March 25, 2013
By Ian J. Twombly
If you have major instrument panel work done, there will be a few minor glitches. It’s unavoidable. Last week we talked about the minor issues with the AOPA Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer. Nothing presented itself as being an airworthiness issue. Rather, calibrations and some other minor tightening and tweaking were done to ensure the sweepstakes airplane is in top shape for our flight to Oshkosh next week, and beyond.
According to Penn Avionics installer Chris Vinciguerro, all the issues with the Archer were minor and easily fixed. The issue I was most concerned with, the L-3 Communications Avionics Systems WX-500, was perhaps easiest of all to fix. Vinciguerro went through his troubleshooting process based on only one indication—a sensor error. Did that mean a bad box or a problem with the wiring or antenna? There’s no way to know until you do a full troubleshoot, said Vinciguerro.
So after checking the antenna and other components, Vinciguerro said he went back to the auxiliary box in the tail and examined it closely. Although he couldn’t detect it initially, it turns out the box had very slightly tweaked in its tray. Despite Vinciguerro’s best efforts to tighten the box on the initial install, it had worked its way slightly out of place and the loose connection resulted in no WX-500 indications on the Avidyne EX500. Thankfully it’s now working for our trip to Oshkosh.
Another issue was the S-Tec Fifty Five X autopilot. While it held altitude in cruise, it searched for it slightly in turbulence. According to a company representative, the unit is good enough that it should never be more than 20 feet or so off. Autopilots are harder to diagnose, said Vinciguerro. He worked the servo brushes for half-an-hour and told us to give it a good workout. Apparently they don’t set sometimes. If that doesn’t work, Vinciguerro has pledged to keep trying to fix the problem.
We’ll be leaving for the big celebration at Oshkosh this weekend in time for the show opening on Monday. Please come out to the Big Yellow Tent and take a look at your sweepstakes airplane and give us your thoughts on the work thus far. In the meantime, send me an e-mail with fuel stop recommendations along the way. My basic requirements include avgas and a good lunch. See you at the show!
Next week: Numbers from our flight to OSH
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