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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Engine Start !

After being so quiet for so long, my engine finally was able to make some NOISE !    The first engine start was a success, but it didn't go without a couple hitches..   First the plan was to see all the fuel line junctions by removing all the fairings that I had to install for the weigh in.  That didn't take to long, then I had to verify all my fuel lines were torqued and looked good.  Also I had to upgrade my Dynon to 5.1 which includes data logging which is perfect timing for me because I can track multiple times a second all the temps and pressures of my engine during start up and break in.
To prep the engine I had to turn the prop several times to get oil up the oil pressure hose.  This also pushed oil all around in the engine so it was good to do prior to the first start.  Vans indicates you pull the top plugs and hit the starter to do this.  I found turning by hand several times pushed oil up the hose and primed the pressure line just fine.  So I replaced the plugs including anti seize and torqued them.  Things were looking good at this point.  

Now it was time to start working with the Blue 100LL Avgas, it sure was pretty in the sunshine.  I put a gallon or so through each tank and sloshed it around, then fully drained each tank.   I am almost 100% confident that the tanks were pristine to begin with, but just in case, it is a good idea to rinse them out. 

First glitch came up when I tried to run fuel to prime the fuel pump.   Turning the pump on didn't do anything.  I had disconnected the fuel line at the spider and nothing would happen.   I had to get fuel to the pump so used a siphon technique to get fuel to the pump which worked fine and from that point forward fuel pump was able to pull from both tanks with adequate pressure.

All was looking good, pulled the plane out of the hangar, tied it to the car and set up a few cameras..  Confirmed that all the assistants there were looking for the same stuff and communication was working OK.  Went over everything a final time and then jumped in the plane, full of stress ready to fire it up.   Sure I had a checklist and knew exactly what I was going to do, I even read it and double checked it but sure enough the first couple attempts at starting I had forgot to turn the mags on..   No way would it fire without the ignition on, so once that problem was corrected it fired right up..   Man was I stressed..

BEKAH TOOK A PERFECT HD VIDEO :       Click here for the Video    

Then I noticed that my RPMs were reading as double due to the Electric ignition sending two pules per revolution vs just one.  I have since corrected this, but during the engine run I just idled it at an indicated 2000 rpm (which really was 1000).   The engine ran great, but was rich at idle causing a bit of roughness which I will need to look at over time.  I ran it up and cycled the prop, tested each ignition and then back to idle.   I then leaned it out quite a bit at idle and it started to run much smoother.  Did a quick idle lean test and noticed it raise a few hundred RPM, which is consistent with being too rich..  Then shut her down.  You really don’t want to run the engine much on the ground when you need to break it in.  The only way to break in an airplane engine is to run it at high power in the air for several hours.

I will never forget the slight smell of burning as the new engine came to life.  It really smelled brand new, sort of like a new car, but it was a new airplane.   It was wonderful ! 

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