Member Blog Posts
|randall.walls2016-12-30 20:04:31Maintenance Entry||
N4818D New interior work
About a month ago Cessna 4818D went in for a much needed new interior. We've had a few updates while it is in the shop in Bangor being worked on, and below are a few photos to highlight the color scheme and the fantastic work being done by the folks work on her. She should be ready to go and back in the air in early January and everyone in the club is very excited to see the full outcome of the work.
The plane was flying great, right up until it wasn't.
The day started out normally enough; a quick 35 minute flight in N239AM up to KRKD for the Owl's Head Transportation Museum's "Wings and Wheels Spectacular" weekend with a good friend of mine who is curious about all things flying. Left KPWM at 10:45, and after a tailwind-assisted 114 KIAS cruise we set down on runway 21 in Rockland at 11:22. Tammy had controls for most of the trip - her first time piloting 9AM - and she was a natural at it. She picked up on drift and correcting for straight and level flight with very little assistance from me.
The airshow consisted of a couple warbirds owned by the Texas Flying Legends museum - an F4U Corsair and a P-40 Warhawk - along with a TBM avenger and a P-51D Mustang "Cincinnati Miss" (because what airshow is complete without a Mustang).
The weather for that day, originally slated for overcast with thundershowers, could not have been better. There was hardly any wind, and the sun was bright and warm all afternoon. We spent time in and out of the museum - I was particularly fascinated by the 28-cylinder Wright Major engine, eight of which adorned the Spruce Goose. With 2 spark plugs per-cylinder that gives a total of 56 per engine, or 448 total on the 'Goose. "Your turn to change the plugs today, kid" could not have been something you ever wanted to hear.
As usual, the Mustang was the sexiest girl on the flight line.
And of course, the obligatory "Photo Pass".
After a trip back to the airport courtesy of the museum taxi, and a fuel-up of 239AM, we took off and headed back for Portland, climbing out to 2500 ft for the cruise back.
Why 2500 ft? Well...because I was lazy. And I was tired. And I wanted to get home. So I didn't want to spend ten minutes climbing to 4500 ft, I wanted to get to cruise ASAP and get home as fast as that little plane could take us. That little plane that had just had a cylinder overhauled. That little plane that had run as smooth and strong as it ever has on the flight up to KRKD. That little plane that was still flying great as I called approach at KPWM. It flew great, right up until the moment it didn't.
Tammy smelled it first; that unmistakable scent of hot oil. And she spotted the oil-temp gauge pegged deep into the red. I had commented earlier how N239AM "always runs cool", so she noted that the temp in the red was an anomaly. We were 5 miles to the south of the Brunswick airport, and I was at 2500 ft, an altitude that, with a now clearly overheated engine, seemed paltry and unbelievably low. I turned to Brunswick immediately, and stayed with approach until we were all the way in and safely on the ground. Nothing bad really happened outside of a few stressed nerves and a story to tell.
It really hit me when I was on the ground that I had erred in my choice of altitude, and that I'd probably been doing it wrong for a while now. Low is fun, low means awesome scenery, low means spotting your house or seeing cars on the road, but on a 50+ miles cross country return trip in an airplane that was still having a cylinder broken in, it was, quite frankly, stupid. Had I hesitated for another mile and had the engine decided that it wanted to seize itself up at that moment, I would have been gliding my passenger and I down into Casco bay, and who knows how the night might have turned out. It is a well learned lesson on my part. Altitude is money in the bank, and being "Altitude Poor" is not a good thing at all.
And we've all thought it - "but the plane is flying great!" And it always will be, right up until the moment that it isn't.
Friday Evening Scenic Flight
Took an old friend from High-School up for her first ever small plane flight. She took some very cool pictures of the flight - I'm not sure she ever actually put her camera down!
Nice picture just after takeoff on runway one-eight.
Biddeford Pool from about two-five-hundred feet.
Old Orchard Beach - we did a few steep turns just after this picture.
The pilot (me) looking all serious and pilot-ish!
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