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   Ada OK 2010 report

Ada OK, CFO Convention
October 14-17, 2010

We were pleased and honored to be invited to visit the offices of General Aviation Modifications Inc and Tornado Alley Turbos Inc, where science meets aviation and old wives tales go to meet their end.

This is especially timely give the recent discussions around the future of 100 low lead fuel, and the work that is being done by GAMI to find solutions to this issue.

Our day before event was something new... a stop on the way in at another center of aviation action, Plane Plastics in Alva OK.

As can be seen to the right, Plane Plastics was expecting us!


We quickly filled the new ramp in front of the impressive new hangar that has been added to their facility, as well as the auto parking lot of the main building, which they had kindly avoided parking their cars in for the day. The facility can be seen in these pictures.

With the new facility, Plane Plastics is becoming involved more deeply in the installation of interiors and other activities related to aircraft completions.

The picture below is a panorama shot from the hangar door... it was very cool to see the circle of Cardinals on the ramp!


The Plane Plastics team had set up their 'big' booth, which most of us recognize from their show displays, to tell us the story of all they are doing.

Most of us are familiar with their plastic products, but there is much more that they offer. Cleaners, paints, carpets and exterior parts for airplanes have been added or will be soon.

We were pleased to announce that Plane Plastics will become a CFO sponsor, and is offering a discount to CFO members. Just let them know you heard about them through CFO and you'll get the special price!



We got to ask a few questions of Dale Logsdan, who handles the PMAs and other FAA certification details, and has been building and installing interior parts for quite some time... he was one of the mechanics when all this started as Kinzie Helicopters.

It was interesting to hear some of the history, as well as the future plans for this company. They have several new ideas that we'll be hearing about as their plans unfold.



We took the opportunity to present Plane Plastics with a pair of trophies to acknowledge their contribution to our recent history of award winning airplanes.

The two airplanes listed below were the only two Cardinals which Plane Plastics completed in their shop, doing a range of different installations on each airplane. Both airplanes won 'best of show' at different CFO flyins, a ringing testimony to the quality of work this team puts out!

ada10_014.jpg ada10_016.jpg

Once the talking was over, we were treated to an excellent Oklahoma Barbeque, courtesy of Mark Seaver, the new president of Plane Plastics. He actually cooked this up himself and really outdid himself. No one left hungry!

After lunch we moved to the production building, seen below (again guarded by Cardinals) and shown in the series of following pictures.


Carpets are cut against patterns on this cutting table, then edged on special sewing machine. The carpet materials are a higher grade than used by other carpet suppliers, and as they are custom made for each order.

You may click on any image to load a larger version of the picture.

In the mold room we got to see how they build the tooling to build these parts. ada10_024.jpg
The tooling is stored indoors on the racks, ready for an order for each part. This helps keep the tools in good condition so the parts will come out with a consistent fit. ada10_026.jpg

Here is the machine that makes the plastic forming fit, one of 4 built by the company when this all started. If you know where to look, you can just see the plastic sheet starting to droop from the application of heat.

Once the plastic is hot enough, it is dropped onto the table of forms and vacuum is applied. That pulls the plastic down into the molds and creates the parts.

Here the workers cut the parts free from the large plastic sheet and send the parts off for final trimming. ada10_034.jpg

Debbie has a knack for getting the good shots, and from time to time we catch her in the process.

In all it was a great visit at Plane Plastics, and when the time came to leave we had great weather for more than a dozen Cardinals to find their way from Alva to Ada.

In fact we arrived in a rather steady stream, which was expected and planned for by the GAMI team.


Here we see the process at work. We were asked to park our airplanes nose to tail on the taxiway and let they guys park them.

And park them they did... but we would not see the full extent of this until the morning.

We were impressed all week by the skill displayed by the line crew and the care they took with our airplanes. They were moved several times, and somehow they were just where we needed them for the next stage of the event. Outstanding work!


While all this was going on we scurried off to the hotel, cleaned up and caught the bus for Fossil Creek Lodge.

This was an old barn in the planes of Oklahoma, a very relaxing place for our first night together. Many folks sat around the campfire, a few checked out the horseshoe pit and enjoyed the view over the plains, and many followed their noses to watch the cook grilling up a big load of steaks over an oak fire on a grill made from a tractor rim.

As you can see from the pictures to the right, it was a warm and cozy environment for our first meal together


Dinner was outstanding and company, as always was excellent, The evening flew by as we got reacquainted with friends we've seen across the years and welcomed the new folks.


At one end of the hall was an additional diversion for those brave enough to display their skill, or lack there of, to those watching. With a wide range of skills in play, the teams balanced out pretty well and the games pretty much played to a draw.

Before we knew it the evening had passed and we bussed back to the hotel.


Morning at the airport brought the interesting sight of all our airplanes parked carefully, but tightly, into the available ramp area.

We were prepared for any new airplanes that might come, and in the end had enough space for everyone who came. It reminded some of us of the flyins where we packed 50-odd airplanes into 19 tiedowns (New York) or the day we filled up Seven Springs airplane to within a few inches... but these guys were better than we had been at those events.

In the picture to the right I'm taking the picture below. Click to open a larger version.

Here you can see the parking job from a lower angle. It was definitely a place where you needed to have a plan before you straighten up! ada10_050.jpg

After watching us clamber over roofs and ladders, seeking a better vantage point, the GAMI guys let us know about their scissor jack, purchased to change light bulbs in the big hanger but just the ticket for pictures on high.

In the photo to the right you can see the shadow of this platform, which was just the right tool to let us take the picture below.

Do you know everyone in the picture? The smart ones had their sunglasses... the others can be forgiven for squinting.


Then started the tours! In small groups we got the full walk-through of the operation at GAMI/TATI, including this visit to the main shop.

TATI has been building a retrofit turbo system for Cirrus for some time, and had also been doing some fuels research on a plane in the shop which got a lot of discussion and a careful inspection. It also had a unique prop that got some attention.

Also in the shop was a freshly turbocharged Baron with a very interesting configuration. Fun toys of all kinds, every direction you look.


Here Tim Ruhl talks about a T-34 that is in for a spar carry though inspection and installation of a dual load path strap and connection doublers which were invented and certified by GAMI.

As these airplanes are used for mock aerial combat, they often get substantial and repetitive flight loads, which had led to a couple of problems in the field. GAMI engineering was applied to create a solution to this problem, saving the fleet from serious restrictions and limitations.


At the other end of the facility, here George talks to a group about the range of fuels which is available at the engine test facility.

The blue barrels are special fuels which have been mixed up to test aircraft engine operation using some of the options being considered for the replacement of 100 LL. They are plumbed into the test cells and can be selected with a flip of a switch.


Here George explains the test cell from the noisy side of the wall. A Piper Navajo engine is mounted in the cell, swinging a club propeller, which is shielded by a metal ring. George shared that this ring is actually a big round hay bale fence from the local farm supply store, but works great in this application.

The large tube coming down from the ceiling is cooling air for the engine, ducted in that fashion so it can be tightly controlled, allowing the engine to be run at worst case temperatures when needed.

Controls and instruments surround the engine, allowing measurement of every parameter and control of every element of the environment.


In the control room, on the quiet side of the well, George starts up the engine and puts it through its paces for the group. With this instrumentation we could watch the pressure curve for every combustion event, watch the detonation and explore any condition of flight that we may choose.

Just as this sinks in, George reminds us that he can do this using any fuel. He puts the engine in a challenging state and switches in low octane fuel, and we can watch the engine struggle.

He also demonstrated some new gadgets they are working on that automatically adjust the engine to conditions. The testing, and the learning that it brings, it truly remarkable.


In yet another section of the facility we're walked through the manufacture of parts for the Cardinal Turbo system, as seen to the right. These pretty blue hoses are all required for the turbo installation, which seems like a few big parts stitched together with oil lines.

We were able to visit the welding areas to see how the exhaust systems are build and welded, as well as visiting the prototyping shop where new black boxes (the same ones we had seen operating in the test cell) are but together.

We also got to see where they make injectors from scratch, no longer just measuring or adjusting injectors from the engine manufacturers.



TATI has made a number of modifications to the Turbo system since it has come under their ownership, not the least of which is the intercooler system seen to the right.

Many of the pipes seen here are related to the movement of air through the intercooler and back to the engine, as well as the louvers that make the Turbo Cardinal easy to spot on the ramp.

The Cardinal Cruiser turbo system lets you flight high and fast, attaining true airspeeds around 177 knots while getting you over the bumps and most weather. It's a great upgrade for the Cardinal, especially if you fly in the mountains, although even flatlanders can make good use of this enhancement.


Here Tim demonstrates one of the first pieces of equipment build by GAMI: the calibration bench for their injectors.

While simple in appearance, this bench controls the many factors that can impact injector flow to provide an outstanding degree of accuracy in flow measurement. Using the system, GAMI can send you a set of injectors which will allow your engine to run in balance, such that all cylinders will peak at the same fuel flow.

This, of course, allows for smooth operation lean of peak, and is well worth the cost in terms of clean, efficient engine operation. If you don't have them on your RG, you should.


After our tours it was time for lunch!

We traveled across ADA to the technical college facility and were treated to an outstanding BBQ lunch. It was very difficult to go hungry at this CFO event.

Our purpose for the afternoon is pretty simple: listen to George! He has promised us a brief introduction to the Advanced Pilot seminar, a multi-day session which teaches attendees the inner details about how their engines run, and how to run them.


The session starts with science... how does the engine run? Cycles, measurements, theory of operation... why do we think as do we about engines? What is correct, what is not?

George spins quite a web of information as he talked, not only explaining the facts but also how they were arrived at, theorized about, understood incorrectly and often documented inaccurately.

Then he pulls it all together and fills in the blanks, leaving attendees with not only a clear understanding of the facts, but also a clear understanding of alternate points of view and what they are missing.


As this all unfolds he works through the clues which are available to the pilot: CHT, ETG and so on. what do they mean and how to they interrelate?

We learn about things we were taught that have since been found to be incorrect, and why.

As the information flows over you, and starts to sink in, things start to make a lot more sense.

As you can see in the picture to the right, a large room full of people found no reason to fidget as the afternoon unfolded. ada10_076.jpg

Now that we have the clues in mind, and an understanding of how the engine is really working, what do we seen to optimize? Where is the sweet spot, and where is the danger?

This too is revealed, with specific indications about what we should do and what we should not do. Strangely, many of the things we have been taught are on the 'not to do' list, and understanding why may be the best benefit of this course.

When asked, George indicated that a large group for the full session could gain a discount, something we'll be pursuing in the near future.


There was also time for a little fun... click on this image to get the full story on process variations based on gender.

George has a fun and engaging speaking style, moving from Indian law to the federal bureaucracy and back to fuels theory so smoothly that it all seems perfectly natural.

If you get the opportunity to attend this session you'll find it well worth the time, money and effort.


Dinner brought us to downtown Ada and a nice little Mexican restaurant on main street.

With an all-we-could-eat table of outstanding dishes and flavors, we were again reminded how difficult it would be to remain hungry at this event.


Morning brought a favorite of our CFO events, the airport walk-around where each owner gets a few minutes to talk about their airplane, boast about the cool things and ask for help on the mysteries.

It was a full day,but informative on several levels. As has been mentioned before, the overall quality and excellence of the airplanes brought to these events has been on the rise for some time, and this event was no exception.

In this picture, Dick Zuley shares the story of his airplane, recently purchased and flown to this event as his first time away from his local area. It's really fun to watch new people discover what their Cardinal can do for them.


Our walkaround proceeded, in time, to include the ones which GAMI had pulled into their shop to help out owners in need. Paul had recently come from an extended service event, and the mechanics at GAMI found several interesting things to address.

There is very little in our flying lives more important than really smart mechanics and engineers who really understand this stuff.


As the morning wrapped up there was plenty of time to wander around and discuss the morning's learnings with our fellow Flyers. It was a perfect day in every regard, and folks seemed reluctant to move to the next phase of the program.

In time, though, we loaded the busses for yet another facility and another great lunch.


After lunch, George introduced Monty Barrett, his favorite engine expert, for an extended question and answer session.

It was very interesting to get not only the combined experience of these two experts, but to listen to where they took the questions, and the interplay between them.

Stories were told, theories explained and a few secrets shared. Now that the group had been let in on the secret of the scientific approach to engine operation, there is still a lot to learn.

Once George and Monty had left for other commitments, Paul and Keith took over to discuss various airframe and related subject. The afternoon flew by and soon it was time to prepare for dinner.



Our destination for our final evening together was the Ada country club, a very nice (and very new) facility just down the street.

The lounge was relaxing, the porch inviting (see next picture) and the food smelled great. Too soon we were seated and treated to a prime rib dinner, where it again remained impossible to stay hungry.

ada10_098.jpg ada10_096.jpg


Then the time came for awards and a group conversation about our week.


We started with profound thank you's for Tim, George and ???, our gracious hosts for this event.

They clearly pulled out all the stops for us, and the result was a truly outstanding flyin. If you missed it, you missed a lot!

Then came the time for awards:



Gary Lacher won the 'Most Recent GAMI Owner' award.



Paul won the 'Owned GAMI's the longest' award, guess he was there at the beginning!


Richard Frye flew furthest, from the Bay area in California


Paul Diamond was a close second from New Hampshire

Dick Zuley most recent owner Fledgling Award ada10_110.jpg
Hard Luck award, Rogers Fadden who stopped along the way to resolve an issue with a flat tire, and lost an alternator and transponder on the way to the show. But he pressed on and made it to the show, so a well deserved award for Rogers. ada10_112.jpg


Bob Dell received the Most Cardinal Time 2600 hours



Newest Pilot, Al Jung, June 4th 2010



And the grand prize winner, for the Peoples' Choice Nicest Cardinal went to Will Smith

We took another picture so that Will's son Levi could also be in the picture. I think he was more excited than his dad! But there were other reasons for that. Let me explain further. ada10_120.jpg

One of the highlights of the evening was a somewhat impromptu suggestion by George that we should have a raffle, with the proceeds to go the ADA PAWs chapter, dedicated to helping animals.

The prize was to be a morning ride with George in his T-34. After spirited bidding, the prize was taken by Will Smith for his son Levi.

As you may know, Levi suffers from Cerebral Palsy which made this ride a special thing not only for Levi but for George as well.





As the following pictures show, a good time was had by all. If you'd like to see more about this eventful and emotional flight, please check out this page.

ada10_126.jpg ada10_128.jpg
The following public comments about the flyin have been entered:

We had a great time at Ada, thanks to everyone who came and made it a wonderful visit.

Enter your public comments here: (Please include your name)

Enter any private comments to the flyin coordinators here:

Here are the airplanes which were in attendance at this event:

n1246c a.jpg n1246c p 7350.jpg
n1455c a.jpg n1455c p 7333.jpg
n1590h a.jpg n1590h p 7342.jpg
n1596h a.jpg n1596h p 7361.jpg
n177ja a.jpg n177ja p 7331.jpg
n177kj a.jpg n177kj p 7334.jpg
n177kp a.jpg n177kp p 7343.jpg
n177sv a.jpg n177sv p 7329.jpg
n20223 a.jpg n20223 p 7347.jpg
n2131q a.jpg n2131q p 7341.jpg
n2530v a.jpg n2530v p 7354.jpg
n254km a.jpg n254km p 7327.jpg
n2725v a.jpg n2725v p 7335.jpg
n272st a.jpg n272st p 7328.jpg
n29563 a.jpg n29563 p 7345.jpg
n30637 a.jpg n30637 p 7352.jpg
n34030 a.jpg n34030 p 7364.jpg
n34206 a.jpg n34206 p 7365.jpg
n35007 a.jpg n35007 p 7346.jpg
n399jp a.jpg n399jp p 7336.jpg
n45359 a.jpg n45359 p 7362.jpg
n53152 a.jpg n53152 p 7332.jpg
n567wc a.jpg n567wc p 7351.jpg
n658sr a.jpg n658sr p 7363.jpg
n7546v a.jpg n7546v p 7344.jpg
n7568v a.jpg n7568v p 7330.jpg
n8200g a.jpg n8200g p 7349.jpg
n8828y a.jpg n8828y p 7355.jpg
n995vz a.jpg n995vz p 7339.jpg
xn177nc p 7348.jpg xn177sd p 7358.jpg
xn3297t a.jpg xn34807 a guess 7283.jpg
xn34944 a.jpg xn552k a.jpg

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