Yup. I know I said that the plane was done before. And it was… mostly…
Thursday, June 16, 2016, the weather finally allowed me to get to Hibbing to pick up 829EC. I had to scrub 2 prior pickup days due to TERRIBLE weather. Thursday started out just as bad, but we got lucky, and the skies cleared up in the afternoon, and with the help of local RV7 pilot Bob Collins (Check out Bob’s site here), I hitched a ride up north.
As we taxied up to Midwest Aircraft Refinishing‘s buildings, I could see a red nose peeking out from one of the hangars. After we cut the engine and climbed out, I got my first good look at 9EC in her new paint job. WOW. I think that’s all I said for a few minutes as I walked a few laps around the plane, taking it in from every angle. The guys at Midwest Aircraft Refinishing really do top notch work. I really can’t say enough good things about them. In a future post, I’ll talk about the painting (and paint design) process, and what it was like to work with everyone… but spoiler alert, they’re GREAT! I had seen many pictures of the design while I was working with Ray from Design Eye-Q, and more pictures of the progress while Midwest was laying out and painting, but seeing it in person is a whole other thing. For one, the red REALLY shines deeply with metallic and pearl in the sun, and secondly, the lines of the design look a little different from almost every angle. I still don’t think I’ve captured a photo that really gives the full feel of the design.
After I stopped grinning like a fool, I got to work inspecting the plane. Midwest had taken all the control surfaces, inspection panels, cowling, spinner, etc off to paint everything. They did a great job reassembling it all, and I didn’t find any issues, other than a little buffing compound in one of the static ports. The only thing not done was that the Aerosport flush handles weren’t installed, per my request. That was one thing that I wanted to do myself, as it’s not the most straightforward install to do without the instructions.
After my inspection, I wrote out a check, said my thanks and good byes, and Bob and I rolled out. After a very thorough pre-flight and runup, I did a high speed taxi to confirm all the pitot/static was working. That all checked out, so I took 9EC to the air for the first time in over two months! I did a few laps orbiting the airport about about 3000′ to make sure everything was still in the green and no issues were popping up, then we turned home. Bob was kind enough to take some air to air shots, and then told me no not wait up for him. I told him “Thanks” and opened up the throttle.
I think the plane was really happy to be back in her natural habitat, and looking her best, as she put out some of the best performance I’ve seen yet. On the way home, we were at 7500′, cruising at 169-170KTAS, and only burning 10.9GPH. This was running about 40 degrees lean of peak. With a 15 knot tailwind, we were really moving at around 212 miles per hour across the ground, all while getting over 19 MPG!
So, now it’s more done! I’m going to take the stand that it is OFFICIALLY complete. Any work or changes going forward are just modifications and maintenance.