Sunday, June 24, 2007

35 squawks and counting

Well, the early days of N42PE have been marked by lots and lots of small problems. Enough that I had to start keeping a detailed list, lest I forget them all.

You RV owners can click the photo and read the whole list if you're curious.

Out of all those, there have been five problems that have been more significant.

#1: Super-high fuel flow. The first time I flew the airplane, the EMS started beeping as soon as I leveled off in cruise -- Hmm, 20 gallons per hour...that's either an incorrect reading or there's 10 gallons an hour dumping into the cowl somewhere. I turned back to the airport, but then noticed I forgot to turn off the fuel pump. That dropped it down to 10 gph. Once back on the ground, a quick web search told me that apparently the Facet boost pump can send pulses through the sender that confuses it.

#2: Cowl hinges breaking off. After only a few flights, the cowl attach hinges started shedding eyelets at the bottom near the exhaust. Apparently this is a common problem, but so soon? That whole area was vibrating like crazy...I've since dropped the exhaust pipes down a lot so hopefully it will get better.

#3 Electronic ignition gets confused at engine start. I've had the prop off several times now trying to debug this -- right after engine start, the indicated RPM drops to half of what it should be, and the electronic ignition is clearly only firing on two cylinders. But then it goes away within a minute. It's nice that I've got a backup magneto, but I thought this electronic ignition was supposed to be MORE reliable than a magneto...

I've been on the phone with Klaus at Lightspeed multiple times but the debugging is going slow and hard.

#4 Gear shimmy. Initially I think just the nosewheel would shimmy on landing, now I think all three wheels are doing it. I've checked all the parameters on the nosewheel and it's all set to spec, although it is still not rotating very freely as Van's promised it would. There are many ways I can go to try to fix this, but so far all I've done is played around with tire pressures, to no avail.

#5 High fuel pressure. This only showed up once, but high fuel pressure is bad because it can flood the carb -> fire or engine-out. I think it only happened with the boost pump on, so I can turn it off if it happens again.

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