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Flight 42 - Almost there....

Posted 12-21-2015 at 02:35 PM by n122vu
Updated 12-21-2015 at 02:38 PM by n122vu

11/20 This was my last solo cross-country, destination KCUL. The plan was simple, the flight straightforward - take off & fly to KCUL, getting flight following from KEVV & transitioning the Charlie airspace, and do the same on the way back to KHNB, which if the winds were as forecast and close to what DUATS was estimating, should put me just over the 1.9 hours of solo time I needed.

Well, I could make this a long post about every detail of the flight, but honestly it was pretty cut and dry. I landed at KCUL and checked the Hobbs. I was less than halfway, still needing 1.2 hours. I made better ground speed than I'd estimated. With a tail wind on the way back, I made even better time. I did a couple touch-and-gos before my full-stop landing to get a little more time in, not knowing if anyone had the plane after me, but in the end I was 0.2 hours short.

The line worker directed me to park near the pumps so he could refuel her. After shut down I gathered my things and headed inside to fill out the tach sheet. I called my CFI and let him know I was a bit shy of the needed time. He said no one had the plane, so I should just go back up and work on landings or whatever I wanted to.

So I went back out to the hangar & had the line worker pull her back out (he'd even closed the door). After she was back out, he closed the door again and let me know he was heading to lunch.

I did another preflight, climbed back up in the seat, continued my checklist, and got ready to start. I yelled, "clear," and turned the key. I was greeted with silence. I tried again, thinking maybe I didn't push the ignition in far enough, & verified I'd turned the Master switches on. Nothing. A third attempt, and I was greeted with a strange, high-pitched moan from under the cowling. That was enough to tell me I wouldn't be getting my .2 hours in today.

I called my CFI back, and let him know I couldn't get it started. He said he was afraid I might have trouble with it, they'd been having problems with it the last few days. That would have been good information to have before I made my cross-country flight, I honestly might have called no-go. But , at any rate, I was that much closer to being done with all of my requirements.

So, we made plans to meet the following week if the plane was repaired in time. I would do a few minutes of solo flight then pick him up and we'd work on accuracy landings and stalls.

Oh and he called me back later in the evening. Turns out the starter was complete toast. They had to order a new one, and it should be in by Tuesday. Great, maybe the photon torpedoes will be on board by then as well.

Two Victor Uniform, clear of Two-Seven.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Artlav's Avatar
    Is it possible to start a modern Cessna-sized plane by hand?
    That is, the old-fashioned yank the propeller while in gear technique?

    If yes, is it something safe enough to be done outside of the stranded-in-the-bush scenarios?
    Posted 12-21-2015 at 04:20 PM by Artlav Artlav is offline
  2. Old Comment
    MaverickSawyer's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Artlav View Comment
    Is it possible to start a modern Cessna-sized plane by hand?
    That is, the old-fashioned yank the propeller while in gear technique?

    If yes, is it something safe enough to be done outside of the stranded-in-the-bush scenarios?
    It's a pain in the ass on anything bigger than a 150/152. They're six cylinder engines, and have higher compression, so it's very hard to get it right. I would say that hand propping one is a last-ditch approach to start the engine.
    Posted 12-21-2015 at 04:51 PM by MaverickSawyer MaverickSawyer is offline
  3. Old Comment
    n122vu's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Artlav View Comment
    Is it possible to start a modern Cessna-sized plane by hand?
    That is, the old-fashioned yank the propeller while in gear technique?

    If yes, is it something safe enough to be done outside of the stranded-in-the-bush scenarios?
    Yes, and in fact my CFI told me once how to do it, demonstrated the hand-propping motion, though it was sometime last year. He told me the steps to perform inside the cockpit to prep for the hand-prop. He said if you were ever somewhere and the starter went out, you could do it in a pinch. I suspect if the line worker or mechanic had been around they might have even tried for me.

    This possibility is in fact why we always triple-check that the magnetos are off before we move the prop to attach the tow bar. Last think you want to do is to turn the prop and have it catch & the engine fire while you're not prepared.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MaverickSawyer View Comment
    It's a pain in the ass on anything bigger than a 150/152. They're six cylinder engines, and have higher compression, so it's very hard to get it right. I would say that hand propping one is a last-ditch approach to start the engine.
    Ours is a 4-cylinder, Lycoming O-300 140 hp, so it might have been easier. Key word there being 'might.'
    Posted 12-21-2015 at 05:24 PM by n122vu n122vu is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Fabri91's Avatar
    Nice read and good luck with your checkride!

    One thing I don't really understand is how GA engines seem to be stuck in the 50s/60s, technology wise: for any recent car it would be almost unthinkable for the engine not to start on the first try even after weeks under the rain.
    Posted 12-21-2015 at 05:42 PM by Fabri91 Fabri91 is offline
  5. Old Comment
    n122vu's Avatar
    Thanks

    As far as the engine tech, I completely agree. Well, I'll add one bit of info that I'm also going to include in the next blog post - they replaced the starter with a heavy-duty one. She starts in 1-2 cranks now, tops. It's pretty sweet.
    Posted 12-21-2015 at 07:04 PM by n122vu n122vu is offline
  6. Old Comment
    mojoey's Avatar
    You should have called this one Flight 42: The $100 Hamburger On The Other End Of The Universe
    Posted 12-22-2015 at 01:52 AM by mojoey mojoey is offline
  7. Old Comment
    MaverickSawyer's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fabri91 View Comment
    Nice read and good luck with your checkride!

    One thing I don't really understand is how GA engines seem to be stuck in the 50s/60s, technology wise...
    Two ways of looking at this:
    1. Institutional inertia: the FAA is VERY resistant to change.
    2. Proven technology: There's been a respectable track record of success with these engines. The manufacturers are very much of a "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset.

    Personally, this is why I'm planning on getting into the Experimental side of things ASAP. Much more freedom to work with new tech and ideas. I mean, where else can you power a plane with a VW Bug engine? Besides, Experimental is MUCH cheaper. No annuals, no type certs, no STCs, and LOTS of room to innovate. I mean, look at the huge number of kit birds being sold today. They range from a little dinky thing like the Bede BD-5 all the way up to the Lancair Evolution, which seats 5(?) and costs ~US$1.5 million when fully kitted out and can haul ass at over 350 knots at over FL200. There's a lot of room for new stuff there.
    Posted 12-22-2015 at 05:02 AM by MaverickSawyer MaverickSawyer is offline
  8. Old Comment
    Fabri91's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MaverickSawyer View Comment
    Two ways of looking at this:
    1. Institutional inertia: the FAA is VERY resistant to change.
    2. Proven technology: There's been a respectable track record of success with these engines. The manufacturers are very much of a "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset.
    1. Yes, and the fact that only some engines are (mechanically) fuel injected in 2015, added to the use of leaded gasoline and complete lack of exhaust gas treatment is apalling.
    2. By this standard we'd still have cars started with a hand-crank: "my engine only eats a liter of oil every dozen hours, it's fine". Maybe we're spoilt by modern automotive engines, but when was the last time that anyone's seen a decently maintained car have a more than negligible oil consumption?

    I remember reading many years ago about some automotive diesel engines being adapted for light aircraft use, but that still seems to be a very small niche at best, from what I can gather.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MaverickSawyer View Comment
    Personally, this is why I'm planning on getting into the Experimental side of things ASAP. Much more freedom to work with new tech and ideas. I mean, where else can you power a plane with a VW Bug engine? Besides, Experimental is MUCH cheaper. No annuals, no type certs, no STCs, and LOTS of room to innovate. I mean, look at the huge number of kit birds being sold today. They range from a little dinky thing like the Bede BD-5 all the way up to the Lancair Evolution, which seats 5(?) and costs ~US$1.5 million when fully kitted out and can haul ass at over 350 knots at over FL200. There's a lot of room for new stuff there.
    Absolutely agree.
    Posted 12-22-2015 at 12:53 PM by Fabri91 Fabri91 is offline
  9. Old Comment
    MaverickSawyer's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fabri91 View Comment
    1. Yes, and the fact that only some engines are (mechanically) fuel injected in 2015, added to the use of leaded gasoline and complete lack of exhaust gas treatment is apalling.
    2. By this standard we'd still have cars started with a hand-crank: "my engine only eats a liter of oil every dozen hours, it's fine". Maybe we're spoilt by modern automotive engines, but when was the last time that anyone's seen a decently maintained car have a more than negligible oil consumption?

    I remember reading many years ago about some automotive diesel engines being adapted for light aircraft use, but that still seems to be a very small niche at best, from what I can gather.
    Yep. Diamond Aircraft uses modified Mercedes Benz engines for some of their aircraft. The biggest change is installing an FAA-certified FADEC and some minor tweaks to optimize the engine's performance while running on Jet-A.
    Posted 12-22-2015 at 04:56 PM by MaverickSawyer MaverickSawyer is offline
 

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