Milestone Reached!

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MrMorden
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Location: Athens, GA

Milestone Reached!

Postby MrMorden » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:24 am

Re-posted from the CTFlier Forum:

My 2007 CTSW (N509CT), just passed the 500 hour total time mark! It had 113hrs on it when I got it in 2013, so I have put 387hrs on it in 3.5 years, or an average of 110hrs/year. Not bad!

In that time, the only major issue has been the exhaust system that cracked and broke in Tucson (thanks Roger for finding me a great stainless welder on zero notice!). Minor issues:

1) Terrible camber/toe-in factory settings that caused horrible tire wear. I was replacing tires 3-4 times a year! I changed to Matco wheels, and even with the wheels shimmed to max specs, I was still wearing way too fast. I talked to Matco, and they suggested custom taper shims. The problem is I needed shims in both axes, which would make the overall shim thickness too great. I found an engineer with big CNC machines, and he cut me custom shims to my specs tapered in both axes. Voila, I have had no noticeable tire wear in 60+ hours. I'm blaming a hung over Ukrainian gear installer for the original issue. :D

2) My oil pressure has has intermittent periods when it would read low. Always fine on the ground, but in flight it would go down slowly until it was below 30psi, sometimes as low as 10psi before I could land. Replaced sender (x3), relocated sender to firewall, ran ground direct from sender to negative battery terminal, replaced gauge. Still have the issue. I *know* it's an electrical issue, because in flight if I start turning off electrical gear the oil PSI comes right back up to normal range. My airplane is about to turn into an E-LSA; when it does I'm going to run new, larger gauge wires to the sender and the gauge is hope that it's a signalling/RF noise issue.

Overall the airplane has been great, and these issues are just normal gremlins associated with airplane ownership. I love the CT's ability to fly slow, fly fast, maneuver, and never act like it's about to bite you hard if you do something a little bone-headed. It's economical to operate, runs auto fuel or 100LL, and can haul a surprising amount of people, fuel, and gear for its gross weight. It's got very long legs, longer than most light singles (though your bladder will fill before the fuel tanks empty...). Honestly, if I was a PP instead of a SP and could fly anything that I could afford, I'm not sure I'd trade my CTSW for anything else.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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Jim Hardin
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Re: Milestone Reached!

Postby Jim Hardin » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:03 am

Congratulation! 500 hours is indeed a milestone kinda like watching the odometer in a new car :D

I am curious as to what your airworthiness Certificate is now and what you feel is any advantage to go to ELSA?

(a little history on that is found http://www.kitplanes.com/issues/29_3/bu ... 376-1.html)

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MrMorden
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Re: Milestone Reached!

Postby MrMorden » Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:09 am

Jim Hardin wrote:
I am curious as to what your airworthiness Certificate is now and what you feel is any advantage to go to ELSA?

(a little history on that is found http://www.kitplanes.com/issues/29_3/bu ... 376-1.html)


I'd have to look at it to recall all the details, but my airworthiness cert now lists the category as experimental instead of light sport.

There are really two advantages to the change:

1. Maintenance. As an experimental aircraft, any person can do any maintenance on the aircraft, except the annual condition inspection. I am planning soon to rebuild my carbs and replace my motor mounts, and I can do all that work legally myself. As an owner, you can also take a two day Light Sport Repairman course, and then you can even do your own annuals.

2. Modifications. You can make any modifications you want to an E-LSA, without factory approval. If you want to add or change avionics, prop, redesign the landing gear, change the location of the pitot tube, or anything else you can imagine, you can do it. The only stipulation is that you can't change the airplane in a way such that it no longer meets LSA performance specs for speed, stall, etc.

If you are not really a hands-on owner, and pay somebody to do everything on your airplane, then there is no advantage to E-LSA. But if you feel like you can do some maintenance tasks yourself, and don't like the hassle of waiting for a mechanic to be available (and paying him) for those tasks, and dealing with the LOA/MRA factory approval process, then it makes sense.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

3Dreaming
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Location: noble, IL USA

Re: Milestone Reached!

Postby 3Dreaming » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:23 am

Andy, you said, "I am planning soon to rebuild my carbs".

I know that this is a term that commonly gets used, especially by Light Sport Repairman, and pilot owners. However just because it is a commonly used term, it doesn't make using it correct.

This is one of those things that is a pet peeve of mine. The reason is because as a mechanic with an Inspection Authorization I do annual recurrent training. During that training in the past it was ingrained that signing of aircraft or parts as being "rebuilt" was a pathway to a violation from the FAA. They have revoked privileges because of this before, and for someone like me that means my livelihood.

Your move to experimental LSA means that part 43 doesn't apply to your airplane anymore, so you would get a pass on a maintenance entry stating that you rebuilt the carbs. In reality you are not rebuilding the carbs, you are cleaning, inspecting, and replacing parts as needed, and that is how it should be logged.

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FastEddieB
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Re: Milestone Reached!

Postby FastEddieB » Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:48 am

Congrats Andy!

We're close in total airframe time: my Sky Arrow may hit 500 hours before the next annual in May.

For anyone who likes to tinker and is mechanically inclined and can handle attention to detail, Experimental is a great way to go. I think Andy fits that role perfectly.

Some wag suggested that we were taking our lives in our hands by doing our own work, using a lame analogy to doctors or lawyers - I forget which. Let me point out that certified mechanics and shops make their fair share of maintenance errors. My first two annuals were done by a respected Light Sport shop, and both left some things unsecured. One of those things - the passenger seat left unsecured - could have had interesting consequences in flight. Fortunately the seat came off its pins as Karen deplaned at the first stop, and not in flight. Not to say I'm immune from small errors, as I've outlined here and elsewhere, but I accept being master of my own fate.

In any case, with the following exceptions, no mechanic has touched my plane since about 2010. I had Roger Lee overhaul my carbs, though I'm pretty sure I was capable. He also did my rubber parts change during our Page adventure a few years back. Similarly, I had an electrical engineer help me with my recent swap to a John Deere voltage regulator. His attention to detail - and crimping skills - clearly exceeded my own. "A man's got to know his limitations" and all that.

Anyway, going Experimental is not for everyone - not everyone is inclined to spend time wrenching and/or accept the limitations of Experimental - basically no rental or flight instruction, and a potential small hit to aircraft value for that reason. But for those who don't mind getting their hands dirty and "experimenting", it can result in a major improvement to the ownership experience. And there's no denying the sense of satisfaction when the little Sky Arrow is purring along boring holes in the sky and I can say, "I did that!"
Fast Eddie B.
Sky Arrow 600 E-LSA • N467SA
FastEddieB@mac.com

Wm.Ince
Posts: 601
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Location: Clearwater, FL

Re: Milestone Reached!

Postby Wm.Ince » Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:46 pm

FastEddieB wrote:Congrats Andy!

We're close in total airframe time: my Sky Arrow may hit 500 hours before the next annual in May.

For anyone who likes to tinker and is mechanically inclined and can handle attention to detail, Experimental is a great way to go. I think Andy fits that role perfectly.

Some wag suggested that we were taking our lives in our hands by doing our own work, using a lame analogy to doctors or lawyers - I forget which. Let me point out that certified mechanics and shops make their fair share of maintenance errors. My first two annuals were done by a respected Light Sport shop, and both left some things unsecured. One of those things - the passenger seat left unsecured - could have had interesting consequences in flight. Fortunately the seat came off its pins as Karen deplaned at the first stop, and not in flight. Not to say I'm immune from small errors, as I've outlined here and elsewhere, but I accept being master of my own fate.

In any case, with the following exceptions, no mechanic has touched my plane since about 2010. I had Roger Lee overhaul my carbs, though I'm pretty sure I was capable. He also did my rubber parts change during our Page adventure a few years back. Similarly, I had an electrical engineer help me with my recent swap to a John Deere voltage regulator. His attention to detail - and crimping skills - clearly exceeded my own. "A man's got to know his limitations" and all that.

Anyway, going Experimental is not for everyone - not everyone is inclined to spend time wrenching and/or accept the limitations of Experimental - basically no rental or flight instruction, and a potential small hit to aircraft value for that reason. But for those who don't mind getting their hands dirty and "experimenting", it can result in a major improvement to the ownership experience. And there's no denying the sense of satisfaction when the little Sky Arrow is purring along boring holes in the sky and I can say, "I did that!"

Adding to what Andy has already expressed, great post Eddie. All points well taken.
Bill Ince
CTSW
Retired Heavy Equipment Operator

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MrMorden
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Location: Athens, GA

Re: Milestone Reached!

Postby MrMorden » Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:39 am

Great post Eddie, I completely agree. Two other points:

First, these LSA that we fly are really quite simple machines. Cables and pushrod controls, carbureted engines, and all that. They are not much more complex than a 1970s motorcycle. Many folks are happy to wrench on a bike, but are afraid to do so on their airplanes. I submit that the consequences of a critical error in either vehicle could be "very bad". But the simplicity makes truly critical errors less likely, especially if you pay attention and check everything again when you are done working.

Secondly, I'm more comfortable entrusting my safety to myself than to somebody I don't even really know. If I screw something up and it causes a problem in flight, I have nobody to blame but myself and I can accept that (though I won't be happy about it) more easily than somebody else putting me in a dangerous situation. I like the idea of being entirely responsible for the safety of the aircraft and the flight, rather than having what is often blind trust that that other guy I paid got it right. After all, nobody has as much incentive to ensure proper maintenance than the guy whose butt will be in the seat.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA


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