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That Battery’s Fried

Get to the airpark and am told to take N52632 an ole’ reliable plane that’s one of the two planes I’ve flown the most. Check everything out no problem. The temperature was cold but not awful, it was about 32 or 34F not freezing. Pushed the primer twice and pushed in the throttle a few times like usual. Flip the main electrical switches on, turn the key, COUGH COUGH. The plane turns the prop a little bit but it doesn’t turn over. Instructor not happy. We wait about 10 seconds prime it a little more, turn the switches on, turn the key and COUGH. Only onece this time. Instructor declares that the battery is fried. Apparently this thing is not like a car where you can try cranking for a little longer. Apparently yesterday also (unbeknownst to me) the plane also had some starting issues.

I thought we’d have to scrub the flight but instructor says hang tight and he calls in the mechanic to drive over a battery charger thingy (that’s a technical term) that he plugs into the side of the plane and with that jump we’re off and running!

Start off with a reasonable short field takeoff and I’m told to head off to Carroll County (KDMW). From Gaithersburg it’s about 30 degrees east of Fredrick so I didn’t have too much of a problem navigating there. We do some power on stalls which I did fair at, and then reach KDMW. Did about 3 emergency landing practices there, one as a go around and it was a good bunch of practices. I started high on one and much lower for an other and all the different scenarios were quite instructive. I did OK not great but in general much better then the previous lesson.

Back to KGAI and nothing unusual except for some amusing chatter on the radio. While listening to Potomac Approach someone called in and says crossing over or something like that..and the approach asks “you need SFRA code?” and he responds…”I’m already in the SFRA” !!! Most amusing. Pretty sure it was a jet and he did know what he was doing from the tone of the chatter…but I can imagine if I had that situation the F15’s would be coming quickly.

As we get close to KGAI all was normal except another instructor from the same school was in a plane and sounded like he was at the same altitude and also approaching the 45 to runway 14 just as we were. We couldn’t find him and kept talking to him (or his student I’m not sure)….and he kept on giving his position in fairly useless ways. We just continued past the airport a bit until we could finally figure out what he was doing…my instructor was mostly annoyed at him which was amusing for me to watch!

Did a short field landing and did reasonably well not quite what I wanted, a tad too slow in the end but I hit the runway pretty good and was able to exit at the first taxi way, a sign of a good short landing. Brought the plane to the school’s hanger so they could fix the battery and that’s all for the today.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Bill S.
    January 16, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I remember trying to hand prop an Aeronca champ on a cold day like that. No signs of starting at all. We brought the propane heat cart over and blew hot air into the engine for a while, while we froze our butts off. Still no starting. Had to scrub the flight. Some days that plane just wasn’t in the mood. I suppose I wouldn’t be either if I was that old.

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