Saturday, November 22, 2008

Tiger's Back!

I got almost no work done on Wednesday. In fact, I didn't even make it to the office. I intended to, but I had something to do. After several days of low clouds and rain, the weather on Wednesday was decent for flying, so I went to pick up the Tiger from its annual inspection. It was a long process. The flight up in a Cessna took an hour and a half due to a stiff headwind.

Then I spent an hour or so talking to the mechanics and inspecting the Tiger myself. It was bitterly cold and windy, but I wanted to closely inspect the plane since it had been worked on, to make sure nothing had been overlooked as it was put back together. Here's what Hortman did to the Tiger:
  1. Complied with Airworthiness Directive ("AD") 79-22-04 regarding aileron system.
  2. Complied with AD 99-24-10 regarding the standby vacuum system.
  3. Complied with AD 81-24-03 regarding engine power loss prevention.
  4. Inspected the Emergency Locator Transmitter ("ELT").
  5. Inspected for conformity the installation of the JPI EDM-800 Engine Monitoring System I had installed after Oshkosh.
  6. Checked engine compression: 74/80, 72/80, 74/80, 72/80.
  7. Changed oil and filter.
  8. Serviced all spark plugs.
  9. Checked magneto timing.
  10. Removed and replaced all engine related fluid bearing hoses (fuel and oil).
  11. Installed Nosewheel Landing Gear Fairing.
  12. Removed and replaced rudder springs.
  13. Removed and replaced all rocker box cover gaskets.
  14. Removed and replaced the windscreen and canopy seals.
  15. Repaired co-pilots seat track as required.
  16. Installed lower cowl air deflectors to improve engine cooling.
  17. Serviced all wheel bearings as required.
  18. Lubed all required airframe and engine points as required.
  19. Removed and replaced vacuum regulator filter.
  20. Serviced and charged battery as required.
  21. Checked all interior and exterior lights.
  22. Removed and replaced induction air filter.
  23. Washed the engine as required.
  24. Cleaned and vacuumed the cabin interior.
  25. De-greased the aircraft belly.
  26. Washed and waxed exterior of aircraft.
  27. Cleaned windscreen and all cabin windows.
  28. Replaced brake rotors and pads.
  29. Inatalled vernier mixture cable.
The plane looked great. I looked carefully at the items Hortman had repaired, changed or installed, and their work looked great. I did a careful runup, called the tower, and took off into a wind that was 10 knots gusting to 20 knots, right down the runway. The Tiger climbed at 1,500 feet per minute for a bit, then settled into a 1,000 foot per minute rate as I headed west. I climbed to 4,500 feet as I came out from under the Philadelphia Class B airspace, and the air smoothed out a little. It was still bumpy, and I hit my head a few times in the turbulence, but the Tiger handles bumpy air better than any other plane I've flown. I pulled the throttle out and adjusted the mixture with the new vernier mixture control that had been installed. Just over an hour later, we touched down smoothly at Gaithersburg.

A few friends met me as I took my time putting the plane away until the next flight. As I walked to the car, I looked back and smiled. It's good to have the Tiger back where he belongs.

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