Would someone be kind enough to share with me a weight and balance spreadsheet for my 2008 CTLS that I can use on the iMac with all the proper arms. I'm having difficulties finding this information for pilot, baggage, etc. POH doesn't help. Thanks!
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I've been able to manually raise the flaps past the -6 position using the flap switch. There is no indication on the flap viewing screen of any flap position when I do this. Anyone familiar with this? Could this be a -12 position? I don't seem to gain much speed doing this, maybe a knot or two. Any safety issues involved? Thanks for any help...
I hope someone actually affiliated with Flight Design reads this blog. I'm a member in an active flying club that collectively owns a CTLS. With seven to ten members at any given time, our (only) plane gets a lot of use, and as several are receiving primary flight training it sometimes gets a little rough and things get broken. We have had our plane down three times over the last two years, for at least four weeks at a time, with the vast majority of that time spent waiting on parts to arrive from someplace in Europe! We have currently been down five weeks, with an expectation of three more, waiting on something as simple as a motor mount! The last incident involved over four weeks to get a wheel assembly. My point is, FD is allegedly a leader in the LSA market... they make a fine product and I love to fly their airplane. You would think that they would therefore expend some resources to support what must surely be a large portion of their market... by stocking an adequate line of parts for their aircraft here in the US.
To the best of my recollection of the facts, the events leading up to the ending of my flight in a corn field began with our flight from Chicago’s Waukegan Airport (UGN) to the St’ Louis area on July 4, 2013 for a family reunion. We landed with about 18 gallons of fuel remaining. That would be just barely enough to get home, about 2-1/2 hours depending upon the wind.
During the reunion one of our nephews indicated that he had a 6 gallon fuel can we could use to add auto fuel to our tanks for the trip home so on the 6th,a Saturday, my professional pilot son and I picked up gas at a local gas station to fuel the plane. The can looked to be old so in order to prevent any contamination from getting into the tank my son used a coffee filter over the end of the filler tube as he poured the fuel in the tank. I noticed that he had a little trouble keeping the filter in position as he manhandled the 36 lb. gas can on top of the wing.
The next day, at about 9am, we prepared to fly home. The reunion had gone very well with extremely mild temperatures and humidity for that time of the year in St. Louis.
As a part of the preflight I drained about three times as much fuel than I normally do just to see if any contamination had gotten through to the sump, an indication that I was concerned a little about the fuel we had added.
As we departed the St. Louis area we picked up flight watch who cleared us to climb and maintain 5500 feet, our planned cruising altitude. At that altitude the temperature was 65oF and the winds were 6 to 10 knots from 240o to 260o.
At about 1:45 into the flight we were nearing the O’Hare Class B space. We had been cruising at 5300 RPMs so as I pitched the plane down I retarded the throttle slightly to keep the RPMs at 5300 as we descended at about 500 ft/min. The temperature was still 65oF. At 4700 feet the engine sputtered twice then stopped, the Dynon panel flashed “zero fuel pressure” and the engine light started flashing. I had just switched over to a Chicago Center frequency and notified the controller of our situation.
We were out of gliding distance to Aurora (another 5 minutes we would have been right over the airport). I reported I could see the Aurora airport but had determined I couldn’t make it. He gave me a heading of 260o to try to make the Sandwich Airport, a private airport with a 3000 foot runway but it was South and West of the city which would have put me over the city itself at a very low altitude. The engine had quit just east of the city of Plano.
I had trimmed for 70 kts. and once I determined I could not make Sandwich either I started looking for a place to land. We had been using ForeFlight on our iPad and I noticed a private grass 2600 foot strip to the NorthWest of our position so I changed from a 260 heading to one of 340. As we passed through 3000 feet I had tried restarting the engine 5 different times. The first two times I got just a short burst of power but nothing at each of the next tries.
By the time I turned to GORD, the private strip, we were under 2000 feet (about 1000 feet AGL) and I could see we couldn’t make that either. My wife pointed out a country road just ahead but I could see trees hanging over the North sides of the road and power lines running along the South edge. By this time there was no other choice but to head for the cornfield that had stalks that looked like they were 6 to 7 feet high, better than the next field with what looked like low shrubs or crops of some kind. We hit the stalks nose high and tore up about no more than 30 feet of corn, caught something at the end and swerved hard to the right before coming to a stop. I shut everything down, checked my wife to see if she was ok and we climbed out her side of the plane. When she got out she looked up and there was a low wing single engine plane circling above us, obviously someone who had been alerted to our situation by Chicago Center.
I called 911 and the operator said that they had already been alerted and that help was on the way, to stay with the plane. We were so far into the corn field that you could not see the plane from the road, but several minutes later we heard someone, who was being directed by the plane still circling above us, call out “I see the tail”. We were taken to the local hospital and cleared to go home. The plane was totaled.
On refection, it is interesting that I never considered using the parachute or applying carb heat. In my 7000+ hrs. of flying, mostly in low wing fuel injected planes, I never had a parachute and obviously no carb heat. I had read that under the parachute you would be descending about 1,000 ft/min. When I looked at the panel just before landing it was varying between 150 ft/min and 300 ft/min. I will take that anytime.
The CT has carb heat but during the 650 hours of flying the plane in all kinds of temperature and humidity conditions I never once used it and was told that it was not really needed, by people who were familiar with the plane and engine and should know. Plus, the minute the engine quit my mind told me it was fuel contamination and I never went beyond that conclusion.
When the FAA and NTSB went to examine the plane three days later, they loaded it on to a flat bed and started the engine. It fired right up!!! They also checked all the fuel lines, screens, carb bowls, etc. and could find no contamination. Their official determination of the cause of the crash was, therefore, carb ice.
According to Phil Lockwood, “if it had been carb ice, planes would be falling out of the sky every day”. According to Tom Gutmann of Airtime Aviation, the fact that the Dynon displayed “zero fuel pressure” indicated that it couldn’t have been carb ice. And the questions remained, could carb ice block both carbs at the same time and why the zero fuel pressure warning?
So if we rule carb ice out, what could it have been? Is it possible that there was enough contamination to shut everything down and then dissolve/disappear in three days? A new thought turned up when a friend mentioned the possibility of vapor lock. His thought was that because of the fuel pressure of auto gas it should never be used at high altitude. Vapor lock would explain why the engine could not be restarted while it was still hot but would start after it cooled down. But 5500 feet is not that high and the failure started when I started to descend.
I would be interested in hearing from anyone familiar with this plane who could come up with a reasonable explanation of what could have caused this engine failure. As a little bit more information, I did have all the hoses changed in the engine compartment according to the Rotax recommendations 22 flight hours before this happened. Otherwise there were no unusual happenings.
Niels, that's rugged country. Not someplace you'd want to have engine problems!
Source: Australian Bush Airstrip
You are so right, there some engines installed in some aircraft types I would not attempt this type of flying.
You can play it safe, as some would advocate and fly IFR (I follow roads) and take your chances landing on a highway in case of problems.
Rotax has proved itself as a reliable engine provided you feed it oil and Avgas, Mogas if you like, and the recommended engine service provide your best
insurance that there are minimum problems.
What to look for in a good Mechanic and How do I know if I already have a good one?
This can be a dynamic topic, but there are certainly some markers to look for in finding yourself a good mechanic that you can really trust to keep you in the air, safe and happy. You say you already have a mechanic; well the same properties in looking for a mechanic apply to knowing if you have a good one. Let’s take a look at what traits might make up a good mechanic and what you can do to find one.
Let’s talk about looking for a good mechanic first. Just like in all professions you have marginal professionals and top of the line. Here are a few items to look for when trying to determine if a certain mechanic is right for you.
Questions for them and to yourself before selecting this mechanic.
(You may want to add a few extra qualifications on your own. These aren’t all inclusive)
1. Does he come recommended by other people?
2. Do you hear from others that he does a good job?
3. Does he have experience in your type aircraft?
4. Do you hear their name brought up favorably in conversations?
5. When you talk to them are they friendly and helpful before he wants to take your money?
6. Ask them if they have the SB’s and all the manuals for your engine and fuselage on site?
7. How many aircraft like yours has he worked on or inspected?
8. Are they willing to show you the issues they found and answer your questions knowledgably about your plane while in their shop?
9. What’s his philosophy regarding regular and preventive maintenance?
10. Is he an arrogant mechanic or open minded to your ideas, suggestions, concerns and will he research problems?
11 Do they use inspection check list, discrepancy list and do good detailed logbook label entries? (possibly ask to see a couple of his labels and check list)
12. Does he document well? It’s for your benefit as well as his and he should know that.
13. Does he give you copies of the maintenance check list or other documents for your personal file? This should be an absolute in case you need it for the FAA, insurance and the re-sale of your plane. You’re paying for the work, get it the way you want it not him.
14. Does he seem to have the proper tools and education for your particular plane?
15. Last, but not least and this item is not a real marker of the mechanic’s professionalism, but should be kept in the back of your mind. What do they charge? If the price sounds too good to be true then there may be a reason and you may get what you paid for. They may not be able to get much business from failings of the above items and try to low ball prices to drum up more business. Someone in a higher demand or better educated usually gets a little more money. Now I know this is not always true that’s why this is last and only something to consider while looking for a mechanic that you will get along with and do a good job for you.
A good mechanic will have a large portion and maybe if you’re lucky all these traits above.
The mechanic’s motto should be: I know there is something wrong with your plane (major or minor) and I’m going to find that for you to keep you safe. Due to a plane’s wear and tear, loosening of attachment items or just sitting for extended periods things change on a plane and it’s your mechanics job to find these. He needs to be a skilled hunter of problems and an organized repairman for these items.
You say you already have a mechanic then you should be able to use these questions to determine if he is good for you. If there are some areas above that you wish your mechanic would do better then sit down with them and explain that you would like these items addressed better in the future. You are paying these people good money and if they aren’t living up to your expectations then there is nothing wrong with asking them to work on your plane a little different.
In many aspects of our life we have choices as to the way we want things, but when we go to a Doctor, a Lawyer or a Mechanic we accept or expect them to tell us what we need or want.
WRONG, we should exercise the same options with these professionals and they should be receptive to our needs and you should fully expect help, understanding, your options given and consideration to your own input. You should expect a 100% job and not 50% at a fair price for the service you receive. That said if you go cheap sometime that’s all you get. Getting a good professional is not always the cheapest fare in town, but doesn’t have to be the most expensive either. Just like buying a new TV or car, shop around and get something that is quality, will last and serve you well.
This was a long story and maybe I should have started it “Once upon a time”, but I hope this helps someone in having a good sound relationship with their mechanic.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY FRIENDS HERE ON OUR FORUM!
If you have a good one don't forget to give them a hug!