Flew down around noon from KCCR (Concord) to KHWD (Hayward) for maintenance on the plane. Beautaful smooth flight, a bit warm, as it was 93 F. Worked until about 5:30 pm and then flew back. My twin (mechanic Brian) went over the plane with a fine tooth comb and found several things which needed fixing. One, the exhaust pipes were put on backwards (Left vs Right) so the tubes pointed back instead of foreard. We’re going to complete some radio upgrades and other minor cosmetics. It was a great day!
Sometimes…this is the best time of the day at the airport. Sun low, heat faded, and no winds… plus you often have the pattern to yourself. I remember many times, just around sunset, I would taxi out and enjoy the solitude of the skies. Most of my evening flights were out of Hayward, and the routine would be to depart Runway 28L, turning downwind towards Coyote Hills and the SF Bay, circling the “sunken ship” and then returning for a few touch and go’s. Best part, the sun would be just below the horizon, so you were not flying directly into the glare.
New cowl plugs installed, made by Bruce’s…same as the canopy cover. The first set from MAC’s were the “wrong ones”, made to fit the later model Cessna 15o’s..the “L”, “M” models. Those have the fiberglass cowl nose which encircles the propeller hub. Earlier Cessna’s such as N5655G, a 1970 “K”, have the “open” style metal cowl nose. Well, the birds sure liked the wrong plugs and they made a nest (twice!) in the engine compartment. Seems the “gap” (with the incorrect plugs) allowed a “private entrance” behind the propeller spinner, where the birds felt nice and secure. No more! Also, there are blue nylon “scrub pads” in the air intakes in the leading edge of the wing. That is to keep the wasps out. They seem to love air intakes.
An Appareo Stratus ESG transponder, Stratus 3i, and GPS antenna was installed in N5655G! We are now in compliance with the FAA mandate for all aircraft (operating in designated airspace) to comply with ADS-B. The required equipment enables your aircraft to be seen on radar, showing your type, registration, altitude, speed…. and (0ptional) to receive in your cockpit live “traffic alerts” of other airplanes flying nearby. To receive the alerts, you need to have a capable display which shows your position (map) and the surrounding aircraft (targets). We are using an Ipad with Foreflight, and this is an excellent tool, as it also does flight planning, weather alerts, airport diagrams, airspace, and logbook recording. You can also record your flight, and replay it in Google Earth for example. The radio capabilities, moving map/GPS, and navigation available today greatly enhance flying safety!
It’s been a pretty wet February, and March. Into this first part of April, we’ve had just a few days with “decent” flying weather, but those fell on a day that I couldn’t fly. I am hoping that by the middle of this month (as forecast by the weather prognosticators), we will actually “spring” into great sunny skies. And the other thing, with the goofy Bay Area weather, we seem to have had a lot more of those “winds 15 gusting to 30 knots”. Just a bit out of the demonstrated crosswind limits of a lot of general aviation planes. Gotta get flying soon though… the ADS-B install is “ticking away”, and the annual inspection comes due May 1st. So far, I’ve gotten all the necessary maintenance items gathered – oil filter, air filter, oil…etc. This will be my first annual with this particular Cessna (I’ve done dozens – owner assist – on the 150M and the Sundowner). The log books show most everything has been done by the previous owner (prop overhaul, new Skytech starter, new tires, new MX300 radio, new battery….). My A/P twin brother keeps saying “you stole this plane”…. It’s great being back into flying after an 8 year “vacation”, and my medical “event” last year.