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Mike Koerner

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  • Location
    Palos Verdes, CA
  • Interests
    flying, soaring, sailing, climbing
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Mike Koerner's Achievements

  1. I don't know that I would call this an issue really, but I got a notification today that I had been a member for 1 year. It has actually been a lot longer than that, going back to the previous forum which had a slightly different spelling of its name and was run by a different Roger (up in Oregon). I haven't changed my email or name since then so I assume it's the web site sever that is just 1 year old. Thanks for keeping the site going anyway.
  2. I had a sight tube fuel leak very recently which resulted in some surprising observations. At first the cockpit just smelled of fuel. I noticed wetness on the left wing sight tube and tightened the upper clamp. I thought I had solved the problem. Later I filled the plane with fuel for a flight the next day. The next morning fuel was dripping out the junction between the right wing and fuselage. When I pulled the tape off that side a whole mess of fuel, which had been dammed up behind the tape, came pouring out. And yet, the sight tube and fuel fittings on the right wing seemed dry. I thought I had a serious problem. I drained both fuel tanks and pulled the right wing. I then refilled the right wing and was stupefied to find that it was not leaking at all. I scratched my head for hours then came back the next day and refilled the left wing with fuel. The left wing sight tube had a substantial crack on its hidden outboard side, at or near the lower edge of the upper hose clamp. Fuel was pouring out, running along the bottom of the well-taped left wing root, then crossing the fuselage in the wing box and leaking out the right side. Apparently, the tape on the right wing root had not been quite as fuel-tight as that on the left, which had shown no evidence of leakage. Surprising observations: 1) Fuel leaking from left wing sight tube did not pour directly into the cockpit but instead ran back along the wing root toward the lowest point near the spar. 2) The wing root tape on the left side formed an effective (though surely temporary) fuel dam, preventing any visible leakage on that side. 3) The wing box above the cockpit is fuel tight and provided a conduit for fuel that had leaked into the left wing to cross over to the right side.
  3. The issue with the Ducati is not the heat it's exposed to, but rather the heat it generates... almost 3 times that of the Silent Hektik. Of those 60K Ducati Regulators, I would hazard to guess that many have failed. One was mine.
  4. I tried to land with a touch of power once. Remember I have a longer wing than most of you and my prop was set pretty course at the time (before they told us we shouldn't do that). Anyway, with about 500 feet of runway left I decided I better go-around. The tower controller was a bit irritated. I had been cleared to land. This was at Camarillo, a busy airport with a 7,700 foot runway. I think I could've gotten it down in a couple more miles. 🙂
  5. Jim,. Did you have a problem with the Silent Hektik?
  6. Yeah, the gauge is a hassle. You have to zero it on the hub and then make the blade angle measurements relative to that zero. But after a few minutes it assumes your done and deletes the zero reference. But you’re probably going to need more time because you have to tighten the blades enough so they don’t rotate accidentally when you’re making the measurement, but still have them loose enough so you can make tiny angle adjustments as needed. Also, after you get the angle just right and start tightening down the bolts, that process changes the angle slightly. So, once you see which way its moving and how much, you have to readjust the angle factoring in the expected change. Finally, in my case, the initial recommended pitch was too flat, so after a flight test I had to reset it. Fortunately, I was able to converge on a good setting the second try. All in all, it’s not unusually difficult... as aircraft maintenance goes.
  7. Corey, As you may recall, Chanik explained this to us back in 2013: Basically, his testing showed that the original Ducati regulator is a POS. It does a poor job of regulating voltage and is extremely inefficient, meaning provides less electrical power than it should while generating a great deal of internal heat, which reduces its MTBF (average life span). The best solution is not additional external cooling, it is to replace the Ducati with a decent regulator. He recommended Silent Helix which has the additional advantage of regulating at 14 volts which allows it to fully charge a LiFePo battery. Other properly designed regulators may also be available now.
  8. Jeff, I can get it all the way in the back, but it's heavier than it needs to be. I got carried away. If you need to go 40 miles you're doing it wrong. I suggest getting one that's lighter.
  9. Cory, This is a photo I took of a composite sailplane that burned down in a fire in Barstow in July of '87. Lots of planes in the hangar to the right burned up. They thought they had saved this one by pulling it out of the hangar. but it had already caught fire and it continued to burn until all that was left was this cruciform on the concrete. Remains of glider after fire in Barstow, CA.bmp
  10. Jeff, I don’t think the strength of the area behind the curtain is an issue when carrying baggage (within the 110 pound limit) that extends partially into this area. But loads can be greatly magnified by impacts. That, and the potential for a cg shift, is why we need to tie things down securely. What I should have also mentioned is that even with the load tied down, vibration will still cause fretting (rubbing, grinding) at points of contact. This can do great damage. Composites are particularly susceptible as their surface hardness is low (even less than aluminum). So we need to pad areas of contact. A cloth rag doubled over will work fine. My electric scooter weighs about 70 lbs. I can’t stand it up on its wheels in the back, so it ends up with just a couple hard points of contact. I pad those points before tying it down securely.
  11. Wait. Doesn't the EarthX battery management system also prevent excessive discharge rates? Would that provide protection from a short between the dangling positive lead and the plane's skin? This leads to another question: How do I handle a dead or dying EarthX battery when I'm on the road? There are two scenarios I'm worried about. In the first, the battery has reached is useful life and needs replacement, but I don't know it because I live in warm and sunny Southern California. I don't notice the battery's wanning condition until I arrive in Outer-Mongolia (or actually, the next morning when I try to depart) where its cold and now my marginal battery can't cut it. Earth-X (and I love this battery otherwise) says not to jump it. So, do I need to carry the charger and a very long extension cord and hope I can find a friendly native with a place to plug it in? Alternately, I can carry a spare Earth-X battery that is fully charged (they hold their charge for years) and switch the battery out on the flight line. This is an expensive approach to be sure. In the second scenario I accidentally leave the master switch ON. This has happened 3 times: twice when I was working on the plane in the hangar (so no real problem, I just recharged the battery with its charger) and once out on the road when I was distracted by a linesman as I was shutting down (there was still sufficient power for a start when I discovered the problem the next morning). In this second scenario, depending on how long the plane is parked, I may have a completely dead battery. Again, it seems like I need to carry a spare battery or a charger.
  12. Towner, I don’t know what model CT you have (it would help if posters added their aircraft year and model to their signature line) and I’ve never played golf, but I’m positive I can get a couple of full golf bags in my baggage area. In fact, I have put much longer and heavier stuff back there. Things that are long and narrow, like snow skis, can go in through the side baggage door. The back of my baggage compartment has a Velcroed-in divider to keep cargo out of the tail. I open up a corner of this divider so the skis can extend partly into the tail. There are tie-down eyes on the floor of my baggage compartment. I use these and a nylon line to prevent items from moving around in flight and specifically to keep long items from sliding back into the tail. (This last point is critically important. Years ago, flying in around in a borrowed 172, I came upon a burning aircraft wreck. I landed in the farm field next to it and jumped out to help. I was first on the scene, but they were way beyond help. The NTSB report said they were on their way back from Mammoth. They had put their skis in the back of the plane, and then apparently did some aerobatic maneuvers, just for fun. The skis slid all the way back in tail. The ensuing spin was not recoverable.) For fatter long items, that are too wide to go in from the side, I insert them from the front. To do this I take the passenger seat out, remove the clipped in fabric cover behind the seat, and slide them in from the from the cockpit. I have gotten absolutely huge items in this way, again allowing them to extend past the divider into the tail, and always tying them down securely. Of course, you need to check weight & balance. My baggage compartment can hold 110 lbs. at that load I’m within cg and max gross at any fuel level. Since some of these long items have extended aft of the baggage compartment, I also check to ensure that the center of gravity of the added item (with the heaviest end forward) is not aft of the middle of the baggage compartment. If it is, then you need to measure the distance from the installed cg of the item to the aircraft’s datum and calculate the weight and balance with this added moment. Glenn, I’m 700 hours and 6 years beyond the maximum TBO extension Rotax will allow for my engine serial number. It runs great: compressions great, powerful as ever, fuel efficient as ever. If you’re not renting the plane out, and the engine is running fine, it would be a crying shame to replace it. Tevbak, With respect to your question about what I wish I knew; when I first got the plane I established a “maintenance savings account” at my bank adding $20 per flight hour for future maintenance expenses like annuals, repairs and engine overhaul. That was stupid. No way my maintenance has cost that much. I closed that account a long time ago.
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