Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Time to get back to work on the plane, but....

Back from Oshkosh and more or less caught up on my to-do list, which was rudely increased by one task when the local gang of vandal-thugs destroyed my mailbox late Saturday night. It took the police three attempts at the doorbell to rouse my faithful watch dog Hogarth, who likely only got up because he caught a whiff of doughnuts. They had reports of shots fired at my house, which should give you some idea as to the state of the mailbox. Those guys must really, really hate mailboxes! They flattened it! A quick trip to Lowe's to purchase the Main Battle Tank(tm) Vandal-Resistant mailbox and a hot, sweaty couple of hours in the baking sun and sweltering humidity were all it took to replace the old, flimsy box. I hope these punks come back - I'm not responsible for broken fingers or other extremities if they try to pound on this one:

So, what do I need to do on the plane? Well, the pants need to come back off for final trim and paint. As long as I have them off, I need to put a new O-ring in the left side brake caliper as it has developed a bit of a weepy leak. With the new pants unpainted, I was able to detect the leak via a stain on the inside of the left pant. It seems to be oil, and the only place I can think of for that to be coming from is the brake caliper. It's an easy job (since the pants have to come off anyway) to get the caliper off and carry it down to the maintenance hangar to have an A&P take a look at it, but it's so doggone hot this week I can't get up the energy to do it. It will hit 95 today, which means it will be well over 100 in the hangar. This job is going to have to wait for a couple of days!

I'm also still trying to get the Anywhere Map installed. I did get a little done - I found a spot on the panel for it. That spot wasn't empty, though. The magnetic compass was in it. There's another empty 2 1/4" hole that can hold the compass, so I took it out (easy access from the top since I have a tip-up canopy) and tried to install it in the other position. No go. I can't get behind it with a tool to hold the nuts while I tighten the screws from the front. I ordered a neat little nutplate that will solve that problem, but now I'm waiting for the slow pony express delivery that is the most I'm willing to pay for on a $13 part.

Now that the mag compass is out of the way, I can mount the cradle for the PDA directly to the panel. This will position it for right hand usage, and will put it up nice and high where I can see it without looking too far down. The antennas are both very small and will easily fit on top of the glare shield. There is a box for the XM Wx that will have to be mounted somewhere, but since it doesn't need to be able to see the sky and has no control switches on it, I can put it up behind the panel somewhere.

This ability to spread things around in the somewhat space-constrained cockpit was one of the reasons I chose the Anywhere Map over another big-box Garmin like the 396. If I had spent the extra $1,000 for the Garmin, I would have had to replace my Garmin 295. I didn't want to do that since I anticipate using the 295 for my low-range HSI navigation (I usually keep the 295 on a 5 - 10 mile range) and using the Wx GPS on a far higher range setting of 50 - 100 miles. Navigate locally, avoid weather globally, I always say. Well, that's actually the first time I've said it, but I'm always going to say it from here on out.

It's actually somewhat fortuitous that the nutplate for the compass will take another couple of days to arrive dusty and tired from its long journey across the desert on the back of a mule - I can wait for a break in this heat wave to get back to the installation job.

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