My flight club asked us what what had learned from our flying experiences and could share with other club members. This is what I wrote:
learning from different CFIs is not always a good idea since they don't know what you did or did not learn from their colleagues.|
Case in point: when we got our first G1000 airplane, a while ago, I was not taught that the G1000 had to have its fuel level manually set (it's now more obvious and in the startup screens when you start the avionics).
As a result, I went on a flight where the G1000 was telling me I was running out of fuel when the analog gauges disagreed. It could have been the other way around where the G1000 could have thought I had more fuel than I really had on the analog gauges.
Lesson learned: go with the lowest fuel reading just in case, and beware of learning aircraft systems from multiple CFIs
At least on the mooney 231, there are 2 light switches that are not wired to the master switch. This means that they'll drain the battery down after you turn the masters off.
One of the switches is inconveniently located in the baggage compartment where you can easily knock it on while taking off your luggage at an airport without an AP or any kind of spare startup power.
(I got lucky, I got a jump from a car with an AP power cable lent to us by a turboprop that had just landed, although I lost several hours, got very lucky not to be stranded any longer, and it cost me a new battery for the plane).
Lesson learned: had it been my plane that light switch would have been glued in the off position.
learn to start a hot plane, or learn that some won't start even with hot start procedures without a clear risk of draining the battery (TB20 is a culprit there). I once landed at SMO and was told after I had shut down the plane that I couldn't park in transient because they were resurfacing (I had made calls to the FBO on their frequency before shutting down, but they went unanswered so I just shut down). I tried to restart the plane after cooling the fuel lines down by injecting fuel with 0 throttle, but even that trick did not do it. Eventually I told them I was sorry but that I could not move the plane and would not drain the battery trying.
(incidently their tow cart did not have the two hook that fit that plane, so they were not able to move it either and had to work around it). Plane started fine when I came back the next day.
Landed in Fernley, just south-east of Reno in March. We got hail on the track I was racing at and I was unable to make a safe flight back home due to IFR conditions, icing and high tops. I tried to time the weather, work with real time weather I had via XM but could not find a time window that felt safe. I ended up hitching a ride home with one of the drivers and it took 6 days before the weather was good enough to bring the plane back safely (SR22).
It is regrettable that WVFC (my club) doesn't have some kind of insurance that covers the cost of getting the plane back later since there is some financial pressure on the renter to try and bring the plane back him/herself, but I'll never regret not having attempted that flight, it was way too risky.
I don't regret not making that flight any more than not making the flight where I attempted to get home from Visalia at night and where I lost all electrical on ground after starting the engine due to a stuck starter on July 3rd after having dropped the rental car keys in the lockbox. I knew I'd be screwed on the ground with no rental car, no cabs, and no one to fix the plane for at least 2 days but taking off just wasn't a good idea (I got lucky, a landing pilot gave me a ride to a hotel and flew us home to PAO the next morning).
I went to Shelter Cove (0Q5), and was on VFR flight following. I told the controller as I was lowering on the ocean side of the mountains and that if I lost him, I'd squawk VFR (something he would typically have done).
Once on the ground, some police/ranger came to meet me on the runway to make sure I was ok. The controller apparently didn't get my call or the calls I tried to get relayed from the ground from other planes I could hear while on the ground.
Aviate came first (it was a challenging landing which worked out fine, but required all my attention), and by the time I tried to communicate, it was too late, I was out of reach of the controller's radios. I guess next time, I'll talk to the controller earlier and just cancel flight following if there is a risk that I'll lose him.
Unfortunately with the current club setup, on 3 separate occasions, I showed up for an after hours flight and the logbook wasn't in the lockbox due to various mistakes when printing the schedule and putting the keys in the lockbox.
Luckily, each time I was eventually able to find a CFI who happened to come back to the club, had keys, and was able to get me the logbook.
What I learned: nothing really useful. Just be prepared that you may not get to where you were planning on going if the keys are missing, or your plane fails preflight and you have no way to get keys to another free plane.