Showing posts from March, 2006

Busting the needle

Today I took a break from programming ForeFlight Desktop 2.0 to get some time aloft. I went out with no plan (after checking for TFRs, of course). I preflighted and hopped in. I flooded the engine at start, but once she belched out the excess gas she ran just fine. I had to clear the right mag again, but that was easy enough. I practiced a new taxi leaning technique I read in a magazine recently: lean at 1500 RPM until the engine starts to sputter, then richen it just enough to smooth it out. That's it. It has two benefits - 1) you save gas/plugs 2) if you forget to go full rich on takeoff the engine will tell you immediately as you throttle up by threatening to cut off. I took off and did a few figure 8s over my house and office - simple goofing off. I put some positive Gs in and a few negatives. I kept hearing this sound like the stall horn coming on momentarily. Eventually I realized it was the tachometer freaking out and making the high pitch grinding sound we noti

2nd failed attempt at getting night current

Last Thursday I went out to the airport, a 30 minute drive, expecting to hop into 3RV and go for a little flight in order to get current to carry passengers at night. However, as we drove out in the courtesy van to go to the airplane, we had trouble finding it. Well, until we looked in the maintenance hangar. Seems it was getting its intercom worked on and nobody bothered to tell the front desk. With no other planes available, I drove the 30 minutes back home. Today I went for round 2. I made sure the airplane was out of maintenance and booked it for 6pm. This time I got as far as the end of runway 7, where a engine run-up showed some roughness on the left magnetos. No problem, I’ll just clear them by running at higher RPMs with a lean mixture for a bit. I tried that technique (which has worked a few times for me before) about 3 or 4 times with no improvement in the performance of the left mag. I would see a 200-250 RPM drop when using just the left mag (no more than 150 RPM dr

Rockin and Rollin

This weekend we flew 250 nm away to visit with family. We left early Saturday morning in an attempt to get to the destination before the winds cranked up. Unfortunately the cold weather caused delays - we needed to remove a little frost but more time consuming than that was the fact that the fuel cap on the left wing was frozen shut. The 1968 C-172i we fly has a terrible design for the fuel cap - it has what amounts to a mote around it that catches and holds water. Not only is it very helpful for getting water in the tanks (that's a BAD thing) but in this case the water in the mote had frozen solid, trapping the cap in the process. K ran back to the terminal to get some hot water from the tap. Using that I was able to finally free the cap, allowing me to verify the amount of fuel. Here it is with no water in it: After nearly running the battery out of juice we were able to crank up the engine. We taxied out to the runway and during the run-up found that the right mag was runnin

Flying off into the sunset?

My wife recently expressed interest in going for another sunset flight. Not being one to deny my wife, especially when it involves flying, I decided it was time to get night current again. What does this mean? It means I need to go out to the airport and make at least 3 landings - full-stop (not a simple touch and go) - after around 7:15pm (one hour after sunset). It's been a while since our last night flight (Dec 2004) and the max you can go while still being considered current is 90 days. Since I am renting airplanes with which I have little experience, I started wondering if they were legal for night flight. So I decided it was a good time to triple-check the FAA regs (FARs) on the requirements for night flight (in good weather). Here they are for good measure ( FAR 91.205 ): Position lights. An anti-collision light. If the aircraft is operated for hire, one electric landing light. An adequate source of electrical energy for all installed electrical and radio equipment. One


Not able to land your Cessna 152 on that 2000' foot runway? Maybe NASA will rent you theirs!

Run-aways steal, then crash Daddy's airplane

My wife pointed me to this article today. I'm surprised the kids made it out alive.