Just as I was feeling pretty good about having done a good bit of maintenance on the plane, Bill Compton asked me about the time since overhaul on the landing gear struts. Well, I got them overhauled last week and while my mechanic has the plane, I asked him to also replace the fuel transfer pumps, move the compass back on the glareshield to allow me to place a solar charger there, replace the recline mechanism on the copilot seat, replace non-structural screws some previous owner/mechanic had installed on the right Flap, which John Collins caught during a pre-flight inspection and a few items Rick Ott caught during his pre-flight of my plane-including a fuel leak on #4 fuel injector.
Last week I flew an Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC) with Tom Jefferies in my Beechcraft Baron. As we were flying to a close by airport to shoot approaches, this one plane showed up on our scope and being under the hood, Tom was the one keeping an eye out for it. As we got closer, I heard a chuckle from Tom, who told me “its your son on his cross country”….. we gave some cat-calls to him on a separate frequency we use for just chitter-chatter….. and proceeded on our mission. This week end I am flying another IPC in the Bonanza with Tom Jefferies. Tom is an ex-airline/commercial/charter/ferry pilot. He is putting together a Crew Resource Management (CRM) manual for me and my son to use during our trip. He is also putting together a training for us to educate us about differences in air traffic control phraseology all over the world. This is supposed to be standard, but things creep into the system and one needs to learn those nuances before getting there and getting surprised.
The large capacity “dollies” are in the paint shop in Arizona and once they are done, I will have to fly my plane there to get them installed towards the middle/end of April. In the meantime, I have to drop the plane off with an avionics shop to get a few things done including the installation of the HF radio….
My final route selection is hinging on getting insurance for this trip. If I don’t get the insurance we want, we may have to take the southern route and avoid Europe altogether. This would send us to Brazil – Senegal – Tunis – Egypt route instead of Canada – Iceland – England – Italy – Egypt route. We will find out in a week or two as Alejandro Gellato, my insurance agent works his magic. There is still a lot of planning to do …. some of it is dependent on other events…..we trudge along….