Keeping it cool

Well it is official. On a 19*F January day, we formally kick off our flight training. The plan is fairly simple. Schedule 3 days a week knowing the weather will hate us sometimes, and then time it so that one of us has a lesson in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

Tada! Magic.

Seth kicked us off on MLK day, getting out to the field at 6:30am to start prepping the plane. I thought about going with him to capture his take-off, but then looked at the temperature and decided Ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff no… (I couldn’t swear appropriately due to the fact that it was so fffffffffffffffffing cold).

But like the professor on Fffffffuturama, I have good news… of sorts. I made it out to the airfield about 9:15am, and wouldn’t you know it! They hadn’t even taken off yet.


Here is what I understood had happened:

After a detailed pre-flight inspection, they went through normal engine start procedures. It was expected that the plane would take a little convincing, but our bird had started just fine when we picked it up two days earlier. Well… yeah. The following formula best explains their success:

(Crank/Nothing)*6 = Dead battery.

Soooo, they tried to hand prop it. After more primer than a munitions depot and an effort more deserving of the title “Cold Sweat” than the ice cream at Sunny Skies, Seth and Stanley decide to jump the battery. In short, this worked. In long, they had to fight with the battery cover to get it back on. It was at this point that I decided to join them and laugh at their plight.



With time enough for one rotation in the pattern, Seth and Stanley did their run-up and took off. As cold as it was, the weather was gorgeous.



The landing wasn’t bad either; even with little wind the runway is pretty tricky.



Seth hurried off, ready for some proper heat, and I walked with Stanley to work through ground school. That went ffffffffine. We then went out to fly, repeating the pre-flight, hopping in, and the engine started right up. Seth must have been doing it wrong…


We taxi, run-up, take off, and start scouting the practice area I’m to use. The air was smooth, weather was gorgeous, and everything was fine. And then… we confirmed the turn coordinator is acting up a bit. Great. No biggie, just a chunk of change. And then… the we noticed the coms starting to flicker. Then go dead.

And then, we lose all electrical. Donzo. Nada. All we had were headsets in the cabin. The engine still runs thanks to the fact that magnetos are a self-contained energy source, but we don’t have landing flaps as they are electrically operated…

We needed gas anyway, so we finish our route to Johnston Regional (JNX) on visual traffic avoidance only and fill up. The staff was wonderful and curious. They didn’t recognize the plane, and had all sorts of questions about where it came from. One guy we met even kept a plane at Raleigh East, and offered to help us hand-prop for the flight back to W17.

Our flight was uneventful. The battery had recovered enough to where we had coms for the departure, but no charge registering on the ammeter meant it wasn’t going to last long. We made it back, debriefed, and called it a day around 3pm.


It was a crazy day… We do have some video of it all. We’ll link to that once we are able to compile and edit it. In the meantime, we’ve got to get this electrical situation sorted, and with snow in the forecast and an early morning cold-start to look forward to later this week, I’m sure nothing else will go wrong…


I’ll let you know how that goes.

One thought on “Keeping it cool

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s