March 25, 2013
By Ian J. Twombly
It’s true that major work has been finished on the 2008 Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Piper Archer II, however it’s also true that work on an airplane is never really finished. All airplanes, especially those built in the boom time of the 1970s, need constant attention, and the Archer is no different.
A few weeks ago we talked about the Archer’s rigging issues, which have since been fixed. We also mentioned a few minor avionics issues that were quickly and easily taken care of at Penn Avionics, the shop that did the major refurbishment. Since that time, we’ve put 50 hours on the airplane flying to and from California. That trip proved invaluable in ferreting out a couple of additional squawks.
It’s always our goal to give away a flawless airplane, something we’ve done almost every year. This year we’re hopefully on track to do just that, thanks to the opportunity to find some of the squawks on the long trip west.
So far everything has been minor. The left landing light burned out, one of the new backlit panel switches went bad, and some window caulking needed to be touched up. The most significant squawk turned out to be with one of the panel instruments we hadn’t replaced. The tachometer went to zero, a non-issue thanks to our J.P. Instruments EDM-800.
After getting back from AOPA Expo in mid-November we handed the airplane over to the FBO in Frederick and had them button everything up. It turned out the panel switch was simply a loose bulb and the left landing light was a quick swap for a new bulb. The shop discovered the tachometer itself worked fine, but the cable frayed internally, causing us to lose the indication. The FBO installed a new cable and we’re as good as new again.
If you haven’t noticed, it’s mid-December and that means the 2008 sweepstakes is quickly drawing to a close. By the time you read this, the Archer will have been appraised for tax purposes. Remember, it’s all based on market value, not the value of what we had installed. Next week the airplane will begin a very leisurely annual inspection, just in time to be signed off in January. And that’s it. After the annual, we’ll wait for the identity of the winner and scheme how best to surprise the lucky member.
But don’t stop following along online just yet. The January issue of the magazine will be hitting mailboxes early next week, and the Archer is a prominent piece. But as a thank you for following along all year, we’ve posted some new photos in the gallery before you can see them in the magazine.
Finally, we’ll have two more updates that I don’t think you’ll want to miss.
Next week: History of an airplane
E-mail the author at [email protected]
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