Amphibious Airplane Adventure
It’s been nearly a year since my friend Jay returned from Airventure 2016 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in my Amphibious Airplane, parked my Seawind and began a surprisingly very long inspection and repair process. As usual, I placed the workload into two categories; repairs and improvements. First, repairs; slow steady drip fuel leaks seemed to persist after we had done many fixes. Tracking the sources in very tight spaces like inside each wing, was difficult to say the least. I did all the usual things like check and tighten fittings, but leaks persisted. I even drained the tanks and installed additional shut off valves. After exhausting all other possibilities, Jay and I determined the two leaks came from the main wing tank fittings at the base of the tanks. With special sealant, each tank fitting was securely tightened and completely sealed. The dripping stopped! What a relief!
There were lots of small items like correctly wiring the HVAC system so that cold meant cold and hot meant hot, not vice-versa as originally wired. The center console door refusing to close and NAV and COM antennas that needed replacement and relocating to get much better reception. This was hard work too – deep inside a pretty narrow airplane belly. The air was stale and it was difficult to get my hands in position to place and adhere the antennas. I’m so glad it’s behind me.
Amphibious airplane Improvements? There were more than a few. The big ones were installing a dual True Blue USB outlet in the instrument panel – (look just above the GRT EFIS). Unlike other USB plugs, the True Blue is certified not to interfere with NAV or COM communications. To and from Oshkosh 2016, Jay and I found increasing static as we moved more than 50 miles from major centers. USB port we used became suspect. With this and new antennas and new positions, I think I solved the problem. Other improvements were venting the avionics with dampers to prevent overheating. Further, I replaced the flap switch to a double pole, double throw one that unlike its predecessor, is spring-loaded to return to neutral. My amphibious airplane, a Super Seawind is now all inspected and all systems are up-to-date. It’s in top shape – fit for James Bond, but if he doesn’t come I guess I’ll have to fly it again – and that should be fun and educational.