Apr 12 2010

SNF Bound

Finished work on MY plane today (Tweety) to get ready for my annual pilgramige to Tampa and then the Sun-N-Fun air show in Lakeland, FL.   Every year I stay with the Ed and Sue Richards (they have a Cozy 4).  Ed lives in a fly-in community in a terrific house with a detached hanger.  It is SO NICE to just fly in to his airport, taxi up to the hangar and then kick back in his pool.   I usually just  fly to and from SNF in 15 minutes vice 1.3 hrs by car fighting traffic. 

The battery and a sensor was replaced in Tweety.  I also did some work on the nose strut.  The casting angle  was slightly negative (aft sweep) contributing to an very infrequent front wheel shimmy.  It is amazing how quickly a wheel shimmy can screw your plane up.  

The first time, it broke my nose wheel completely off (I had the old thin casting Brock fork).   Seeing the nose wheel flying past your plane when you touch down  it makes for an interesting, but non-eventful landing.   Had to rent a car for the remainder of my trip.  The funny thing is when the FAA stopped by to check the plane out (a requirement since damage was reported by the tower), the only thing they commented on was my prop.  I had a note to “IMMEDIATELY GROUND THE PLANE” due to a “cracks” on the prop and do not fly with it again until I contacted the manufacturer to see it if was ok for flight….   I wrote them a note back to tell them “I am the manufacturer and it deemed OK for flight”.   Didnt hear anther word from them.  Gotta love experimental aviation!

The second mayor shimmy broken all the AN3 bolts holding it to the strut.  Then while taxing to the ramp the whole wheel assembly fell off. 

The third time, a quick 3 second shimmy rolled the wheel over enough to completely destroy the wheel casting!   I had to drive home from a close by airport to get my spare wheel (isnt it great to have spare parts)!

Since this was such an infrequent event, I never really put all the first two events in the same context as the wheel casting issue.    Now it makes sense that they were all related.  A bit of trouble shooting and research was done and I found I had a slight bit of a ‘back’ tilt instead of a ‘forward’ tilt. 

After adjusting the front strut (all I could get was completely vertical orientation), I found I can no longer fully retract the wheel into the wheel well.  The crank mechanism hits the stop before the strut is  fully retracted into the wheel well.    When I return from SNF, I’ll take the wheel assembly off, reset it to a forward tilt angle and re-adjust the retraction travel.  I didnt want to do all this before I left since Murphy’s Law might get me…. “if something can go wrong it will go wrong”.    

Tomorrow I head south with a tail wind (very rare) and a free pass to the show.  Life is good……

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