Mr. Dompe's Beechcraft is Ready to Fly
Before the new panel was installed, the new avionics was tested to make sure it functioned as it should. It's a lot easier to fix a problem with that huge panel out of the way than install it and pay the price later. The only problem we ran into was that the alternator overvoltage lamp stayed illuminated even though the system showed a good charge on the JPI 700 we installed and the factory amp gage showed a positive charge. Tom Knoll traced the problem to a corroded fuse holder located on the firewall. Tom cleaned up the contacts and the lamp went out when the alternator came on the line, just as it should. Outside of that, everything worked as it should. We flew the aircraft a couple of days prior to Mr. Dompe's arrival just to make sure everything worked in the air after the custom panel was installed. This factory turbo-charged Beech has some interesting items aboard such as two different cowl-flap controls. We read the POH carefully before flying the aircraft. According to Mr. Dompe, Beech only manufactured 40 or so aircraft like his. Flying the machine was a pleasure, just like most Beechcraft and it never tried to surprise me. I found the aircraft climbed out OK but nothing extraordinary about the climb but once you press one over, things start to happen real quick. Within a minute after the aircraft was leveled with 27" of MP and 2,500RPM the aircraft zoomed into the yellow area on the airspeed indicator. Once straight and level, Mr. Dompe's aircraft demonstrated what a powerful engine and a "V tail" can do for you. Shooting an approach in this machine is another thrill. Forget to slow the machine down before capturing the glideslope and you'll have one heck of a time slowing this slick aircraft down. But as with any high performance aircraft, careful planning (staying ahead of the aircraft) is all that is needed to fly a machine such as Mr. Dompe's.
Sorry, I forgot this was an avionics article, back on the subject. During the test flight with Tom Dompe we found everything worked as it should and in fact, Tom discovered his KFC-200 was capable of a few tricks he didn't know about. Everything worked out well on the test flight and Mr. Dompe and I returned to SMX. We went over the paper work and he flew home. Later that day he called just to say thanks for the nice job and comment about how well it all operated.
What future avionics could Tom possibly desire with his loaded Beechcraft? Later this year when available, we hope to add the Garmin real-time weather and display it on the GNS 530 and the BFG SkyWatch TAS. Tom planned well ahead on the equipment he wanted. The only real change during the installation was turning one of the GNS 430's into a GNS 530 a wise move in my opinion, especially if you plan on adding features in the future such as a WX-500 or TAS. With a 430/530 installed on top of each other, it's obvious that the 530 is easier to read and the screen display is better. Mr. Dompe was a prince to work with during the installation and knows how to fly his Beechcraft. I enjoy flying with pilots that know how to stay ahead of their aircraft. Tom is also the first student signed up for our GNS 430/530 class coming up in Sept. I'll have more on the class soon.