Thursday, August 05, 2010

It's too quiet!!

I needed to get my license current, so last Friday I headed out to Blum, Texas to see Craig McPherson of Blue Skies

Craig helped me pitch my prop, which has been a challenge for me to get right, then we went back to his house to do some paperwork. After the winds calmed down, we headed out to his field to fly.

I setup to fly with Craig watching over me and then I was ready to go. Craig told me to kite my parachute, taxi past some water jugs he'd setup, takeoff, come around and do a fly-by at four feet, then land near the jugs and keep the parachute up while taxiing back to him. All of this went well except when I landed my parachute went off to one side and I decided not to taxi back to him, but to shut it down instead. He was okay with this.

Next I setup to take off again and Craig got into the plane. We took off into the calm afternoon skies and other than having some issues with me hearing him, everything was going well. He had me turn left and head for a field to practice some maneuvers. Shortly after I turned everything got quiet. Then, without warning, my engine quit!!

I've been in this situation before in an airplane, an ultralight, and as you'll remember from a couple of weeks ago, even in this PPC. So it was no big deal to find a nice open spot in the field and I landed without issue.

After landing, Craig pulled my parachute to one side and I started the engine and it ran perfectly. He wisely advised me to shut it down though and while I packed my parachute he went off to get his four-wheeler and then towed me back to his place.

It turns out that the rear cylinder wasn't getting oil. Most likely this was a failed banjo valve. It shouldn't take long to get this fixed and get back in the air, but once again this sport is costing more money that I envisioned when I started!

In the end, things could have been much worse. I landed safely and I can tell you I've found a good friend in Craig. If you need an instructor for PPCs, I highly recommend him. He was not only a great instructor, but went way out of his way to help me find out what happened to my engine and his efforts saved me a lot of money in labor charges.

Sorry no photos this time. I'm heading back out there this Friday and I promise to get some photos of Travis getting his biennial.


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