If you fly in IMC for much at
all, please consider some form of Voltmeter indicator or
alternator out annunciation light
for your panel.
Early warning of an alternator failure or bus
voltage problem BEFORE the battery is DEAD is very helpful, IMHO.
Lots of panel mounted GPS and engine monitors
have voltage monitoring built into them. Even the popular Garmin portables will
read bus voltage when plugged into the cigarette lighter port.
Download the VA-1A Voltmeter
OK, let's say you don't have the panel space
for a dedicated Voltmeter. Bonanza owner and Beech lister Brad H. elected to
install an over/under voltage indicator light from
Aircraft Spruce PN: 07-06830
This will give him a great early warning
visual "clue" that something is amiss with his electrical system. Good Call
Big airplane saving tip
follows: If you experience an alternator failure in flight (and don't know how
long you were without charging cause you don't have a voltmeter or alternator
out light), AND you insist on extending the gear with the battery - PLEASE give a check of the
crank counterclockwise to confirm that you have a FULL extension and only about
1/4 turn to the mechanical stop of the transmission sector gear.
This could be a big-time save of a gear
collapse as a result of not being fully down AND locked.
When your plane
is on jacks sometime and the gear is down, give a few turns of the crank
CLOCKWISE and see how few turns it takes to break the nose gear down lock arm
from over center. You really want to make sure, via the crank, that your
weakened battery got the gear completely down.