99 Skydiving

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

About 100 yards from the hangar is Skydive Sebastian that uses a DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter as a jump plane. Every day we hear the plane take off and about 15 minutes later it lands about the same time as all the skydivers. Yesterday I stopped by and asked if I could ride along in the right seat. So once the spar was in, I grabbed a spare headset and rode one of the bikes down to the skydiving center. There were about 12 lunatics… er, I mean skydivers in the back. We climbed up to 13,500 feet and then:

2008-01-29 IMG_5889 2008-01-29 IMG_5890 2008-01-29 IMG_5891 2008-01-29 IMG_5892 2008-01-29 IMG_5893

After the last one was out, I turned to face forward and directly in front of me was this:

2008-01-29 IMG_5894

You figure it out.

99 Sun-n-Fun 2011

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

We had a great time at Sun-n-Fun on Wednesday. The weather was perfect. Saw Tom Lawson of Firewall Forward who supplied the engine. I picked up some supplies and talked to a few vendors. Wednesday night we had dinner with Richard and Sheri. On Thursday we had some plans to hang out in Tampa. Turns out that was perfect timing. Lakeland, FL got hit by a tornado that destroyed numerous aircraft. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries (to people).

Now here’s a little backstory. About 20 years ago, I used to have an occasional business lunch with a customer. One of the restaurants (Sea Sea Riders) we would go to had this dessert called a “Kitchen Sink”. One day after lunch I decided to order dessert. When it was brought out, my customer asked if she could have a bite. I said sure and she asked for an extra spoon. After that, whenever we had lunch at this restaurant, we would always order a “Kitchen Sink with two spoons”. Well, I ended up marrying that customer.

Now last year after Sun-n-Fun, we went by the restaurant. It had changed little but they had stopped serving the Kitchen Sink years earlier. But there was a storm going on they had lost power. The chef was walking in and out of the kitchen dealing with some storm induced crisis and at one point we started talking to him. Turns out he had just started at the restaurant a couple weeks earlier but he used to work there about 20 years ago. And the “Kitchen Sink” was his creation.

So a couple months before this year’s trip I contacted the restaurant and asked if they could bring back the dessert for me… Just this once. The owner of the restaurant couldn’t have been more accomodating.

So the plan was put into motion. On Thursday, we went to the old lunch restaurant (BTW, Jimmy Buffett wrote a song about our lunches). After lunch, they brought out dessert.

And we had to include the chef that started all this in motion.

While I was playing in Florida, Malcolm was plugging away with surfacing stuff. Getting the windows just right, fixing the damage from the unexpected nose gear retraction. Other stuff like that. Malcolm doesn’t like the way that the factory does the window installation so he spent a lot of time trying to make them “good enough”.

99 Malcolm Collier, Tank Builder

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

Here’s an interesting tidbit. What does Malcolm do when he’s not building airplanes?

He builds scale WWII tanks (insert original Flight of the Phoenix movie reference here).

Here’s one of his masterpieces.

See the tow cables on the side of the tank? The little helmet on the side of the turret? Oh yeah… and the treads; they actually move.

The back of the tank.

How about that little tiny bucket? It’s hand made… Out of metal. I’ll bet it actually holds water.

Back of the turret.

Check out those canteens. And this tank is about SIX INCHES LONG. Many of the parts on this tank are fabricated from scratch in Malcolm’s model building facility. He uses pictures of actual tanks, maintenance manuals, construction drawings (the original 70 year old documents), etc. when building these tanks. The detail is almost scary. Most of the times when he shows me what he’s working on, I can barely see it. He makes bolt heads that are only a couple thousands of an inch across.

99 MBA Kris

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

In the middle of all this I had to teach a Nexus 7000 class in New Jersey at the end of April. Ann was in New York at the same time. When she was done with her business on the 28th, so she caught a train to New Jersey. After the class was over on April 29 we drove down to Wilmington, DE to attend my neice’s graduation. She was receiving her MBA that she obtained in 18 months on her own while working two jobs. Beat that!!!


Kris and her proud papa.

The following Saturday, I drove Ann to Philly to catch a flight home. Then I took Kris to lunch and then we went for a sightseeing flight over Delaware and New Jersey.

Kris at the controls.

She’s got a real good touch on the controls. Most people over-control but she seems to have a knack for it.

99 Richmond Courtesy Car

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

After we were done, I had to head for Richmond. There was a slight problem with my rental car. Most small fields don’t have rental car offices on site. When flying into a small field on Sunday, the rental car company has to deliver the car the day before (they usually close on Saturday around noon) and leave the keys with the airport. But I had a funny feeling. I called the Hanover Country Municipal Airport after lunch and there was no car. Since it was after noon, the rental car office was closed.  But the people at Heart of Virginia Aviation said I could use their courtesy car until Enterprise got a car out. Usually, the courtesy car is the old fire chiefs car… 10 years old with about 400,000 miles on it. Collapsed front seat, no suspension, etc. But not at Hanover County. After parking the plane, the line guys brought out their “courtesy car”.


99 Oshkosh 2011

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

We drove up to Oshkosh on Tuesday morning. The plan was to spend all day Tuesday and Wednesday, hit the Velocity Cookout Wednesday night and head home on Thursday morning. As is usually the case, I spent most of the time talking with vendors and checking out the latest products. I did attend a very interesting seminar on electronic circuit breakers from Vertical Power. Then we checked into our hotel and had dinner in a local Fond Du Lac restaurant.

Wednesday the rain started. We hung out in the hotel until about 10am waiting for the weather to clear. Ann was feeling a bit under the weather so I struck out on my own with my poncho and backpack. The flymart was almost deserted so I made good time picking up tools and other supplies. Then I hit the vendor hangars and got some spark plugs and oil filters (for the Cessna). Then I talked with Carlos and Grand Rapids (I’m using their displays) and Marc at Vertical Power. I checked out a couple other vendors and then headed back to the hotel to see if Ann was feeling up to the cookout.

She was feeling better, so around 5pm, we headed back to Osh.

We were able to sneak our car into the camping area (because who’s going IN at 5pm?) which was a good thing because it was a mess!

The turnout this year was huge. BTW, all of these pictures are from Brett Ferrell. He maintains an unofficial Velocity (www.velocityxl.com) website and his wife, Elizabeth took bunches of pictures.

Me (right) and Scott Baker (in green). Scott used to manage Velocity. Now he’s doing builder assist work (like Malcolm).

Andy Millin. The cookout is his baby. He cooks the brats and burgers every year.

Albert (in brown on the left), Ann and me.

Albert’s wife Bree and Ann helping out.

There’s this… thing. A pose, really, called “Eagle One” where you stand with your hands on your hips and look off into the sky. I don’t know who started it. This is my first attempt.

Me (left) and Ken Baker. I think this is after Ken won the “most brats eaten” award for the 8th year in a row.

Ken used to work at Velocity with his father (Scott) but now he’s working at Mecca. That’s what I call Scaled Composites. The company Burt Rutan started that’s currently building (amoung other things) Spaceship Two for Virgin Glactic.

We stayed until it started getting dark and then we left. The party goes on much later, but Ann still wasn’t 100%. Getting out was exciting. We almost got bogged down a couple of times trying to get out. Once we got back to the hotel, we looked at each other and said “let’s go”. So we packed up and drove home that night. On the way home, Just north of Milwaukee, I drove through the worst rain storm I have ever seen. Most cars were stopped on the side of the road. A couple simple stopped where they were. With a diesel engine under the hood and Rainx on the windshield, we just kept on going (albeit at a reduced speed). Got home around midnight and slept in our own bed. 🙂


99 Engine Teardown on the Cessna

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

The current ride is down for maintenance.

I’m really pretty anal about maintenance on the Cessna. My philosophy is that if something breaks after taking off into IFR conditions, it’s bad thing. So proper maintenance is a must. The only maintenance I ever defer is non-critical items. Interior trim, for example.

I change the oil and filter between 30 and 35 hours. Many people run 50 hours. And some don’t change the filter at every oil change. Not only do I change the oil and filter but I take an oil sample and send it off for analysis. And I cut the filter open and inspect the filter for metal.

A couple months ago I hit the 500 hour mark since the engine was completely overhauled. The magnetos require and inspection and rebuild at 500 hours. So the mags came off when I was changing the oil and filter. I also took the opportunity to replace all 12 sparkplugs.

At the next oil change, ferrous metal was found in the filter. The oil analysis report also showed “slightly elevated iron” in the sample. Lynn, my A&P (Airframe and Powerplant mechanic) said the amount of metal wasn’t enough to ground the plane but it did warrant watching. I sent the metal to a lab and then ran a number tests on it and the report was that it was consistent with the crankshaft.  Lynn feels it’s almost a certainty that it’s the camshaft.

So my plan was to fly a shorter cycle and change the oil at about 15 to 20 hours and see what happens.

It was a VERY stressful 15-20 hours. Every time the engine made the slightest noise, I was looking for a place to land. And engines make a LOT of noise.

After my last trip down to Greenville, I changed the oil (19 hours since the last change). A lot more metal in the filter this time. The oil sample shows the iron dropping back down to the “normal” range.

I sent the filter out to Firewall Forward have the metal analyzed under their scanning electron microscope and they said it most likely came from the camshaft.

While a catastrophic failure was unlikely and I could keep flying, the metal being produced would be damaging other parts of the engine. So I made the call to ground the plane.

I was way past the warranty on the overhaul from 5 years ago (2 year warranty) so I had to pick a shop to do the teardown, figure out where the metal is coming from and fix it. I could send it back to Penn Yan which is who did the previous overhaul but since it only made it a quarter of the way to 2,000 hour TBO, I wasn’t happy with them at this point. So on the recommendation of Lynn, I’m going to give Poplar Grove Airmotive a shot. They’re only about 30 miles away and they’ll pick it up and deliver it for free (which usually costs about $300 each way). And since they’re close by, I can drop by and check on the progress.

The biggest downside is that this is a horrific, unexpected expense. Initial estimates are $7,500 for the low side and lots, lots more if it turns out to be the crankshaft. And that doesn’t include the cost of removing and reinstalling the engine.

This morning we pulled the airplane over the Lynn’s shop and removed the engine. We had it out by about noon. Poplar Grove will pick it tomorrow. They say it’ll take about 3 weeks. I’m hoping for a (good) prognosis next week.

Removed engine

What is now a glider.

The thing that really sucks is that with regular maintenance and normal use, this engine should be able to have gone 2,000 hours.


99 Content Migration Completed

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

All the content from the old site has been migrated to the new, current site.

I’ve also reorganized the content using the builders manual Table Of Contents which can be found under the picture. For example, if you’re looking for info on the main gear doors, you can search on “7.7.3” which will return all posts that have to do with the main gear door.

You can also view posts by year or section.


99 – First Trip

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

The Southeast Triangle


Up to now, I’ve only made a small handful of short trips.  Three down to Sebastian to fix a fuel leak, move the hydraulic dump valve and to talk with Scott Swing about painting the plane and Justin about interior. The only other trip was to head up to Smyrna, TN so that my old A&P/IA could show me any tricks on doing the inspection on the Continental IO550. All of these have been only about two hours away and Ann has only been on one of those trips (to talk with Justin about the interior).

Since Ann had a business trip that was going to have her away on her birthday and I didn’t have anything planned, we decided to do our first long trip. Panama City, FL to Dallas, TX (couple days of business meetings) to Chicago, IL (fun for the weekend) to Nashville, TN (one business meeting) and then back to Panama City.

I spent some time making sure everything on the plane was ready and on Monday we got up early to be at the airport and in the air by about 8:00 so we would be in Dallas by noon.  That right there is significant.  If we were still in the Cessna, it would have been a tad bit different.

In the Cessna, we would be looking at about 4:45 in the air. That means two stops.  Not for fuel but to accommodate Ann’s “two hour rule”. She didn’t like worrying about not drinking too much liquids and having to deal with unplanned stops. So she created the “two hour rule”. Occasionally, she allow an exception if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes more, but otherwise, it’s a hard rule. And it’s a good one. Life is much easier when you’re not thirsty most of the day and you get to wander around small airports.

Another (new) thing we experienced is the significantly smaller baggage volume available in the Velocity as opposed to the Cessna. The Cessna 182 is like a flying Ford Explorer.  There’s TONS of space inside.  Between the baggage compartment and the back seat, you can fit massive amounts of stuff in that plane.  And with the 182, the general rule is: If you can fit it in, the plane can carry it. Meaning it’s almost impossible to overload a 182 unless you’re carrying lead.

The Velocity is more like a Porshe 911.  Yeah, it’s got 4 seats and baggage compartment, but there’s no comparison to an SUV.  It was made more challenging in that Ann had about three days of business during this eight day trip. So we were jamming stuff in the baggage area, back seats, floor, etc. It was pretty messy looking.

For this first day of the trip, we would only be making one stop. I chose Vicksburg, MS because they have cheap fuel and it’s about halfway. We took off around 7:45 and climbed up to 6,000′. Where we encountered a 15-20 knot headwind that would be with all the way to Dallas. After stopping in Vicksburg, I added 20 gallons of fuel and wandered around while Ann took some phone calls. Then it was back up for a short 1:40 hop into McKinney National Airport.

And what a nice airport it is. Big honkin’ airport with one of those big fancy FBO’s where they pull your rental car right up to the plane after you park. Which I discovered is a little different when you’re rockin’ a Velocity.  The line guys get a little confused when they are marshalling you into a parking spot. So I ended up stopping a bit short and we pulled it in the rest of the way. After unloading the plane, Ann went to take care of the rental car paperwork while I stayed with the plane for about 20 minutes answering questions.  ATP has a flight training operation there so it seemed like every student walking by wanted to look and ask questions.

After a couple of days in Dallas (actually Plano), we were off to Chicago to spend the weekend with a very good friend, hang out in the hot tub, and partake in great food and some adult beverages. Ann of course went shopping… I did too, but my shopping was at Berland’s House of Tools.  In Panama City, if you want high quality or specialty tools, online is the only option. 🙁

There was a front moving through on the day of the trip. Clear skies but howling winds. Fortunately, they were blowing out of the south which would give us a 40 knot tailwind and be straight down the runway at every airport.

So we blasted off of McKinney at 8am.  Got vectored around Dallas for a while and we were then at 5,000′ making about 240 knots over the ground for our first stop in Lebanon, MO. Approach and landing was… interesting.  Once below about 4,000′ it got bumpy.  So I used a modified Millin Approach.  Andy Millin has a fixed gear Velocity and if he needs to get down fast, he slows down, deploys the speedbrake, pulls the power to idle and holds about 90 knots and gets a 3,000 foot per minute descent. I don’t have a speedbrake, but I do have landing gear that’s pretty draggy. So I was able to go from smooth air to landing pretty quick and limit the time in the bouncy stuff.

That was a timed stop as Ann had a one hour call that she had to take so we planned our departure to arrive at the appointed time. After the call and taking on 20 gallons of fuel, we were off to Chicago.  After takeoff I trimmed for Vy and got above the bumps in about 2 minutes.

About 100 miles out, I got the usual (and expected) “we have an amendment to your routing, advise when ready to copy.”  Like always, it was just a minor detour (you can see it on the map) so no big deal.  As we began our descent, Chicago approach asked if I could “maintain that speed”. I responded affirmative.  He then told me he had a Piper also heading to Dupage and that if I could keep up the speed, he could get me in before the Piper and not have to slow down. Okay. Usually I’m the slower one so it’s nice to not be that plane for a change. Then it got a bit more unusual (at least to a long time Cessna driver). Typically, Chicago approach is busy and they don’t have a lot of time for idle chitchat. But the controller then asked what speed I was indicating. I responded “187 indicated and 205 true.” He then asked what my fuel burn was. I replied “12.6 gallons per hour”.  He came back with “You can’t beat that.”  Nope. You certainly can’t.

After landing, I dropped Ann off at the Taj Mahal (what the locals call the main terminal at Dupage) so she could get the rental car and then I taxied over to the east side of the field to Travel Express.  Back when I first got the Cessna, I rented it out at Dupage with Cougar Aviation. Travel Express was one of the other outfits on the field. They were much bigger and did charters using turbo prop and jets.  One of the instructors I used while getting my instrument rating is a check pilot there and he was kind enough to help me arrange to have the Velocity put in their big hangar.  That was a huge relief since it’s not exactly water tight yet, it’s freakin’ cold up there now and I haven’t even thought about dealing with pre-heat.

After a nice long weekend, we made the drive down to the airport from Barrington, loaded up the plane and were airborne just after 7am for the 2 hour flight. Ann had a meeting near Nashville at 11am so the plan was to get there with enough time to get the rental car, and drive to the location. I had called Lynn, my old A&P/IA and since he was going to be around that morning, I would taxi over to where he was on the east side of the field and we would go to lunch.

The original plan was to spend the night in Smyrna since Ann didn’t think she would be ready to leave until 3pm. I haven’t flown the Velocity at night yet so I didn’t want to deal with that issue just yet. but she called after Lynn and I got back from lunch and said if she got back by around 2pm, would be be able to get home tonight.  In the Velocity?  Heck yeah!  It’s a damn time machine!

So we lifted off from Smyrna, TN at 2:30pm and we were driving out of the airport at 4:30pm.

Total distance traveled: 2,000 nm
Total time enroute:  9.8 hours
Which works out to 204 MPH for the trip!

Now two of the three legs had tailwinds.  And one of those were epic tailwinds.

But still, not bad. Not bad at all.

I’m glad we did this trip when we did and before paint and interior. Because we discovered a couple things.

1) That my nose oil cooler NACA diverter doesn’t work… at all. The Chicago-Nashville trip was COLD!

2) We have to come up with some in flight storage solutions.

Experimental is the name of the game.

So this happened.

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series 99 - Non-Build Topic

Back in the beginning of March 2018, I was tracking down an annoying oil leak that I determined was from a crack in the oil pan. I removed the oil pan, had it welded and reinstalled.  I was going to do a quick flight around the pattern and then see if the leak was fixed.

On landing after the flight, I picked up a shimmy in the nose wheel. This had happened once back in November or 2017.  I did NOT like it.  I had checked the breakaway tension on the fork and it was slightly low, but within specs.  I inspected the fork and nose strut for any indication of cracks and found none.

I called Scott Swing and discussed the situation.  I was already planning on going down to Sebastian to get main gear booties installed so I decided to go ahead and get a shimmy damper while I was there.

During the first week of December, I spent two days in Sebastian installing main gear booties while Scott installed the shimmy damper.  I can’t tell you how much easier it is to taxi with the shimmy damper!

So I figured my shimmy days were behind me.

Which is why that shimmy on the landing caught me off guard. I immediately pulled the nose off.  Then decided to go around. So I added power, and went around. I thought that maybe I came in too fast.

I considered raising the gear, but I had no idea where the nose gear was pointing.  I knew if it was within about 45 degrees of straight ahead that the nose gear guides would straighten it out. But if it was farther out that 45 degrees, the nose fork could do some damage when retracting.  And even worse, might not be able to extend.  So I left it down.

Came around for the second attempt. As soon as the nose gear touched down, the shimmy returned. And once again, I pulled the nose off. I briefly considered going around again, but decided that wouldn’t accomplish anything. So I planned on holding it off as long as possible.

I thought that I had the nose back on the ground although I didn’t feel it. But a glance at the airspeed showed about 50kts.  So I must have greased the nose down.  But as soon as I touched the brakes, the nose hit the runway.

Training is an amazing thing.

Without even realizing it, while I was sliding down the runway, I pulled the mixture.  I have absolutely no memory of doing that but once I viewed the video, I saw it. The engine, however, continued to run (but just barely).  I eventually realized that the boost pump was still on.

My theory at the time was that the shimmy somehow caused the nose gear to retract.


Because I’m at a very small airport and it was about 7am, the place was deserted. I ran over to the airport office (My plane was blocking the runway) and got the airport maintenance guy.  We grabbed the engine hoist that I used when pulling the oil pan, hooked up to the back of his truck and went out to retrieve my plane.

Now at this point, I was thinking that all I needed to do was raise up the nose, and pull the gear down, slide in the overcenter pin and we could tow it back to the hangar. But I’ve got a hidden latch that has to be accessed from the nose gear opening. Which I couldn’t do because it was sitting on its nose.

So we put a sling around the nose and hoisted it up enough to unlatch the nose hatch. When I opened the hatch, I was dumbfounded. THE NOSE GEAR WASN’T THERE!

The nose compartment was empty!  I also noticed a spot on the leading edge of the left wing where the paint and filler were missing. I guessed that during the shimmy, the nose gear departed, flew off to the left, impacted the leading edge and then continued on.

But we had to get the airplane off the runway. So we took 2×4 and wedged it in the nose compartment, wrapped a strap around it and lifted up the nose. Then I sat on the tailgate to keep the plane somewhat stable while he drove to my hangar. About 15 minutes after the nose began scraping along runway 36, the plane was back in the hangar.

Then we drove out to find the nose gear. I found it on in the grass on the left side of the runway about 500’ from the end of the runway.

Let’s go to the tape: Video.

I couldn’t identify anything out of the ordinary in the landing (other than the shimmy). But on the second landing attempt, I believe that I can hear the “BANG” when the nose strut broke off. Definitely not something I enjoy watching.

I called Scott and discussed the “event”. The strut sheared off right at the bottom of the gusset.  My plane has an older style “Taco” gusset. It’s a piece of steel that is folded over on either side of the strut.  The current struts use a much longer, solid gusset. The best guess is that when the first shimmy occurred, an unseen stress fracture was created. It’s possible that the fracture caused the shimmy.  Or the shimmy could have been caused by an out of balance nose wheel which then weakened the strut enough that it broke. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure. What I do know is Velocity changed from the old Taco Gusset struts to the new style for a reason.


The nose strut was broke just below the gusset. I checked the strut thoroughly and could not see anything which provided any clues as to what causes the shimmy or what caused the break.



The bracket which holds the pin for the shimmy damper was broken. But that either happened from the shimmy or impact after the strut broke away.  It was not like that before the flight.


The bottom of the nose was depressing.  I had gotten the plane painted less than a year ago! The bottom was flat as a pancake. The outlet for the oil cooler was ground down flush. The rear arm of the left gear door broken, but the canard bulkhead was undamaged and there was no structural damage.


The left door had a broken hinge arm that would have to be replaced.


There was also some damage to the top of the cowl at the prop opening and to the spinner.  When the nose dropped after the gear departed, the back of the plane (and engine) were moving up.  When the nose hit and stopped its downward motion, the engine continued up a bit. The inertia of the prop moving up and forward caused the spinner to make contact with the cowling.


The leading edge of the left wing took some damage from where the nose gear hit. All things considered, this is much better than had it gone straight back and hit the prop.


Time to get busy:

I pulled the canard, nose gear doors and nose strut that day.  Scott had a new strut gear door hinge arm and shimmy damper pin bracket on the way up that afternoon. I held off repairing any fiberglass until I had the new nose gear hardware in. I also left the gear pivot brackets alone hoping that the new nose strut would drop right.

Once the new nose strut arrived I compared it to the one I have.



The new style has a single layer gusset and it’s a LOT longer.  It will require opening up the slot in the canard bulkhead to accommodate it.


The first challenges… 1) The top of the new strut would not align with the captivator plate. And 2) when retracted, the fork was offset enough that it was rubbing on one of the guides.  I talked to Scott about options.  He said that I could grind one side of the captivator plate to get it to fit.  Then I could send the strut back down and he could put it in a fixture and bend it so the fork would fit between the two guides.  In the end we decided that the correct fix was to remove the pivot brackets and re-mount them.

I pulled the plates, used a soldering iron to heat up the bushings and got those out. Then it was like I was back in Sebastian a couple days after I bought the kit when I was installing the nose gear for the first time.  After a while (a long while), I got the nose gear exactly where I wanted it.  Got everything reassembled and did numerous gear cycles to make sure.

I took the nose fork to a local welding shop and they used dye penetrant to check for any cracks that may have resulted from its trip after leaving the airplane.

IMG_20180329_151911 IMG_20180329_151856 IMG_20180329_151905 IMG_20180329_151920


No apparent cracks.

Now it was time to get started on the cosmetic work. I thought about adding a bunch of micro to the bottom of the nose to recreate the curve but in the end I decided that since it’s on the bottom, nobody would ever see it anyway.  And even if they did, it could be hard to tell. So I got the grinder out and removed the finish around the area to give the fiberglass something to bond to.

The oil cooler outlet needed to be recreated.  Malcolm did a real good job of creating that.  So good that the nose oil cooler alone can keep the oil temps down to 140F without a vernatherm. I tried my best to recreate that outlet.

Once that was done, I smeared micro over the exposed foam and covered the area with multiple layers of fiberglass.

IMG_20180328_093742 IMG_20180328_093811

The leading edge on the left wing only suffered superficial damage.  Basically, the filler get knocked off. So that would wait until it was time for the filling task.  The gear doors required a lot of work as well.  The edge where the doors meet was completely gone. So I had to recreate that part of the door.  And the rear hinge arm was gone on the left door so that had to be reinstalled.  I probably spent more time rebuilding the doors than any other part of the repair.

When doing the filler before, the plane was upside down.  So I would be doing this laying on my back.  This was a PAIN!  And it was HOT!  Fortunately, I still had my Hutchins Hustler.  So the sanding phase was quick.  The absolute worst part was the airport is an hour from the house. So I would drive out, sand the filler, figure out where more was needed, spread the filler, then I was done. Total time are the airport was about 90 minutes with two hours driving time.


The leading edge of the wing and the cowling was a walk in the park by comparison.  The spinner was a whole different story.  It’s made of kevlar. So you really can’t sand it because it just fuzzes up. Fortunately, I know Malcolm. And he knows just about everything about composites. Turns out, the fix is super glue. Sorry, isocyanate adhesive. 😉  Once you get the area sanded about where you want it, you cover the area with the glue. After it cures, you do a final sanding and then apply the epoxy and fiberglass. I used a very lightweight veil since I didn’t want to impact the balance too much.

IMG_20180328_143135 IMG_20180328_143143

After a few days of this, I was ready to prime.

At this point, since the canard was out, I made some modifications.  First was to put in bellows around the rudder pedal push rods.  Then I made some baffles around the nose gear pivot.  These mods were to block air from entering the cabin to help keep it warm in the winter. You can read about those here.

The last improvement/modification I made was to install at anti-slop block where the control stick attaches to the aileron torque tube.

As I was getting ready to reinstall the canard, I noticed the copilot elevator had some slop between the elevator and the torque tube.  Turns out that while the insert that the torque tube plate attaches to was countersunk, it wasn’t countersunk enough. That was allowing a little play between the two. The fix was to countersink the insert just a bit more.


Fortunately, I still have some Akzo-Nobel gray and white primer left. So once I had the areas primed in white, it wasn’t too noticeable.


Now it’s time for paint.  I asked Scott about bringing it down there, but scheduling was a challenge and it was going to be kind of pricey.  The shop on the field put me in touch with the guy who used to paint for Gulf Coast Helicopters. The only downside is that there was a bunch of overspray.  So I have a bunch of cleanup and buffing work to do.

In 2006 I had the nose gear on my 182RG collapse after landing in Greensboro, NC.  That incident cost about $60,000 to repair. Around $35,000 of that was engine teardown and a new prop. The rest was replacing/repairing everything else that got damaged. When all was said and done, this “incident” ended up costing me about $1,000 ($550 for a new nose gear parts and about $450 for painting). I spent quite a few hours making repairs, but that doesn’t count… because it’s working on the plane.

Post repair test flights indicate that I must have gotten the nose oil cooler outlet shape right because it’s keeping the oil cool all by itself.

What’s the takeaway?

If you have the old style taco gusset, maybe consider proactively replacing it.  I know there are still many out there, so I can’t say that this is a necessity. Inspecting the nose gear leg doesn’t seem very useful. After the shimmy in November, I looked at the gear leg carefully.  As did Scott. But nothing was found to indicate a problem. So I’m not sure there’s a good lesson to be learned other than when the nose hits the runway, GET ON THE BRAKES… HARD!  Had I done that, I think the damage to the nose would have be much less.