I didn’t do any RV flying or maintenance work in the last week. We had two days of quite dreadful weather as a major winter storm went through mid-week. Yesterday the weather was very nice, but I couldn’t get away due to Christmas party duties. We went to a work Christmas party last night, and it had a pot-luck format. Terry shouldn’t be doing any major cooking right now (she isn’t supposed to attempt to look down while those two neck vertebrae fuse). So, I got Shanghaied to do most of the work to make a big batch of Beef Bourguignon, under very close supervision from Terry, who is an excellent cook. It was a lot of work, but the result turned out very well.

I did spend quite a bit of time researching various options to have the aircraft engine nicely preheated when I arrive at the hangar. At the moment, I plug in the Reiff preheat system after arrival, but it takes much longer than I would like to warm things up. Some folks leave the preheater plugged in all winter, but I’ve heard too many stories about this practice causing condensation inside the engine which may lead to significant corrosion. Reiff sells a very nice Beeper Box, which is triggered by a cell phone or pager, but it costs almost $400, and you need to supply your own cell phone or pager. I decided that I could make an equivalent device for much cheaper, plus it would be an interesting project.

I still have ideas about making a pitch axis autopilot using a Parallax Propeller microcontroller (EiED article). I’ve ordered a Propeller CPU to use for this preheat remote controller. The Propeller is overkill for this task, but using it will give me a headstart on learning how it works. I hope to have the remote preheat controller working in a month or so. If it works, I’ll publish a How-To somewhere.