It has been way too long between these flight!
April 2nd, 2012 almost three weeks since my last flight! Oh but what a story!
We had scheduled the flight for 3:30pm today, as Mike was supposed to be back around 2:45 or 3:00pm. We talked later on and he said he'd be ready by around 5pm but no later. Which was alright, I'm not doing any thing any way. So today he's texting me saying he'll be there by 5:15 but no later than 5:30. Still I'm alright with this. I told him not to worry because I'm just hanging out at the airport getting ready for our flight. Around 6pm I'm starting to think that his day has gone a little longer than even he anticipated.
I'm walking around the plane, N1694E, doing my pre-flight inspection and I'm looking in all the little nooks and crannies. Most of these are dark and can hide just about any thing, which is why I always have my flashlight ready. This proved life saving today! I had just looked at all the bolts holding the flap on its track shoes and noticed something out of the ordinary in the cavity where the flap push rod extends out of. At first I thought it was a piece of grass, or some thing like that, and I almost dismissed it. But I raised my hand to pull it out and it was stuck pretty good, although I didn't really pull that hard. So I tugged a little harder and found that it was not going to move. So I shined my flash light in the hole and wouldn't you know it a busted cable! This particular cable extends from the yoke all the way to the right aileron. Now in this picture I've pulled the broken part of the cable out so you can see it, but as you can see it's not that visible in the cavity. I called the mechanic who was leaving for the day to come over and look it over, and as we were talking I was wondering how many people have flown this plane with the cable like this and never caught it. Then I thought, "have I ever flown this plane with the cable like the?" It's a good thing that I did catch this. According to the FAA you must replace any cable that has any frayed strands in the cable (14CFR43.13 Ch7 Par 149(a)(b)). Needless to say I didn't fly that airplane.
By the time I've got everything sorted with the new plane and pre-flighted it the time was around 6:10 or so. I haven't heard from Mike for a couple hours now, and I'm not worrying, but I am starting to wonder if we'll be able to fly at all today. At I get a txt from him saying he just landed and he's on his way.
Around 7pm Mike shows up to the airport and extremely apologetic of how late he is, but i assure him there's no need to worry. As it turns out he's just spent 7.5 hours flying out to West Virginia and up North from there and back West to Columbus. He had been flying around a aerial photography company around taking pictures of what ever and missions kept getting added onto his list so his time kept growing.
I did all parts of the flight this time, with help from Mike of course. But I got taxi clearance and we made our way out to runway 4. After we did our run up checks and were ready to take off I called the tower and let them know we were ready for out departure. The tower abruptly asked which way I wanted to go in the pattern. At first we decided that we would do a right hand pattern because we haven't really done that before. So we told him and our response back was..."Bolton Field Traffic tower services are now terminated.....adtl info.....". Well I guess this means we're doing a left hand traffic pattern now doesn't it? Mike laughed and said yes, so we announced our intentions to the rest of the traffic around the field(of which there was none).
All in all we made it a short night with only 6 almost perfect landings. Now it would have been 7, but it wasn't because it was getting dark that I didn't do one. As I was on final approach for runway 4 and I was around 100' off the ground I noticed this brown thing running across the grass headed right for the runway. It was a DOG! Here's a dog on the airport property running right for the runway, how crazy is this? So I watched it for a couple of seconds thinking well maybe it will turn and run away...but it didn't. I made the call for a go around and put full power in, raised the flaps and turned the carburetor heat off and proceeded to fly down the runway and climb back to pattern altitude. Mike was very happy with my performance tonight, and said after I take my written test I'll be ready to solo!
10.2 hours in and a life time to learn!