About Demetri Capetanopoulos

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So far Demetri Capetanopoulos has created 10 blog entries.

Little Big Stuff – Worthy Add-Ons

It’s an old joke, that the way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start with a large fortune, but the truth is, there is no shortage of upgrades, accessories, and associated gear that airplane owners can spend money on.  The utility, essentiality, and value of such contrivances can be the subject of endless hangar debate, but I will share the ones I have found to be the most worthy. As hard as it is to believe, there are some instances where modern [...]


Little Big Stuff – Troubleshooting Misadventures

I have always found troubleshooting to be an enjoyable challenge in applying logic.  It requires fashioning a path of investigation through a malfunctioning system that systematically checks every possible cause of a problem, preferably progressing in steps beginning with the least intrusive and expensive.  That’s the general theory, although a slightly alternative approach could progress from most to least likely, regardless of other factors.  Whatever the case, discipline and diligence are key, both in adhering to the plan, and in interpreting the results of each [...]


Little Big Stuff – A Light Touch

In the process of learning to fly, we come to regard our aircraft as pretty stout machines.  After all, airframe hours are tracked into the thousands, and occasions of pilots younger than the planes they are operating are more common than not.  As if to prove the point, we are taught that normal category aircraft are certificated to handle 3.8 times their weight downward (positive) and 1.52 times their weight upward (negative) and that those in the utility category can withstand far more.  If we [...]


Creating the Friendship Flyer – The Avionics

Avionics was the third step in the three-year upgrade plan to create the Friendship Flyer, which had been originally conceived with more than enough margin to meet the ADS-B deadline.  An unplanned engine repair consumed both funds and schedule, but with a year still remaining before the mandate came into force, I was able to exploit the FAA rebate and schedule a shop during the optimal winter down-time.  In this case the work would be done by TRM Aviation, located at Ross County Airport (KRZT).  [...]


Little Big Stuff – Thermal Management

As pilots, there are many operating requirements and guidelines that we follow regardless of the degree to which we appreciate the engineering limitations that prescribe them.  Among the ones with the most serious consequence are those related to the loads placed on the airframe and the thermal conditions the engine is subjected to.  Sensitivity to weight and balance, respecting turbulent or icing conditions, and refraining from heavy-handed actions like full deflection of control surfaces are among the wisdom pilots quickly take to heart to avoid [...]


Creating the Friendship Flyer – The Exterior

The transformation of N116HR from a former State Highway Patrol aircraft, now in routine flying club service, into an airborne tribute to Ohio’s aviation heritage, would largely be visualized with a new paint scheme.  It was a fun challenge to try and give a nod to as many legendary connections as possible while crafting a design that was uniquely appealing yet classically tasteful.  Red wings and the arrow (re-interpreted in blue) were preserved from the original patrol scheme.  The tapering red, white, and blue striping [...]


A Word About Engines and Overhauls

My first real mistake as an owner was the management of the airplanes first overhaul (though cynics might point, instead, to the decision to purchase an airplane in the first place).  It was the unplanned result of finding significant metal in the oil filter during a routine annual and naturally it happened in the middle of the prime flying season.  I had limited time to personally oversee the repair and my overriding concern was to make the airplane operational again as soon as possible; setting [...]


Little Big Stuff – Preheat

In our training, we are taught the need for preheating the engine when outside temperatures drop below freezing.  Given the attention paid to oil temperature on start up, and observing my flight instructors occasionally turn the prop over by hand to “limber up” the oil, I suspect that like many pilots I assumed preheat was mostly about oil viscosity.  My education took a giant leap forward a year into ownership, when the explanation given for why my relatively youthful engine would suddenly start shedding metal [...]


Creating the Friendship Flyer – The Interior

From the beginning the plan was to not only restore the condition of the aircraft but to turn N116HR into a flying tribute to Ohio’s aviation heritage with all the work being done by shops throughout the state.  I started with the interior and turned to one of the best in the business, Dennis and Cynthia Wolter at Air Mod, located at Clermont County Airport (I69).  Their experience was invaluable in selecting durable upholstery finishes and sensible improvements.  With FAA Supplemental Type Certificates to extend [...]


Thoughts About Buying an Airplane

Before deciding to take the plunge into ownership, I had been renting and flying airplanes for twenty years and so had good reason to think I was embarking upon this adventure with eyes wide open. Probably every pilot harbors the dream of owning an airplane, but my desire had been sharpened by countless encounters with well-loved, but cosmetically challenged aircraft sporting any number of system design and operating quirks. With an uptick in charity flights for LifeLine Pilots, I was starting to average over 100 [...]

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