Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Things I want to change

After only an hour or so flying it, I can already see some things I want to change.

First, I want to cut about three inches off of each control stick. They're way too long. I noticed that I was most comfortable with my hand just below the grip. Also, if the sticks were shorter they wouldn't be so close to the instument panel when pushed forward. This should be a pretty easy job, assuming I can find someone with a saw that will cut the sticks.

Second, the fuel gauges and resistance sending units are craptacular and must be replaced. We flew the right tank to well below half, but the gauge quite blithly reported full fuel. Can't have that! I'm not sure if I want to do this right away, or wait until someday when I replace the entire panel and intall Dynon units. For now I'm back to doing what Cessna pilots do: keeping track of how many hours I've flown on each tank. I did that to some degree on the Tampico, but had trustworthy fuel gauges as a backup. Now I need to be a bit more anal about it.

Third, I found a spot to mount my little GPS Pilot III, but it will require fabricating a mount out of sheet metal. I'm going to mount it to the bottom of the canopy glare shield. I'll also have to remove the outside air temp gauge (which I don't care about) and the emergency canopy release lever (which I want to get competely rid of since it introduces more risk than it mitigates) to make room for it. I'll update the Tampico For Sale ad to replace the Pilot III with the Garmin 295, which is a much better GPS anyway. Maybe it'll help it sell.

Fourth, I need too figure out why the directional gyro precesses like a drunken sailor. This may wait for the Dynon intruments too. I won't need it as much once I get the Pilot III GPS mounted.

Fifth, I want to install an autopilot. I won't need that until I start taking long trips, though.

Sixth, install landing lights. Bolton tower was calling me out as traffic to a departing 172, so I tried to turn on the landing light to make me easier to see. Oops! I have a landing light switch, but no landing light! Hopefully this indicates that the wiring is in place and all I have to do is cut a hole in the wing and install the light itself.

These are all little things. I'm extremely happy with the plane, and if I didn't have the freedom to change these things, I'd probably learn to live with them.

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