing on Friday.

The trip started with a trip to do my civic duty…. Vote. I vote at the entrance to my subdivision which make the process quick (normally). Arriving at 6:45 I thought the line would be short, but alas it was quite long with a bit of rain.


Part of the reason for the long line was they only had 4 freaking voting machines in the building! It took an hour for the voting process, and I left Charleston at 7:45 for the 200 mile drive.


I arrived at Airflow Performance about 11 am for my meeting with Kyle.


The guys at Performance are terrific. Kyle loves to talk to customers and let them observe the testing process and explain what is going on with the tests and the results. Instant feedback on the problem and an opportunity to learn about my equipment. I LIKE it!


The shop always takes lots of pictures (before/after) of the equipment to ensure there is no question on the material condition of the items.


Here is the fuel servo mounted in the air flow box to test fuel output at different power levels.


Hum, the fuel servo passed all it’s tests perfectly, but the little fuel divider “the spider” failed.

When Kyle took the flow divider apart, he found the filter to be clogged and needed to be rebuilt. The little filter in the divider is what is restricting the fuel to the engine not allowing fuel flow at the normal max fuel flow of 12-13 gph . Currently, I could only get about 8 gph and can not get the rpm above 2480 rpm. During my flight on friday, I could only get 7 gph which is why I had to land in a hurry. NO fuel, NO power!


After talking with Kyle about my options and finding out that the normal service life of the unit is 10 years before overhaul (mine is 8 years old) the decision was made to just do a complete overhaul/rebuild of the equipment. It would have been due in another 2 years anyway. An overhaul is the most prudent and safest coarse of action.

I left Airflow at 12:30 pm, drove about 25 miles to Greenville for lunch at my favorite restaurant in SC. The Pita House. They make the best Mediterranean food in SC.


Mediterranean plate with gyro. It was SO good I order the same dinner to go. I’ll make some humus and have it dinner tonight!


After another 200 mile drive home, I passed my voting place at 4:30 pm and there NO freaking line at all. None! It would have taken me 5 minutes to vote. Next time I will wait until later in the day to vote when everyone is at work.

I won’t get my fuel servo and divider back until late next week, so I can now work on the house instead of spending my days at the airport. Yahoo!

Nov 05 2012

Amazon is AMAZING

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of Shopping with Amazon. I am beginning to find that Amazon has almost everything that I need to order. From computer stuff, kitchen equipment, personal hygiene, automotive parts, just about anything imaginable!

Many times, the prices are as good as EBay, or anywhere else on the web, I get 2 day shipping AND returns are a snap. In some cases, you might a dollar or two buying somewhere else, but the convenience of ordering on line is worth it. Besides, they really take care of the customers. I pre-ordered a Blue Ray DVD and after was shipped Best Buy was selling it for $4 less. Crap, it would cost me more to send it back so just decided to not bother. The next day to my surprise and pleasure Amazon automatically refunded me $4 because they found a lower price and price matched it. As a PRIME member, I automatically get two-day shipping which is well worth the extra $79/year and you also get to stream movies and TV shows.

On Monday morning, while taking about 300 book to Goodwill, I broke the tail gate handle on the truck. Crap plastic cheap ass stuff. Hell, the dam thing only lasted through 13 years of abuse! I thought about welding one up and make my own, but in a moment of sanity, I decided to check on line before I got out the cutting tools and drill bits.


I went on EBay to order on, had actually clicked to buy one and decided to check Amazon before paying. Dam if they didn’t have it for the same low $21 price as Ebay. I can order it and it will arrive in two days ((Prime). I didn’t even want to drive to the Toyota dealer to check their price. Not worth the time or gas.

I was surprised when the next afternoon the replacement handle arrived!!


I remember reading some articles about Amazon. They are working toward having next day deliver on more items and Amazon and Walmart are investigating the possibility of same day delivery. Order by 10 am, get delivered in the afternoon ($10 extra charge). Talk about the ultimate convince. I wonder if I can do all my grocery shopping with them. Now THAT would be worth $10 to me.

The local “Newsless Courier” had an article a few months back that Amazon was able to get a special tax break from the state of SC to build wear-house/distribution center in the state. After some tense on/off moments when I thought Amazon might back out (state was giving them the run around), they finally negotiated a sweet deal for locating in SC and hiring workers. No taxes for 5 years. There are now two wear houses located in Spartanburg (3 hrs away, where Airflow is located) and in W. Columbia SC (about 2 hrs away).

I now I get everything in 2 days max, and more orders are starting to show up the next day if you order early in the morning. Yah!

The handle fit just like the original, and easily installed in the tail gate.


Now repaired and back in business!


I also fixed the handle on my drill press. I tried to repair and flox it in place once before, but did a crappy job of gluing it and it broke again.


I was fix’n to throw out some AL when I ran across the metal on the right. It is what was left of the nose fork on my plane that I was just about to recycle. I thought, why not save it and have a memento.


This is the remains of the nose fork which broke off when I was landing at Greenville Downtown airport on 26 March 2001.


No wheel, no go!


I clearly remember the event (how could one ever forget). I was just touching down heard a pop, and saw something from the corner of my eye fly by the starboard wing and though, “SHIT, was that my wheel?” I looked through the little view window for checking gear position, and saw the front wheel was gone. I informed the the tower and gently touched the nose down.

The grinding sound was really loud and I sure I stopped in a hurry. Dam! I picked up the nose and walked the plane over to the parking area. After the everything settled down, we look all over the runway and grass area for my front wheel, but never could find it. The really sucky part of all this was I had to rent a car to drive up to Norfolk VA for a navy ball that I was attending. The plane was left at the parking area until I could get a replacement fork.

When I returned a few weeks later to repair the bird, the FAA had also stopped by as they are required to do after every accident, and there was a big yellow tag on the prop indicating it was cracked and I needed to contact the manufacture get it rectified before I could fly again!! I laughed a bit, called them up, told them I made the prop and it was fit to fly. The FAA… don’t like them all that much.

About 6 months later I landed at Greenville on other trip, and the desk handed me what was left of my tire. Apparently it had bounced a long way from the runway and the grass mower had chopped it up a bit.

Back to the drill press repair. Some cutting, drilling and grinding……


And now I have a new handle for the drill press an another story to tell.


Nov 05 2012

Make your own MIL SPEC teflon wire strippers

I love to wire airplane. To properly wire, you must have the CORRECT tools for wiring.

One of the MOST important tools I have is my wire strippers. Why, because the wire we use in airplanes is VERY small, generally #20 or #22 wire and if you use the wrong stripper you can tear off the fragile wires of the core and reduce the current handling capacity of the wire.


Two years ago, I bought a really Snap On teflon wire stripper at an airshow which cost me a whopping $200. The reason I paid so much is for this one reason…


These little puppies. The blades. The one on the left is the standard blade you’ll find in tool boxes. The one on the right is a MIL spec blade found in the MIL SPEC stripper you should be using on aviation wire. The main difference is HOW it strips the wire. Almost everyone I have talked to don’t know the difference between a regular wire strip and the Mil Spec stripper.

If you look closely at the blade of the “non-approved” stripper it has VERY sharp teeth which cuts the insolation and many times the wires themselves. There is only 16 threads of wire in the small gauge wire, and if you lose 2 or 4 of them, you reduce the current capacity of the wire and weaken the termination point.


The MIL SPEC blades basically grip the insolation and tear it off. The wire openings have nothing shape on them to cut into the wire at all so you never cut the individual wires, you end up burnishing the wire bundle.


This is a better view of the inside of the blades.


I happened to have an old stripper (with the sharp cutting blades) laying around I picked up somewhere for $7.50. I remembered that I had and some replacement blades sitting around for 10 years which I bought at the Sun-N-Fun
“Fly-Mart” for about $15 but had never opened the package. I didn’t realize they were actually worth about $84 when I looked them up on line. So I thought why not use them.

To make your own professional stripper, just order the blades of your choice, and replace the sharp ones


with the MIL SPEC blades and save yourself over $100. It took me less than 5 minutes.


The stripper on the the left is my $200 Snap-On, the one on the right is the $22.50 stripper with the same blades that I put together from parts I had on hand.


If you want to save some $$$ just find an old Ideal wire stripper (for the frame) and order the PROPER Mil Spec blades on line.

You can see the different type blades for the Ideal Wire Stripper here.

The L-5363 blade I installed which is good for for #16-26 Teflon wire can be ordered for $84 from Stanley

This blade should will take care of most if not all your wiring needs on the plane. Enjoy.

Nov 04 2012

Fuel Readout Installation

Shortly after I received the replacement display module from Aircraft Extras for the fuel probes I wanted to test it right away. Low and behold, it had the same backlight issue the the first one I received.

CRAP, I thought that there has to be a reason both displays weren’t working properly. When I looked again at the wiring instructions I found a small jumper wire had not been installed to power the back light. Apparently, the first unit I received was working properly and it was my wiring mistake that caused the first one not to work. Immediately, I sent an e-mail to the designer apologizing for my mistake.

Since I had already pre-wired the plane, installing the electronics interface with the display was a quick operation.


installing the unit readout in the dash was also very easy as I already had a hole in it which had been used for the TRIO altitude hold system that I BETA tested. The hole was just there, not being used anyway. The display was exactly the same type and size as the TRIO, so the replacement of the alt hold switch/display with the fuel switch/display was a perfect swap out.


Now the bird has a nice little lighted display, that has 6 input, can easily be programed with different screens, low/high level alarms and can be installed in any EZ, old or new.

The fuel probes with this display is a perfect combination for canard flyers who wish to have electronic fuel probes and have not rewired their planes for the latest glass EFIS panels or electronic engine monitors.


FInally, after years of dreaming and working with 2 different companies to develop my system, it is now installed and working in my plane. Cant wait to calibrate the readouts and fly with it.

Nov 03 2012

Another perfect loaf

Today I made another perfect loaf. It’s so easy!


Rusty and I went bike riding today. He showed me some new trails overlook the harbor near the Yorktown. Overall, we road 16 miles today and my goal is 20 miles per ride.



This is the famous pineapple fountain at the Waterfront Park. Pineapples are a sign of good luck in Charleston and you’ll find them everywhere around city.


Later in the evening, I went to the RINK roast, which is an annual event hosted by the local retired officers (both active and reserves). It is a nice chance to have some great food and chat with old friends.


Nov 02 2012

An emergency landing at Charleston

Day was an interesting day for in my fruitless search for the engine problem.

I had completed four flights today. What I discovered was I could not get any power above 2480 RPM. When I went full throttle engine actually started running rough and backfiring. I called Klaus at Lightspeed to discuss the problem and he stated focusing me and on the fuel flow. It is too low. I am only seeing about 9 gph and at full throttle and it should be up to 12 gph. Humm, maybe that is one of the problems.

After talking to Klaus, I decided to take it up for another test flight. As I was climbing out the fuel flow initially I went up to 11.8 gallons per hour, then the fuel flow dropped to 7 gallons per hour and I started losing power. I declared an emergency and they had to divert a airliner landing to get me on the ground in a hurry. What fun! NOT!

I called Airflow Performance back (which built my fuel injection system,) talk to the owner Don, and we decided I could bring the system to Greenville testing on Tuesday. I had already cleaned two filters, but was unaware that there is a third filter in the system.

This is the fuel servo (1 filter in it)


This is the flow spider (it also has a filter).


Cant wait to see what the initial test results show up.