It’s been a while since I’ve been in Falco mode. In fact the plane has been stored for over a year. Recently I’ve started a slow job of getting back in the air. There’s a few jobs I need to do first.
On inspecting the inner gear doors I can see that a fairly recent tire change has meant the inner doors no longer close properly. So I’ve had to re-profile the inner section in order to make room for the newer, better tyres. At time of writing I’m about half way through this. OK, maybe ⅓ in.
Also, it’s time for ADS-B. The government has announced a generous rebate for the install and I don’t want to miss out. I’ve purchased a Stratus ESG and I’m in the process of installing it.
I’m also redesigning the panel. I consider the carbon panel only semi successful so the new one will be back to aluminium. While I’m at it I’ll redesign the gear system annunciator and control board. My system is different in that I include a latching relay which solves the problem of circuit breakers popping when you pull G and unseat the nose gear. Some guys use a gear switch with an off position. One guy is almost religious with this and says Boeing use them all the time. Well I’ve flown those planes and it’s no excuse. It’s one way of doing things but I like my way better.
Early in the redesign.
The circuit board has been redesigned and is current in the mail from the manufacturer.
All in all, reasonable progress. The engine worries me though. I’ll address that in a month or two.
Today I received my very first airspace waiver to cover the test flying of the aeroplane. A huge.. I mean HUGE step forward and a weight off my mind. OK I’m not appoved for everything but I have at least proved the system works and that I understand it.
Also.. I was struggling how to pack the engine for shipping. Bryn took one look and told me the best way, which now seems bloody obvious but I didn’t see it. Another weight off my mind.
The annual is all done so now the plane nervously awaits its dismantling.
Shipping is sorted through Tauranga.. avoid the Auckland mess !
Carnet applied for
its getting down to the business end.
For the rest of the blogs I am moving to a different system. It will make life a lot easier since the new method is available from my iPad or iPhone.
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So after much toing and froing I think we’ve settled on a Carnet being sufficient so last week I applied for one..
So I wait and see (Nervous bit part 1)
But by far the most uncertainty so far is today being the day to apply for my first international waiver. I logged in, made an account and entered all the details in. Robert Baker of EAA chapter 92 graciously allowed be to use him as the contact person so I have entered everything for processing.
Now I VERY NERVOUSLY await a reply.
Fingers crossed !
Man what a week !! I thought I had pretty much everything sorted. So this week I started down the track of organising the ATA Carnet.
In the process I needed to get the contact details of the agent in the USA so I contacted my shipper (new one now since the original one was not particularly helpful) and he said they don’t usually accept a Carnet in the USA. Added to this.. the bank won’t secure enough deposit since our house is worth too much !! (WTF?).
As I look further into this it looks like the way to do it is with a TIB (temporary import bond) in the USA. It will work out better since the bond will only be for a shorter time period but it needs confirming.
So now I wait to hear from the shipper.
All this was brought about by the first shipper who, now it seems, didn’t know what he was doing and wasnt really interested.
I’ll be glad to get through this bit. The clock is ticking.
Before and After
Last year some time I was looking over the possible tracks and realised we would be operating out of some very high airfields. This coupled with high temperatures meant that some density altitudes would be up over 9000 feet. I haven’t operated anything like this so it would be new territory for me.
While pondering this it became apparent that weight would be a concern. At the very least, something would have to go. Fuel is one option. We could shorten the legs but they were already pretty short so I didn’t really want to reduce fuel more than necessary.
The best option by far was to reduce the weight of the pilot. When I considered this I was 97 kg. I had over the years slowly gained weight and I really wasn’t keen to cross the 100kg boundry so I decided to make the effort to get rid of some unwanted load.
As of this writing I have shed 12kg and I’m at my goal weight. Its healthier, I feel great and now I have room for an extra half hour fuel.
It makes people laugh when I tell them why I lost weight but hey.. who cares.. its a win-win for me and I actually found it quite easy. Its funny what you can do when you put your mind to it !
So today I learnt that I need to protect 48-50 days prior to the aeroplane’s arrival in USA.
What that means is that I now have a date. 12th April 2012 ZK-SMR needs to be inside a container and hitting the road for the US of A !
Now I can put dates on all those todo’s and start getting the ball rolling.
Today I had a bit of a win with money conversion.
Air New Zealand recently came out with a frequent flyer card called the onesmart card. Its really good and has some fantastic features.
On the face of it, it looks like a mastercard. In fact it is to a degree. Its actually a debit card. While you can do lots of fancy things with airpoints etc the one that was REALLY good for me it the fact that you can have your funds in different ‘wallets’ in different funds. So today, while the exchange rate for the USD is very favourable, I converted all the money I’m going to need to ship this thing, into US dollars at a great rate. Its saved me a considerable amount of money. Thanks AirNZ ! What a great thing !
I think I now have a handle on what the TSA requires. I finally found a NOTAM that applies. The FAA system for this isn’t great. NOTAMS in this area seem to get superceded all the time with no real trace if which ones have. I was trying to find an old NOTAM mentioned on the TSA and FAA website that had been deleted despite the reference stil existing. It seems they are about 4 or 5 updates further on but havent changed their references. Added to this, it seems not many US pilots understand this part of their own rules. I guess it isn’t suprising but its funny how many said the don’t read this “crap”. It might bite them one day!
Anyhow, while the end result isn’t quite how I would like it, I think I should now be ble to get it to work well enough. It just means I’m going to need to have my flight plans organised well in advance. Not ideal for VFR but that will have to do. I’m sure Derwood and I can make it work.
With the new year starting the whole project has taken on a new air of urgency for me. I know there are a few things I need to wait just a little bit longer for but over the next few months it will start to ramp up.
This month so far has seen both successes and confusion.
1) I finally managed to get hold of the right people at EAA Chapter 92 in Chino so I could book some hangar space. Its meant that I really needed to start now which was a bit more expense than I wanted but at least the way I can be sure that I have something. Ironically Vicki managed to find some other possible backstops but now this is a go so I can check off Hangar space. It is a bit of a problem in that I can’t store my packing material there so I still may swap around once I’m there.. we’ll see.
2) I applied for, and got my US Visa which is a requirement for flying in the USA. Not really a big issue but its done at least.. check it off.
The TSA and their airspace waiver programme continue to be a source of angst. Trying to get a reply from them, let alone information is like getting blood from stone. The EAA seem to think (while not being certain) that I don’t actually need the airspace waiver and point to an old outdated NOTAM. Unfortunately the old NOTAM seems to have been removed from references so I can’t read it for myself.
Oh well.. everyone has been very friendly and hasn’t minded my stupid questions thus far.
Other progress: I have some more plywood so I’m off to go and start some container packaging.
Other causes of angst: The Auckland warfies labour dispute continues. Hopefully I won’t need to take the whole game to Tauranga.
What was I thinking !