Conducted 09/29/2012 -
After the last flight we prepared to ship the propeller back to WhirlWind for inspection. They told us it might be possible to salvage the blades by shortening them to remove the damaged tips, and re finishing them. They would need to strip and inspect each blade though to make sure there were no cracks or delaminations inboard of the tip damage.
Old Dominion Freight Lines had our prop down to Whirlwind (in Ohio) in 2 days. They were absolutely wonderful to work with, and by far the least expensive shipping option. The prop arrived at WhirlWind the afternoon of July 16th, and after some discussion with them about how to proceed they began teardown the following week. With Oshkosh right around the corner they were pretty busy, but still managed to get the blades stripped down in time to discuss the results with us at the show.
This year was our longest trip to Oshkosh yet, a total of 10 days spent camping at 'Mecca'. We had a blast. But to make the trip extra enjoyable while we there, we learned the blades had checked out fine, and all that was needed was to mill 1" off each and refinish. We were told it would take about 2-3 weeks. We were VERY happy
For the next couple of weeks the biggest question on our mind was whether or not we should do a tear down inspection on the engine, being there WAS indeed a propeller strike, however 'slight' it may have been. We discussed the issue with numerous people, including the shop that assisted with the build of our engine. Ultimately we decided to pull the engine, and comply with the Lycoming AD which requires inspection of the crankshaft gear and replacement of it's dowel pin, bolt, and lockplate. If we found any issue with the crankshaft gear we would tear it down further and have the crankshaft itself and the rods magnafluxed.
No issue was found with the gear, so we reassembled per the service bulletin. Things were taking a bit longer for WhirlWind, but the prop arrived about the same time we finished getting the engine back together. We put the newly shortened and refinished prop back on, and fired it up to find that the engine was still running nice.
For the next couple weeks the weather and our schedules didn't really line up to well. But eventually the winds calmed down and we were ready to test the modified prop. We had devised a new flight test protocol (which we called 4B) to prove out the propeller operation.
John's flight report to the Cozy Builders list is below:
"I am happy to report the
prop is now rock solid. No surging at all. I select an RPM, it holds it, just
like I remember with the 182 I used to fly a lot. It was my longest Cozy flight
yet, spending 2 full hours checking the full range of power settings, and making
sure it would hold constant RPM.
When I came back in to land it was a little past noon, and we were getting a bit of turbulance near the surface. I decided to keep my speed up at 90 kts on final to make the deck angle a bit shallower. That really seems to make it settle onto the runway nice and gentle. Then you stab the hell outta those Matcos and haul the thing down. In case it hasn't been said 139,000 times on this list before. Those Matco 3 pucks are SWEET!"
We decided that until we had a better solution for mounting the video camera in the plane, we'd use it for ground footage :
Being John had a fair bit of time to just cruising, he decided to finally snap a couple pictures from the air.