Skip to main content


No news is not good news

Just a quick update to let you all know that... there is no update. My plane is still sitting in its hanger waiting for the shop to take it in and pull the engine. In the meantime, I need to get back in the air again in some fashion. A long weekend is coming up; maybe I'll try to get signed off in the 152 again.
Recent posts

Airplane go zoom!

There haven't been any developments in the story of my airplane's engine. I'm still waiting for the shop to pull it in and take the engine off. While I'm waiting, I've decided that, if I can't fly my plane, I'll fly someone else's and get some training. Several weeks ago, I went up with an instructor to refresh my night flying knowledge and skill. Today I went up in a Cessna 182 and got my high performance endorsement. The main differences between a 182 and a plane like mine or a 172 are that it's a bit larger and heavier, it has a considerably more powerful engine, and it has a constant-speed propeller. I've long known the basic operating principles of a constant-speed prop, but this is the first real practical experience with one. Well, I did go up with a former coworker in his 182 back around 2004 but that doesn't really count. It was a lot of fun! It's definitely a different experience. And even though he signed off on my endorsement,

Night flying

One of the things I've wanted to do since I got current is to go up at night with an instructor for a refresher flight. While I can't do that in my airplane, I can still do it on one of the flight school's planes so I made a reservation for this evening to spend some time with an instructor in a 172. While the weather looked a bit iffy, it was good enough to go flying. I met my instructor at the appointed time, 7:00pm local time. The first thing we did was go out and perform the preflight inspection on the plane while there was sufficient daylight. After that, we spent about half an hour or so in his office going over the things to be aware of when flying at night. Once that was done, we walked out to the plane, got in, started it up, and headed out. We headed north for a while as we discussed the unique aspects of piloting and navigating at night. For example, using the horizon as an attitude reference, and recognizing the presence of poor weather conditions. The weather i

The process begins

I obtained quotes from several shops, including a couple of the more well-known ones. Preston, the shop manager at Snohomish Flying Service, obtained a quote from his preferred shop. He was confident that it would be a better price than I would get anywhere else. Well, it would appear he was correct. And, not only is the quoted price the best of all of them, the projected lead time is the best as well. Assuming all goes well, I could be back in the air a good month and a half earlier than I would with another shop. Currently, the world of piston general aviation is experiencing a dramatic shortage of new cylinders. The shops I got quotes from all stated that they did not have any new cylinders and that they would only be able to use overhauled cylinders. While overhauled cylinders are always an option, and the engine should be just fine if they were used, every recommendation I've heard or read is to use new cylinders if possible. I've been truly fortunate in that, without goin

A difficult post

After the last oil change which we did at about 13 hours, the oil analysis showed that the amount of iron had decreased further and it was looking like it was a "one and done" incident. Per my mechanic's recommendation, I flew it for 25 hours before the next oil change. That oil change was just performed... and the news is not good at all. This time, a considerable amount of metal was found in the suction filter screen and the oil filter. There was enough there that my mechanic grounded the plane. The decision has been made: the engine is coming off and will likely need to be overhauled. While it is possible that the engine only has to be repaired (e.g. if the metal is from the camshaft and everything else, like the bearings, looks good), I'm acting on the assumption that an overhaul will happen. My emotional state with respect to this development is complex. On one hand, I feel kind of sick to my stomach when I contemplate the cost I'm about to pay both in money

Today is why I bought my airplane

First, some backstory. Last year, there was an attempt at holding a fly-in for the Northwest region of the Beech Aero Club. The destination airport was Hood River, 4S2. However, the weather decided otherwise and it was cancelled. Actually it was the weather forecast, as the weather on the actual day turned out to be considerably better than predicted and may have been good enough to go ahead. However, since we had to make a decision beforehand, we decided to call it off for the time being. A couple days ago, I received a message from John, another member of the Beech Aero Club letting me know that, given the weather forecast which predicted beautiful weather, the fly-in would be held today, and asking if I would be attending. I wanted to go, but I was concerned that Harvey Field would be fogged in for the morning as has been usual for the past couple of months. I responded that I'd see how it went and that, if there was no fog, or it lifted in time, I would try to make it down. I w

Little bits go bye-bye

I didn't mention it in my earlier post but, after I went flying with my father, I noticed that I was missing one of the cowl fasteners as I was putting the plane away. It's position is just in front of the windshield as it curves on the left side, and holds the cowl to the airframe. This is not uncommon with older planes like mine and isn't a big deal if it's only one or two since they're numerous enough to keep the cowl secure. Last week, a couple days before my flight to Willapa Harbor, I went out to the airport to see if I could get a replacement. I took a couple of pictures of the existing fasteners, and also took a couple of them out so I could take them with me over to the shop to serve as examples. At issue is that there are a couple of different types on my plane. They are all of the camlock type; most have a single slot for use with a flathead screwdriver, but some of them have Phillips heads. Most have a small flange that they fit into, but a few have a la