Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year (With a Look Back)

This is the fourth year that I've used this post title on 31 December. A year ago, I looked back on 2011 in this post, and a year earlier I reviewed 2010 in this one. The retrospective for 2009 was here.

N631S finished 2012 with 4,391.8 hours on the tach, having flown 184.5 hours in 2012. That's just a bit more than the 2011 total of 175.8 hours. I made the round trip from KVKX in Maryland to KBDR in Connecticut and back 32 times this year, two fewer than last year.

I logged 10.1 hours in actual IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) this year, compared with 2011's 10.0 hours. This year's total of 16 instrument approaches flown in actual conditions is up from last year by six. Time logged as night this year was 9.3 hours, not very different from last year's 10.2.

Once again this year, N631S has been a remarkably reliable machine. Beyond the normally expected maintenance items, the things needing repair have been rather minor:

  • During the Annual Inspection in March, one of the aft roller assemblies on the pilot's side seat had to be replaced.
  • Also at Annual, the muffler was replaced with an overhauled unit.
  • To clean up a bit of 'hangar rash', the right stabilizer and elevator plastic tips were replaced. We used the opportunity to accomplish a Service Bulletin replacing some rivets in the outboard stabilizer rib with larger ones.
  • Both magnetos were serviced, and each needed some fairly significant parts renewal.
  • The baggage door latch failed and was replaced with an overhauled assembly.
  • The left wing strut upper and lower fairings, badly cracked, had to be replaced. (The ones on the right side will get done at the next annual.)
  • And finally, two steel brackets in the upper cowling (that mate with the lower cowl at the crankshaft opening) failed due to fatigue cracking and had to be replaced.

This is the 43rd post on this blog for 2012. That compares with 70 in 2011, 100 in 2010 and 128 in 2009. This obvious decline in my productivity here is the result of two things: first, my non-aviation life has gotten somewhat busier, and second, some experiences that would have been "bloggable" in the past now feel repetitive. Perhaps that's a hazard to be expected in this sort of venue. Maybe 2013 will be more interesting, but I have mixed feelings about whether that would be a Good Thing.

In closing, I wish all who may visit here a healthy, prosperous and safe 2013.


Chris said...

184.5 hours! That sounds like a recipe for a happy engine. Happy new year, Frank. Best wishes to you for 2013.

Frank Van Haste said...


The engine does seem happy at about 1,700 SMOH. So far, so good...I ain't changin' nuthin!!

Best wishes to you, too, for a prosperous, healthy and SAFE new year.


Stephanie Belser said...

I think I got in 40 hours, including two month-long periods of idleness and a quarter of that time was in the ferry flight. Difference between having an airplane as a toy and having one for transportation.

Cedarglen said...

Happy New Year Frank. A nice summary post for your 2012 flying. Including similar stats from a few recent years helps to keep it in the proper perspective. I would have guessed a few more hours and more IFR time, but no matter. You are obviously an attentive pilot and well-grounded (no pun) in your ability, 631S's ability as well as your usual route. I enjoyed your detailed comments about the annual, the repairs (accomplished and deferred) and your rational for all. While you apparently don't do a lot of "in it" IFR flying, the often practiced skills are a tremendous asset for you. I have to ask: Do you do any flying, just for fun, or are those hours solely dedicated to your weekly commute? Best wishes for a Happy and Safe 2013. -Craig

Brent at iflyblog.com said...

My first visit to your blog - great stuff! I've got you bookmarked!
Second - I applaud how you are using your airplane. Seems like it has been very functional and practical for your situation. It's great folks can come on here and see you setting an example of how GA is important and it works.