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Most recent entry: 2006-07-04 12:41:00 -- Generated on 2014-07-06 07:03:37 by Rig3 0.4-440

This is a collection of my blog entries and experiences with flying, and learning to fly. Something I had been wanting to do for quite a while.
You can find all the pictures I've taken here, and read below for my experience:

Table of Content for flying:



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2006/07/04 Get-Home-A-Tis: Flying back from Visalia
π 2006-07-04 12:41 by Merlin in Flying

After a 3 day hike and dinner, we ended up at Visalia Airport on monday night (July 3rd) around 20:15. I went to preflight the plane after we had just dropped the rental car keys in the Enterprise lockbox.
Small problem: the motor would crank as soon as the master switch came on (key was not even in the dashboard).

I elected to start the engine, which went ok, and tried to see if by any chance it would disable the cranking.
I looked in the POH for the crank motor diagram and it doesn't show any fuse unfortunately (that's lame, you'd think that there would be a disable fuse for that)
The ammeter showed a charge, which is what I expected with the alternator running and I then came to guess that the crank motor had stopped, otherwise I would have gotten a discharge. I found out later that this assumption was incorrect and the ammeter didn't actually include the starter motor draw, so the alternator was likely charging the battery while the battery was discharging 10 times faster trying to keep the crank motor running (there as no good way to know that it was still actually running)
So, I continued preflight, but a short time later, the avionics go dead. Sure enough, the battery died and the crank motor must have still been running.

The engine was still running of course, and I'm now on a taxiway with no lights, no avionics, and thinking what will happen if I shut the engine down:
  • stuck in a deserted airport
  • no car since I just gave the keys back and there is no one from entreprise that could be called at this hour
  • even if I slept overnight, the next day, July 4th, didn't seem like a great day for getting a mechanic in a deserted place. Even enterprise where I dropped the keys would be closed too, so I couldn't drive home.
  • just to make matters better, I had a surgery scheduled 2 days later, and I really didn't want to miss it as I had been waiting for it for months

I also had with me:
  • one handheld GPS that was already setup to point towards PAO
  • 2 handheld radios, one NAV capable
  • several battery powered lights

Against me:
  • I wasn't feeling my top
  • it was dark
  • no landing lights, nav lights, or flaps
  • no xpander for Charlie transition or ducking under Bravo towards PAO

Like any pilot, I have been trained in flapless landings and had just done a few a few days prior, and also had trained in light-less landings. So, if you add the additional handheld avionics I had (I was really only missing a transponder and navlights), it was very tempting to go instead of being stranded in BFE over July 4th and likely miss my surgery on the 5th.

The temptation to go home was strong, but in the end, just too many things were stacked up against me, and I especially did not like the fact that I had no engine gauges working (fuel / CHT / EGT / oil) to warn me of any separate problem that could have happened. I also really didn't like the idea of gliding to an emergency field at night with no lights and a handheld radio. And of course, doing that flight wouldn't have been legal anyway, so I taxied back to parking.

Luckily, at least I had a bunch of hardware and toys with me, starting with a new cell phone battery, which allowed me to call a coworker, who nicely agreed to come pick us up the next day. Turns out however that I didn't have to call on this favour as I had even more luck: a pilot had just landed and was tying down his plane. He was nice enough to drive us to the closest hotel, pick us up the next morning, and fly us to PAO (he was too tired to do it that night, which was fine with me).
I got to fly a portion of the flight in his 180hp V-tail Beech B35. Weird beast to say the least (3 separate fuel tanks, one fuel gauge, and no electric fuel pump), but lots of payload apparently (4 people plus 120lbs of luggage in the back)
A few pictures are here

The faulty C172XP is still sitting at Visalia, waiting for a mechanic to fly over, or being looked at by a local mechanic, but at this point, it's not my problem anymore :)
Too bad this 172XP seems to have a few quirks like this, because it flies a great 130-135kt, had good payload, and is only $112/h (quirks = broken fuel and CHT gauges during my last 2 flights in it, although they have been fixed)

More pages: March 1999 May 2004 August 2004 December 2004 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 September 2007 October 2007 December 2007 April 2008 May 2008 July 2008 August 2008 November 2008 March 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 March 2010 May 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 November 2010 March 2011 April 2011 July 2011 November 2011 January 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 April 2013 June 2013 July 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 June 2014