Friday, April 300, 2004 Phil picks up his flying machine. I spent most of Friday flying with him and discussing how the equipment operated. This aircraft had just about every piece of avionics known to man installed including the coveted ADF. This was the first ADF Avionics West had installed in over ten years. Some of Phil's flying requires an ADF, that's the reason for the ADF purchase. My job was easy for a change; you see, Phil attended our CNX80 class, purchased a CNX80 docking station, studied the CD's on the autopilot manufactured by ElectronicFlight Solutions along with other CD's I supplied him with. Friends, learn how to operate your avionics before you jump in the aircraft, there's all sorts of avenues to learn the equipment. For the S-Tec autopilots and weather equipment, the ElectronicFlight Solutions software is the best thing on the market. Being Phil took the time to learn his new avionics arsenal prior to flying, my job was simple.
The test flight went fine, Phil even put a hold at one of the VOR's and we both watched in amazement as the System 55X autopilot flew the holding pattern displayed on the CNX80; yes it was awesome. This little TR-182 has more avionics than many large aircraft and it works as it should. Phil was really pleased with the performance of the new radio package and how well it looked. Even after paying some serious dollars and delays he couldn't hide the smile on his face as we completed the test flight. The S-Tec System 55X was rock solid during flight (more late about the 55X). Yes, it took longer than either of us thought but I think Phil will agree, the end result was worth the wait.
Early on I had mentioned that starting 2004 we were going to have two installers on each job until the project was completed in hopes of saying down-time and increasing our percentage of billable labor. What were the results you ask? To tell you the truth, it was a disaster. Even with two full-time installers/programmers on the machine, it still took far longer than it should have. One reason was one of the lower switch panels had to be recoated and engraved due to the fact the engraver made an error. Of course Avionics West incorrectly got the "Battery" and Alternator" logos backward; didn't discover that until we were ready to install the lower panel. That cost us an extra two weeks of down time. Now the installers are stopped because nothing else can be completed until the lower switch panels were installed. We made a couple minor errors such as wiring the JPI-450 fuel flow backward. The JPI-450 showed six gallons of fuel being used in cruise, Phil wishes it only burned six gallons! The S-Tec System 55X computer decided to fail when cold but worked fine when warm. Kevin sent it back to S-Tec for evaluation, they found the accelerometer defective and fixed it. The turn around on the A/P was four working days. It took three days to program all the equipment so it would talk to one another. Phil's original tail beacon emitted so much noise that it interfered with the WX-500 and compass, Phil asked us to replace it which we did. That's all the problems I can remember at the present. I've asked Phil to write about his experience from start to finish as to this installation; good or bad I'll place it on the website. Even though Phil hasn't flown his TR-182 in months (he's stayed current renting airplanes) he flew the machine with the precision of an Atomic Clock. This guy is one of the best I've ever flown with (he's already paid the bill, thus I don't have to say this) and one heck of a nice guy.
Phil's Point of View About This Installation