Sunday, July 12, 2009

Finally back flying, but not for long

Plane: Cessna 150
Route: 40I-I19-40I
Weather: Clear, 79 degrees, wind 330 degrees at 6 knots

This will be quick since tonight's flight was so quick. I had intended to go up and visit a few nearby airports while working on takeoffs and landings to keep myself current. Tonight's the last night of 2+ weeks off work and I hadn't yet made it into the sky, which I'm quite ashamed to admit. Needless to say I couldn't have such a long break and never even hop into an airplane. Plus, it had been over 3 weeks since my last flight and that's nearing the limit of my self-imposed comfortable margin of time between flights.

Background nonsense aside, the weather was great tonight with some very high clouds to go with the comfortable temperature and light winds. I called Stewart to reserve my favorite bird, 60338, this afternoon and got to the airport around 18:00. Today was also the first time Gina was able to go up since she got out of the hospital so it was great to have her in the right seat. Anyway, I ran through my pre-takeoff checks and the carb heat seemed slightly slow to respond but I figured there was a chance a little ice had formed while idling on the ground. After a second thorough check, it appeared to be working properly so we departed 40I and headed directly to Greene County Airport for my first planned stop of the night.

I brought us in for a slightly shaky (the winds at the end of Runway 25 at I19 can be fun and, along with the slight crosswind, I had to make a real fast correction right as we touched down to straighten the nose out) but otherwise safe and effective landing. Wanting to check the carb heat again just to be sure, I pulled into the runup area and had to pull it out twice before I got an RPM drop. However, it did work so I took off and said I would check it once more in the air before I decided whether or not to land at Greene County again. Up at pattern altitude, I tried the carb heat and couldn't get any drop in the RPMs after fiddling with it a few times.

I'm certainly not going to take any chances and end up with a carb full of ice, so I immediately left the pattern and headed directly to Stewart. At this point, I couldn't even tell if the carb heat was on or off even though I had it pulled full on - and I left it in the full on position all the way home. My mostly uneducated guess is that the the wire running from the carb may have come loose from the control knob.

We circled in over the lake and I entered on a 45 from the South to land on Runway 26. We were in front of a Cub and this time I set us down for a really smooth crosswind landing. Unfortunately the flight wasn't too exciting, but given the circumstances that's probably for the better. Safety first, indeed. They're going to check the plane out so I'll have to ask if they found anything wrong with the carb heat next time I'm down there. Other than tooling around in the pattern, I've been itching to take a real (i.e. spending at least 3 hours in the air) cross-country flight so I'm going to try and do so here in the next couple of weeks.

Today's Flight: 0.8 hours
Total Time: 109.4 hours


  1. There was some discussion on the Purple Board about some situations where you won't get a RPM drop with carb heat.

    It would be nice if you just had a temp gauge instead of looking for an RPM drop.

    Good to see you back in the air, though.

  2. Yeah I've heard it can happen before myself and maybe it was operating normally. All I can say is that it didn't feel normal to me and obviously I've spent a fair chunk of time (64.9 hours according to my logbook, incredibly) in that specific airplane. I agree, a temp. gauge would be very nice to have.

    Anyway, I hope they fix anything if it was broken so I can take her up for that X-C flight soon. While the other 150 is a decent plane, I do prefer 338 - especially when I want to be talking a lot on the radio.

  3. I think it was in one of the flying magazines I get...that if something doesn't "feel" right, it probably isn't.

    In your position I would have done the same thing.

  4. Yup, it definitely felt like the right thing to do. I'll certainly update on here next time I get down there and find out if anything was wrong with the carb heat.

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  6. Glad to hear Gina's back in the sky with you!

  7. See what happens when you go off returning from combat and camping with the family? You miss everything, sheesh.

    (Technically the doctor at the hospital told her to wait two months to fly - which would have been the middle of August - but the she saw a specialist who said there was no reason not to fly... so we split the difference and went up after a month!)