Occasionally life gets in the way and time passes way faster than you imagined. As I look back at this site I see that I haven’t published anything since way back in January. Almost a year has passed and I imagine that most of the regular readers here have moved on. Oh well, publishing on sites like this are often more for the writer than the reader. Sort of a way to clear your head.

When we last left off I had just given a new friend an EAA Eagle Flight – designed to introduce adults to the world of aviation if they have expressed a sincere interest in learning what flying is all about. That friend is now finishing up his final flight requirements for his private pilot certificate. I expect him to schedule his checkride before the end of the year.

My logbook shows a total of 15.6 hours for 2018 – pretty weak. There are still a couple of months left in the year. Maybe I can get that up to 20. Still not great but i can live with it.

Shortly after that Eagle Flight I took the airplane out of service again to install a JPI 830 engine analyzer. I figured it would take a week, week and a half tops to get it all in. Yeah, Right…

A fairly accurate rule of thumb in estimating aircraft project times is to give your best estimate of how long it is going to take, then double it and go to the next higher unit. So, a one week estimate will probably result in working on it for 2 months.

Yep, that’s what it took. Most of it was first moving things around on my brand new instrument panel to get a good place for the little screen – about 4″ x 3″. Then there are conservatively a bazillion connectors with wires to run from the instrument to various places on the engine.

In the end though, i have a nice new analyzer that has saved me a bunch of time already. I went out to fly recently, got to the run-up area, did my thing and could not get the engine to pass the mag check. The engine analyzer simply pointed out that the bottom plug on the #4 cylinder wasn’t firing. Back to the hangar, cowling off, pull that plug and there it is, a little bit of carbon bridging the electrodes. I had an extra plug all cleaned and gapped, put it in, got the cowling back on, took it out and did another mag check and all was fine. Without the JPI I would have had to clean and gap all the plugs and hope that was the problem.

Anyway, after I got the JPI installation all finished and the paperwork updated I made several short local flights to see how it all worked. Its an on-going learning process.

EAA Pilot Proficiency Center at AirVenture 2018

About that time I noticed that NAFI (National Association of Flight Instructors) and SAFE (Society of Aviation and Flight Educators) were looking for instructors to work in the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center (PPC) during AirVenture. The PPC has 16 Redbird Flight simulators available and any certificated pilot can reserve a 1-hour session with an instructor to fly any of the 16 VFR or 16 IFR scenarios at no cost. I figured what the heck and submitted my application to volunteer. I was accepted and subsequently spent the week at AirVenture – wandering the displays and parking areas every morning and ‘working’ in the simulators every afternoon. Yes, I had a ball and I intent to apply again in 2019.

Back home again and it was time to get things ramped up for the Reno Air Races. They are fun to attend, a little less fun to work at and a 2-week chunk out of local flying time. The weather was great for the event and we had an outstanding bunch of volunteers working the people-mover trams.

Reno-Stead has been without its normally used runway 8-26 for most of the year. The project dug up the entire 7000+’ of pavement, replaced the base material and rebuilt the runway. That runway was open for the Races as a day-vfr piece of pavement with minimum legal markings and no lighting. As soon as the races were over it closed again to complete the rebuild project. The runway officially opened on October 19th and the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority had their official dedication ceremony on the 23rd.

Photo courtesy of Olde Carl Photography

Five locally-based aircraft took part in the ceremony with a ceremonial takeoff, low approach and landing to ‘officially’ open the runway. The Swift and I were one of the five aircraft. It was a fun day. One of the Airport Authority photographers send me this image from the event.

So now we’re pretty much caught up with the flying this year. I’m going to do my best to get into the air at least once a week – but you know how that has been going. Other than the interior the airplane is in pretty good condition and I have no major projects planned for the future. The annual inspection is due in Dec so who knows. I’ll let you know…

Fly safely out here…