Progress on the Swift Maintenance – at Last

by on May 25, 2009

Installing an aircraft radio is not as tedious as trying to put your watch back together, but it still seems as though this project is taking forever. My day job is taking up way too much of my time. Watch PartsI checked my logbook  (I use Logbook Pro in addition to keeping a paper copy) and found that I haven’t flown my Swift since February.  With my work schedule in June, it looks like the best I can hope for is a flight some time in July.

On the dismantling side of the project I have removed the fore and aft windows on both sides of the aircraft, stripped the old paint from the cockpit interior, removed the old radio and wiring harness and removed the old antenna and cable. On the put-it-back-together side I have repainted the cockpit interior, installed a new antenna with skin doubler, installed new antenna cable (RG-400) and routed it to the new radio, installed the radio box in the hole left by the old radio, wired it into the existing PM-1000II intercom and successfully accomplished the operational checks specified in the radio and intercom installation manuals. I have also moved the headset and mic jacks from the instrument panel to the underside of the aft shelf behind the outer edge of the left and right seats. The forward location of the jacks was probably acceptable when the aircraft had yolk controls but this plane has a dual stick conversion STC installed and the forward jack location could easily allow interference between the stick movement and the headset cords. While I was working in the cockpit I also took the time to move the fuel quantity gauge for the outer wing aux. tanks from its position aft of the main tank gauge on the little center console to a blank space on the instrument panel. In order to read the aux. fuel quantity with the gauge located in the center console (even with my right hip) I had to turn sideways in the seat. The switch for the gauge that selects either the left or right aux. tank quantity for viewing was located on the instrument panel. Now the gauge and selector switch are next to each other.

The notes on the project progress that I left for myself show that the items remaining to be accomplished include completing the radio box installation by adding a vertical support at the rear of the box per the installation manual, the final wiring of the mic and trim buttons on the sticks and adding the wiring supports, grommets and protective sheaths along the wiring runs as specified in AC43-13. That will just leave the installation of new windows.

Let’s see. That’s about a week’s work so it will probably take two months to complete, especially when you consider I’m currently 4 days into a 14-day airline trip. That day job is getting in the way again…

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