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We are back to the Savannah area after a trip to Destin, Florida for a wedding this past weekend. The lovely Laura Lee flew with me for her first trip in the new plane. As when we flew together often in the past, she is an excellent co-pilot, and I am considering ordering the uniform at left for her that I found online.

We had a good flight down but the return Sunday was a little challenging due to low ceilings and fog in Destin Sunday morning, and a stationary front bringing low ceilings and rain showers to Georgia all day. But we made it home OK flying through bumpy clouds all the way back. Flying in the clouds and bumps is not always fun, but is good experience for me as I regain the confidence needed to fly in weather.

So I am making good progress with flying skills, but there are what my friend Sean (who bought Steel Magnolia) calls “gremlins” with the plane at the moment that need to be resolved. Wikipedia defines “gremlins” as follows: gremlin is an imaginary creature commonly depicted as mischievous and mechanically oriented, with a specific interest in aircraft. Gremlins’ mischievous natures are similar to those of English folkloric imps, while their inclination to damage or dismantle machinery is more modern.”  The good luck gremlin mascot at right flew with 482nd Bomb Group (Heavy) from 1942 to 1945.

First, I have written about how leaning is done using exhaust gas temperature readings for each cylinder. I have had a repeating issue with the sensor for Cylinder 4 EGT. A few weeks ago, I suddenly had no reading from that sensor and a local mechanic here in Hinesville, GA replaced the EGT probe for me. It worked fine for about 30 hours of flying and then failed again so last Wednesday, the EGT probe for cylinder #4 was replaced again. Sunday, I looked over during the flight and again had no reading for cylinder #4 EGT, the third failure for this probe in about six weeks. A few minutes later, I suddenly had no readout from any of the EGT sensors. This is a very strange failure from a bunch of basic temperature sensors, but I have discovered we were supposed to use a specific sensor made by Piper, and that is no doubt part of the problem.

The other issue is that after installing GAMI injectors for all of my cylinders, my engine has begun to run a little rough. I can’t necessarly blame the GAMI injectors as they are supposed to make the engine run more smoothly, but no other work has been done on the engine, and we cannot figure out why it is running rough. With all of this going on, I have spoken to Avidyne which makes the display showing engine readings to figure out the best all-around place to take the plane for diagnosis and repair. It was recommended that I take it up to the Piper Service Center near Charlotte, and I have an appointment there next week. I am hopeful they can sort out the issues and get things running smoothly and displaying properly for me.

Conveniently, I need to be in Birmingham late next week for about a week, and Charlotte is a great place to leave the plane and catch a US Air flight to Birmingham. A week later, I can reverse the process and pick the plane up to return to Savannah. As with boats, much of private plane flying involves travelling to new places to work on the plane.

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