Some Details

The plane has had two taxi tests. I posted about that already, but I left out some of the gritty details.

The Tailwheel: I have been worried about the tailwheel for several years. Scott had to reuild it once on our way to Burningman and there have been a couple more instances of concern with the old tailwheel. I did research, but could not come up with much using the original stinger. Then came Ephraim! He solved the issue in just a few days by working with the designer of the T3 tailwheel. He was able to modify it for my plane using the original and modified stinger. So cool!

New tailwheel

The tailwheel put on by Ray was sub-par. Not only that, but the stinger was installed with the bend going the wrong direction. Who knows what issues that would have caused in the future. This just underscores that Ray’s shop is incompetent on top of their shady business practices.

The new tailwheel is a great match for the landing gear! It’s also installed at the correct angle, with the correct bend, and will be beefy and ready for the fun places CM is going this summer and beyond.

The Rudder Pedals:

Inside the plane, as soon as I put my feet on the rudder pedals, something felt “off”. Ephraim was in the passnger seat, and since he had never been in the plane with me before, didn’t realize the rudder pedal issue. When we taxied the first day, I kept saying that the rudder pedals didn’t feel right. The brakes were funky and turning one direction was just not possible. Of course, this is why taxi tests are necessary, and Ephraim said he would get to the root of the problem.

What he discovered came to me in a text “Rebuilt the rudder pedal system per the manual. It was not even close to being correct”. What????!!!! So Ray had put together the rudder pedals completely incorrectly. OMG. Thank goodness I got my plane out of there! I am still trying to figure out how to warn others about him. At first, it was just his overcharging and holding me hostage. Now, it’s a safety issue and much more serious…..but more on that later.

Taxi Test number two had the rudder pedals in the correct place and WOW what a difference. They moved freely, the brakes worked great, and boy am I dying to fly!!

Happiness is: rudder pedals that feel “right”

Other Stuff:

There are a few other items Ephraim has found that were incorrect such as bolts that were the wrong size, belts that didn’t fit, and more. Ugh. So hard to pay so much for such shoddy work. I shudder thinking of flying the plane without the close eye of Ephraim. It could have ended very badly.

Yet to go:

What’s left is finishing up the annual. The compression is low on cylinder #2 and #4. I am hoping that’s just because it has been sitting. Ephraim found two cracks in the fuselage where the flaps connect. The floor under the rudder pedals needed some beefing up as well. Those fixes shouldn’t be too daunting. The transponder antanae broke off and a new one is on the way. The weight and balance is still to come. We need to wait until all is back together. I can’t wait to see what CM weighs after all of this work. We are so close! I hope to get to fly next week.

I’m so lucky to have found Ephraim. Charlie Mike will be (is) a MUCH better airplane because of him. I owe a debt of gratitude for the Facebook group Flights Above the Pacific Northwest, Justin and Faisel who all led me to Ephraim’s doorstep. He’s a man of details who does great work. I am so lucky he had time for us!

Never boring

Today is Scott’s sixty second birthday. I often think about all of the life he is missing. Of course, it makes me sad for him to be missing out. It also gives me (even more) reason to live a full life. I’m trying to honor him by living out what I know would be his wish for me: keep living a life full of love, adventure and meaning.

I am certainly trying! Since off the river, I have had so much to do! First, 243CM moved (again) to it’s final assembly location. Things are moving forward at bread neck speed! I wish I had found Ephraim a year ago…..and wow, better late than never.

Leaving Chewelah
It has wings!
A new tailwheel system!

Yesterday, I went to the hangar and installed the VG’s on my wings. While I was working away on the front, Ephraim was inventing a new tailwheel system. He is amazing! The tailwheel has been an area of concern for me and I have been wanting to beef up what originally existed. Voila! Ephraim saw what was there and immediately went to work designing something better, beefier and more solid! It’s a T3 combined with a Scott wheel. We are thinking about asking Tony (TK1 racing) to design a shock to replace the springs, but that can come later. The springs will work great! I love it!

Black bear saying hello

The weather was fabulous on Friday and Saturday. Gerrick and Michael Lee invited me to go backcounrty skiing with them. Our objectives were Ruby Mt (Friday) and Washington Pass Birthday tour (Sat). We were not the only people with the idea to head to Washington Pass. There were lots of people, and we had lots of fun. Ruby was a bit longer than we were able to get done Friday, but Saturday Gerrick and I knocked out the birthday tour. The snow was classic NW mashed potatoes, but the journey was joyful. Gerrick learned a ton and did a great job.

Ruby Mountain
Ross Lake

What a week! The plane is moving forward, ski turns before the snow is gone, and taking a moment to celebrate Scott’s birthday keeps my heart full. Life is anything but boring. Scott must be smiling, just what he would love for his birthday.


The Grand Canyon was amazing! Some highlights were: hiking the many trails and canyons, spending time with an amazing team, and rowing Lava!

Gramd Canyon 2021
Such a special place. I love the Grand Canyon.

I am ever so grateful to Lynn for putting this trip together, to Mike for acting as our de-facto leader, and to Lisa for being my river sister.

Early morning row to Havasupai. Lisa, Mike and Andy (in the hat).

Being away from all electronics for three full weeks was such a treat. Something I want to repeat often. Mostly, I cannot wait to go back to the Grand Canyon, assigned to my own boat, so I can row all of the rapids. Whoot!!