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Q-talk 148 - Sanjay's Latest Flights

by Sanjay Dhall

Sanjay Getting Ready!

[Editor’s Note: As of this writing Sanjay Dhall has completed 14 flights in his Q-200. Sanjay is doing a great job learning about his airplane, but he's also doing a great job of documenting his exploits and learning experiences on the Q-list. Let's encourage him to continue making these reports! I will continue to reprint them here for posterity!]

Flight #4 – Tuesday June 28th, 2011

KYIP - temp 77F - winds 280@11 - Sunny

Did not fly yesterday as it was windy and gusty with significant crosswind.

Today the forecast was for winds from 270-280 at 11knots, then turning gusty later. This wind direction could work for slightly increased difficulty if using runway 27. Checked ATIS before getting started and winds were 280@12 .

My goal today was to do a couple of touch-n-go's at YIP and then depart the airport, and go at least 10miles away from airport. Ann Arbor airport (ARB) is 10nm West and could be a good second airport to do a touch-n-go and then head to a practice area to the North. I would use rwy 26 at ARB.

Taxied, and engine runup and cleared to rwy 27 and now tower announced winds 300 @ 12 . This was getting slightly iffy, but at 12 knots at 30 degree to the right, this could be tough (but manageable?)

Decided to continue. Added right aileron to adjust for winds. Added full power and within 5 seconds the nose dipped (the wing had lifted). Added aft stick, but the plane was not ready to leave ground yet. This was unusual and different from earlier (low wind) conditions. So fearing a prop strike, I added more aft stick and the plane lifted off, then drifted left and wanted to settle down again. This did not look good. I kept the aft stick pressure and it finally gained speed and began climbing out. Once away from ground, it was similar to my earlier experience. Indicated speed about 120, climb rate passed through 500-700-1000-1200. Alt now 1000 agl. So began leveling off to settle into right pattern for a couple of touch-n-go's. Made wide right pattern to get flying time.

Tower now anounced winds 300 @14 gusts 18. I made a very long and what looked to be a stable approach, right canard low, crossed numbers, continued glide. Close to the ground became nervous of having a bounce, and added power a few seconds sooner than I should have. No contact with ground, and climbed out. Drifted left during early climbout. Back for another attempt.

Similar approach, continued glide, wheels touched, and I felt a bounce coming. Added power and climbed out before second contact.

Ann Arbor visit was now not part of the plan, due to significant crosswind (for rwy26, the only hard surface rwy). So I departed the pattern, and headed north. This would give me a break from the stressful, and sweat inducing, touch-n-go's just attempted, and would let me just fly and see the view and be away from the airport even for a short while. Today oil temp was higher at 200f, pressure was the usual 40. Settled rpm around 2200-2300. Puttered around for a few minutes and wandered about 12nm away from field.

Then turned around and wanted to come back to airport for touch-n-go. Winds still 300 @14 with some gusts. Long stable approach and right canard low. Close to the ground, made contact with right wheel first, I think, then the others, then a float and drifted with nose pointing significantly left of centerline and plane heading for left edge of rwy. Added power in a hurry, and climbed out. Went around for an action replay. This is getting tiresome. But as I analyze this, I conclude that for right crosswinds, a fwd slip (rt stick, left rudder) is OK in the air but on the ground right stick induces tail to the right, nose to the left, as does left rudder. So I would need to reduce right stick and add right rudder quickly on contact. On the next go around reduced right stick, reduced left rudder, and came in fairly level, and managed to keep this position all the way to the ground, and finally contact, NO BOUNCE. Now if the tail will settle down, which it did, followed by the pedal dance. Back on terra firma. What an experience. But I learned a lot.

Came back and thought about the entire flight a lot. On the takeoff, where the nose tucked early (wing is flying, but canard is not ready) I am thinking this has to do with the distance from ground. Wing is higher off the ground, while canard is 10-18 inches off the ground. This means that when windy, the air passing over the wings is free air at prevailing wind speed (full lift), while the canard experience slower air closer to ground (less lift). So for next flight I need to experiement with reflexor trim - I plan to add a few notches UP reflexor trim for takeoff in windy conditions.

Total cumulative hobbs time 3.0 hrs 4 flights.

 

Flight #5 – Wednesday June 29th, 2011 - 8 p.m.

KYIP - temp 78F - winds 300@4 - Clear Evening

Today I wanted to overcome my renewed fear of the Q, experiment with Reflexor settings, go away from airport a little, and teach myself to land again!

Tookoff from rwy23L, with 2 notches of up reflexor. It did not hurt any, and reduced the nose tuck tendency slightly. Made big left pattern, calm conditions, checked view, and generally tried to become friends with the Q again.

Added a little down reflexor trim in small increments. Nothing adverse happened - good.

Back to a slight up reflexor on final. Long approach and being afraid of a bounce, barely touched the ground and added power and climbed out. Next landing, long approach, 110 on final turn, slight up reflexor, and just concentrated on meeting the ground level and gracefully, leveled close to ground then waited patiently for contact. No bounce. Added power, and climbed out again. And then did another touch-n-go with similar outcome. I was feeling better now.

So requested departing north for a few minutes. Flew 12-13 miles north, then saw Mettetal airport (EAA113 chapter homebase) to the southeast, and decided to fly over. Some friends below shouted hello on the radio, remarked on the flying Q. Circled and headed back to YIP for more touch-n-gos. Did 2 more landings on 23R, all without bounce, and then the final one on 23L, and no bounce again. Taxied back for fuel and back to hangar. What a pleasant experience this had been.

Total cumulative hobbs time 4.0 hrs 5 flights. Returned home in an upbeat state of mind, not realizing that tragic news of a friend's death in a plane crash nearby awaited...(sorry guys!)

 

Flight #6 & #7 - Rising Oil Temps

During the last 2 flights I logged a total of 1.5 hours, 5.5 hrs cumulative. Flew on July 4 in the a.m., and today July 7 at 7pm. Outside temps have been around 80F. Winds have been 5-7 from east. Takeoffs from 23L (saves taxiing for several miles to get to the other side of the airport.)

Circled the airport a lot, then wandered away for brief excursions. But still don't feel comfortable leaving runways behind!

During these 2 flights I have been experimenting with the effect of reflexor during takeoff and during flight. I have noted that during takeoff using several notches of up reflexor minimizes the nose tuck that I have experienced on earlier flights and makes for a more comfortable takeoff.

During these 2 flights I have been running the engine at lower rpms in the range of 2000-2300 for a good part of level flying. Speeds are not spectacular.

I had recently added a screen in front of the pitot tube to keep bugs outs - I notice that the presence of the screen led to 10-15mph drop in indicated airspeed reading and some oscillation of the gage. I guess the presence of the screen material is inducing some turbulence in the pitot. Now these readings are lower than GPS speed readings. Still calibrating.

But on both these flights, I have been noticing oil temps rising noticeably and continuing to climb. On both occassions when I noted the oil temp move past 215F, I cut short any further flying and have come in to land. These oil temps are beginning to bother me. I have come up with 4 possible causes:

  1. My plenum does not cover the crankcase, only the cylinderheads. So maybe the case may not be staying sufficiently cool?
  2. I still have oil gather in cowl after engine shutdown, coming from carb airbox - leading to a continued reduction of oil. Started with 5.5 quarts 2-3 weeks ago. Now down to 5.1 - 5.2 quarts. Reduced quantity of oil would mean that to scavenge the same amount of engine heat would require the oil to heat up more than before?
  3. The airflow in my cowl around oil sump and oil filter may be a problem?
  4. Something could be going on in the engine leading to higher oil temp? But the CHT does not show excessive temp.

I have considered changing the oil, and topping it. Another thought is to make cooling fins by folding some thin aluminum, then putting slits in it to allow wrapping around the oil sump and attaching with safety wire. Any ideas as to the cause of the higher oil temps, and remedies?

 

Flight #8– Saturday July 9th, 2011

KYIP - temp 82F - winds 110@4 - RW23L

Previous evening went to fly but found a leaky pepcock on gascolator, when I was trying to eliminate a column of air from fuel system. So did not fly Next morning replaced pepcock on gascolator. Changed oil. Turned on header pump, to restore header tank to full level to replenish the fuel I had drained out of gascolator. This is going slow!

During initial contact had radio trouble - I could not hear tower, they could hear me. So switched to backup handheld radio setup with PTT button velcro'd on joystick. (Later traced the problem to a socket in my intercom system).

Engine run-up OK. Added a little up reflexor trim before takeoff. Still on takeoff felt a slight nose tuck. This could be because I am maintaining a slight fwd stick position to prevent a premature takeoff. No problem but decided to add in a little more up reflexor on next takeoff. On takeoff power have lately been feeling a slight shake from the engine from time to time. is it real or imagined? So instead of flying to a practice area 15nm north, decided to stay above airport at 2000agl. Circled for a while at 2300 rpm. Played with reflexor down trim to see its effect on speed and nose attitude. Also have been using elevator trim wheel, locking it in a stick fwd position when at higher rpm, seems to help with fwd stick forces when keeping plane level.

Oil temp is creeping up and approaching 225F.

Hdr tank level seemed not to be moving up, although pump is on - holding at 50-60% level and maybe dropping. Decided to land. Before landing I have begun to use several notches of reflexor up trim. Slightly bounced landing - added power during first bounce, as before - went around. The second time was a smooth landing! But I am using a lot of runway. Not touching the toe brakes and letting plane roll for a while first. The 7000+ ft runways make the learning process much more forgiving. Now to figure out whats going on with the header pump.

Hobbs time 0.7 hrs

 

Flight #9 – Sunday July 10th, 2011

KYIP - temp 86F - winds 140@7 - RW 23L

Before this flight there was a problem filling header tank - changed filter between main tank and header. Replaced with new Fram FR1 filter. Attempted to replace the Microguard G3 (similar to Fram G3) filter between header and carb, but had a very hard time reaching it. So left it alone and tested the fuel flow out at carb. Fuel flow rate is still as good as before. The see-through filter does look clean too. Will replace it in the next few days.

Tested header pump to refill header tank while on ground. Still taking a long time! Used the squeeze pump to see if that worked. Still slow. Thought that maybe the header pump is giving out. Let it fill for nearly 20 minutes. When header tank seemed about 90% full decided to fly.

Also checked spark plugs and found rear left cylinder to have a lot more oil in the lower plug. Cleaned & reinstalled the plug.

With the header pump test underway decide once again to stay above and near the airport for the most part. Climb out seemed a bit more labored, a shallowed climb for the first few seconds then back up to ~1200 fpm. Leveled off at 2500 msl and circled around as before. I can see the oil temp needle visibly moving upward. Flew more nose down/level to keep oil temps in check. rpm's between 2200-2400 for the most part.

Hazy sunshine - visibility not very good. Hot outside and even hotter in the cockpit. My vent isn't doing the job. Made 10 mile excursion to the north of airport, and wandered about trying to simply enjoy the flying for a little bit as I climbed to 2900 msl still staying under 3000ft Class B ceiling. But header level is still dropping slowly although the pump is running as usual. Now header tank level is about 1/3rd. I better get back down. Oil temps are also approaching 225F. Setup for landing on 23L, approached at 110-120 mph indicated. Added 1/2 up reflexor. Landing was OK with no bounce noticed.

In these last 2 flights I have learned that even with fuel level at 1/3rd of the header tank there is sufficient fuel pressure. Good to know.

Hobbs time 0.9 hrs

Over the next week worked on several maintenance items.

  1. Noticed a slight surface roughness in a joint area at root of tailspring. This was probably the area I ignored for finishing as it was the underside, but now considered patching any way to be sure there was any issue with strength of tailspring. Added 10 assorted layers of BID and UNI on underside of tailspring fuselage tailcone joint area about 8 inch x 2 inch. Let cure for 4 days. Quick paint job.
  2. Also removed spinner, retorqued prop bolts, re-safetied. reinstalled spinner.
  3. Removed engine and tightened oil temp sensor nut, as this area has been leaking a little oil into the mag box, which I would clean with long stick with paper towel duck-taped at end of it. Reinstalled engine and reconnected all controls etc.
  4. Added adjustable turnbuckle to left elevator pushrod to adjust for roll trim.
  5. Installed silicone insulating rubber material at joint between plenum and cowling to close off any air gaps, to improve cooling.
  6. Blew backwards into main tank through the main fuel line. This cleared the blockage inside the main tank as the header pump now tested pumping at full speed. And filled the header tank in a few minutes. I will keep an eye on the overflow tube, and insure continuous fuel overflow at all times. This will be my indication that the pump is working fine.

 

Flight #10– Sunday July 17th, 2011

KYIP - temp 87F - winds 180@7 - RW 23L

In this flight my goal was to ensure the header pump was working normally and header tank level was full. Also check on oil temp.

Oil temps crept up over 30 minutes and seemed to be holding just under 225. But noted CHT of 425F during climbout, then dropped to near 400 in level cruise. Circled the airport ad nauseum. Departed the airport for a little bit but not too far. The usual 10 miles out and then quickly back. On this flight I was also able to test the use of the elevator turnbuckle to achieve level roll attitude.

Winds now 170 @10 - opted for RWY 14 for landing.

Tried to estimate and land closer to the numbers. But no luck - still floated a long way. Then a bounce. Added power in mid bounce to go around. I am finding that the split second realization of bounce, decision to go around and the few seconds that follow a bounce are proving to be the most treacherous time for me. And this one was, too! During the landing phase just prior, there is a lot of aft stick to soften the descent. Now as I add power, the aft stick is still present. And letting go of the up elevator is unnerving so close to the ground. But not releasing some of the aft stick pressure causes the nose to wander all over the place till fresh forward speed is built up.

Further I am finding that right crosswinds are proving to be a big problem during landing, while left cross-winds have led to better landings for me! My reasoning is something like this. When winds are from right, I am using right aileron and left rudder to achieve forward slip. This has sometimes caused my right wheel to touch ground first, and then bounce back in the air. This leads to right canard up condition while the left rudder is still present - leading to a left ward drift, and a further leftward pull by the engine. Need to react more quickly to add in right rudder and maintain a little less aft stick.

Conversely, when winds are from left side, I have a little left aileron, and right rudder. The right rudder being already present does not require transition when adding power for a go around. A bounce to the right only compensates the leftward pull of the engine. So the forces appear somewhat naturally aligned for better control for left cross-winds. Perhaps this is true on most right turning engine airplanes, but I find it more noticeable with the tip gear configuration. Do others have similar experience when flying the conventional gear Q?

After going around kept plane level side-to-side at touchdown, no bounce. The landing stuck and I added full up reflexor as I was rumbling down the runway, to keep tail safely on ground. Down safely but I need to go and study the landings of other pilots to see if they all use full aft stick close to touching down. Once back at hangar, checked for oil temp sensor drip, but no drip found. So header tank filling good, temp sensor leak absent, and elevator turnbuckle works. Good.

Hobbs time 1.2 hrs

 

Flight #11 – Tuesday July 19th, 2011

KYIP - temp 86F - winds 020@5 - RW 23L

I have made a few changes in attempt to improve CHT and Oil temp. Trimmed back the lower rear edge of cowl 1" x 12" to increase exit area for cooling air. Also sealed gaps at inlet air that was leaking between the plenum inlet and the orange silicone insulating rubber material. Also put a little high temp sealant to insulate the CHT ring junction area, where the shrink tubing had abraded.

On this takeoff I had more up reflexor, and there was no noticeable nose tuck.

CHT right on take off still reached 425F. Then as I backed off full power settled below 400F. During the flight oil temps climbed to and seemed to stabilize at 220F. The minor tweaks to cowling and plenum seemed to have produced a mild improvement.

Cabin fan (0.5Watt 4 inch fan made from 12V desktop computer exhaust fan) did not do much to cool me off.

Landed on RWY 5R. Very mild bounce. Basically the plane was still flying and had not slowed down enough, but the second contact was good.

I am beginning to use the reflexor much more now. Upon setup for landing I have been adding 1/2 of the total up throw. Upon landing I add in full up throw on reflexor, ensuring that tail stays down. The other change I experimented with on landing on this flight was to not continually add more up elevator as I was getting closer to the ground. Rather I was using mild jabs of aft stick to control descent, while still not having full up elevator on touchdown. For future flights I will practice this some more.

Also, I am still coming in faster than I should and my approach is not shallow enough. Using a lot of runway, touching down at 1500-3000 feet from the numbers.

Hobbs time 0.6 hrs
Total time now 8.9 hours.

Since this flight I have been working on replacing the fuel filter between header and carb. It is difficult to get both hands to an area near the firewall going under the instrument panel and past the rudder pedals. Removed the old filter by cutting fuel tubing at both ends of the filter. One of the ends of hose under the clamp had dark blue stain. When I installed the new filter, I found that the connection between 3/8" ID urethane tubing and filter barb fitting slips on and off a bit too easily. Tightened down the hose clamps. Came back later to see that there was a fuel drip near one of the hose clamps. Removing it showed that the inside edge of the hoseclamp had cut clear through the tubing. Cut off more tubing and reinstalled. But this fitting between the tubing and barb ends of the fuel filter is not convincing. Any suggestions? Is there a sealant that can be applied to the barb fitting and the aluminum tubes before installing the urethane fuel tubing?

 

Flight #12 – Sunday July 31st, 2011 - 10 a.m.

KYIP - temp 86F - winds 300@8 - RW 23L

Finally have the fuel filter installed with no leak - using 1/2" ID urethane hose sleeved over 3/8" ID hose, then hoseclamped. Also installed 3 pairs of VG's on the cowl at the lower rear exit on the outside.

Took off on RWY 23L Used nearly full UP reflexor on takeoff. I am not noticing any significant nose tuck on takeoff now that I am using more reflexor. In earlier flights also used to use a little fwd stick so plane wouldn't lift off prematurely, but I am relaxing on the fwd stick a little bit now. After climbout trimmed reflexor to slightly down from neutral setting.

Feel a slight shake when leaving ground. Whats causing this? mechanical imbalance (e.g. prop, spinner), or engine mounts? or unequal combustion related? or unequal exhaust backpressure due to unequal length straight exhaust tubes? Or something else?

Flew at the usual 2500' msl. Circled the airport and watched temperatures. CHT at cyl #1 hits 425F on take off then settles down when I reduce power. Oil temps climbed and appeared to stabilize after a while at about 220F. Maintained fairly steady rpm of 2400 for early part of flight. So the rpm is a little higher than before but oil temp is near to previously observed numbers (temp is similar to previous flight). Is this the effect of the VG's?

Puttered around in the sky at varying speeds and slight variation of attitudes. Came in for landing on rwy 32 using nearly full up reflexor. I am having trouble lowering my approaches, touched 2000' down the rwy, bounced a little, climbed out and went around. This go around felt ok for the first time, as I believe I did not have full up elevator on touch down.

Unable to take my eye off looking outside to know my airspeed at contact. On next approach made a cleaner landing, but did not use full aft stick. Long roll.

Hobbs time 0.6 hrs

 

Flight #13 – Sunday August 7th, 2011 - 11 a.m.

KYIP - temp 82F - winds 270@7 - RW 23L

Before this flight made another addition to the baffling in the cowl, Added silicone baffle material on cowl to close off an airgap between cowl and bracket airfilter on airbox.

Also have been keeping an eye on the fuel filter, and see no signs of leakage. Checked the tires - the tire tread is gone - In just about 10 hrs of time! These were 11/4.00x5 tires from Desser, that I installed for the final few taxi runs, in readiness for first flight. Must be my fine taxiing skills, or the higher speed landings, that wore them out so quick!

Also I have been curious to see if I can reproduce the engine shake noticed on climbout, so chocked the wheels and tied the tail to the car. And did a gentle runup to let oil temp come up a little. After few minutes did a full power runup and noted 2600+ rpm max static, and no significant shake. After another runup to 2600 rpm shut it down. Waited 15 min and then decided to test in the air.

Oil temp was showing close to 200f before starting engine (not much heat getting out of closed cowling). As I taxied out to ramp, had radio trouble, tower was not hearing me, so fiddled with the radio for a while, but could not undestand why. (later realized I had plugged my headset in the passenger slot on the intercom - silly error - both slots are close together and on seatback bulkhead). Switched to handheld.

Taxied out to RWY 32, then waited after engine run-up. Idled, since there were 3 other planes in the pattern, did not have takeoff clearance. When finally cleared for takeoff oil temp was already showing 225F, but remembering that 240F is the new number, took off.

Slight shake. Jerry had suggested that the shake could be the spinning wheels, but I was a little rattled by temp issues and forgot to tap the brakes. Do spinning wheels feel like engine shake? Will have to remember to tap brakes next time.

During climbout oil temp did continue climbing. I kept my eye on the gage to keep it below 240. Leveled off when I saw it approaching this limit. I was still not at given alt of 2500msl. Reduced power, pointed the nose down slightly to initiate some cooling. A minute later, the needle did start moving down slightly. Climbed a little more, then pointed the nose down. Oil temp was dropping slowly. After 6-8 such see-saw's, temps seem to settle at about 215f. Relief.

Went away from the airport for a little bit and enjoyed the view. Crossed over Metettal airport (old home base, with 2300 x 75 rwy). Then came back to YIP and landed. Winds were now 270 @ 10. Landed on rwy 32 with full up reflexor. No bounce, My approaches are still high, and reducing approach speeds does make me uncomfortable. The result is long landings and 2000-3000' rollout before turning off. I need to reconfirm my slow speed and stall numbers when I get a chance to climb to some real altitude, then try slower speed approaches. I will soon also want to start testing the effect of belly brake.

0.9 hr this flight
total flying time 10.5 hrs on the Q

 

Flight #14 – Sunday August 21st, 2011 - 11 a.m.

KYIP - temp 73F - winds 310@10 - RW 23L

Rained early morning and cooled things off a bit. Still cloudy but ceiling is high. I have installed new Lamb 11 x 4.00 x 5 - 6ply tires. These tires are narrower than the Desser tires of the same size that I removed.

Today I intend to depart YIP for the first time and fly to Howell Airport (KOZW) 31nm NW from Willow Run. Wind direction is good for a landing on RWY31 (5000x100) at OZW. This will give me a chance to test my ability to land at a slightly shorter and narrower rwy than my usual 7500x150. Radio worked fine, now that my headset was plugged into the pilot sockets.

Took off on RWY27 from YIP. Felt a shake again, but this time I tapped the toe brakes and the shake was gone. All this time I had thought the source may be the engine, but it had been the tires all along. Great.

Climbed to final alt of about 4400' as I passed Y47 ( New Hudson) to my right, then flew over 45G (Brighton). Kept engine at about 2400-2600 rpm during climb and leveling off for a few minutes, enjoying the view. Oil temps were staying relatively tame. Oil temp stayed between 200-210F throughtout entire flight.

Saw OZW 10miles away, and listened to other traffic. While at this alt, reduced power and did some slow flying down to 110mph..100..90..80.. still no pitch-buck. These are on my airspeed ind,which has been reporting 10mph high at higher speeds. This helped me descend down to pattern alt and put me on a long final for rwy31. The Cherokee ahead of me had landed and was clear of rwy. Made a slower and lower approach than my usual landings. But the slow speed flying at alt a few minutes ago was reassuring. Touched down with a slight bounce, then a long glide. The second contact stuck, kept it going straight, and made the turnoff 2/3rd way down the rwy. This may have been my shortest landing.

I could see dark clouds to the NW. Once I was down, taxied and parked, it began to rain. Waited about 10min till the rain passed. Took off and climbed to 3600'. Saw a wall of rain ahead for miles across. Turned east and found a pass through the lightest rain I could find, but still passed through several minutes of rain, and then I was ahead of it. No trim changes were needed through the rain. Also I did not see any water come through around the canopy.

Enjoyed the view back to Willow Run, flew over the neighborhood, then made another slower and lower approach to rwy32. Winds were 310 @10 (gusts 14). On this landing while I thought I was still a couple of feet off the ground, for the first time I heard the tailwheel touch the ground and roll, then the maingear contacted and stayed. Ooh that landing felt good. Rolled 1500' and taxied back.

These new tires are more sensitive to my foot movements. Also inspected the prop for any rain damage, none noted. When the plane was back in the hangar, the same rain front I had played hide-n-seek with earlier, had caught up, and arrived at YIP - nature always seems to do that. This had been a fun flight.

1.0 hr this flight
11.5 hrs total flying time on the Q.