A couple weeks ago, our group got our engine running and so our instructor asked us to work on another engine. It had been running rough so after a few days of tweaking, we had it sounding beautiful. After lunch one day he asked us to run it once more just to make sure everything was good before he had the rest of the class use it for another project. We took it outside, and had a heck of a time getting it started and once it did, it ran really rough.
Of course, the instructor came out right away and was saying, “Oh man, that sounds really bad, you need to figure out what is wrong with it, we need it for class”. We decided somehow the ignition got bumped and the timing was probably off so the other guy went to get some tools. While I was standing there, I noticed there was a little hole in the top of the cylinder. Looked like a plug had popped out and this would keep the cylinder from getting compression so it would not run very well. I showed Greg and we decided, yep, that was definitely the issue so he went inside to look for a plug (we couldn’t find it on the ground anywhere). Pretty soon they both came back and yes, they had found a plug and it was a perfect fit. Where did they find it…… in the instructors pocket! He had taken it out while we were at lunch and wanted to see how long it would take to diagnose the problem. I hopefully fixed any further issues with this sign (the instructor’s name is Duane Linsley):
On Friday, July 20, I passed my oral and practical part of the powerplant mechanic’s license (Duane was my examiner!). I now have 2 weeks of class left and then one more written exam and we will be done with our Michigan adventure!
However, this week I am in Nampa, Idaho (near Boise) at the Mission Aviation Fellowship headquarters. Today (Monday) I was introduced to the plane I will be using as they evaluate my ability to fly. The first day we flew the airplane and did multiple landings so I could get used to flying it. It is a Turbocharged Cessna 206 and MAF (and many organizations) use a bunch of these around the world. It has 300 horsepower and can carry over 1,400 pounds while also having the ability to get in and out of very tight places– often taking off in less than a quarter of a mile. Tomorrow (Tuesday) I will be introduced to mountain flying. If my wife is reading this, no, it is not dangerous.
For everyone else, yes, I have already heard a bunch of stories about guys flying into box canyons, trying to duck under clouds and hitting cliffs, getting sucked into downdrafts (wind coming over the mountain ranges come screaming down the other side) and literally cannot climb out of them.
Wednesday my instructor will try to get me lost. Using only a chart and a watch, he will show me a point on the map and tell me to fly there. Using rivers, roads (if there are any), and mountains I will determine the distance, figure my ground speed (don’t forget, the wind can blow 50mph just a few thousand feet above the ground– that really messes up your estimation when you are going 50mph faster or slower than you calculated) and determine my estimated time en route to the point. Thursday I will be in a flying simulator and will be flying “in the clouds” by instrument reference only.
On Friday, there will be one of three verdicts. 1) Pass, 2) OK but need to work on these areas, or 3) Fail. Over the last few months, I have praying to pass. However over the last week, I feel God has given me a different attitude. I am now praying that:
1) I will be at relaxed enough to show the examiner what I’ve learned over the past 5 years
2) that if I am not ready to haul people and cargo into dangerous situations that he will recognize that.
If I am ready, then you bet I want to pass! And all Glory and Honor to the One who has brought us this far.
Here is the plane– what a beauty.