Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Flying Errands, Terminated

Ocean City- KOXB off the wing tip
Strange title you wonder, yep it sure is, but so was my morning.

My Brackett aero filter was still at the shop from annual and I left my Zaon XRX at KILG, Red Eagle when I had the ADS-B installed.  My GDL-88 users manual is also in and I need to pick that up at Red Eagle too.
So, my plan for today was take on some fuel and enjoy a perfect VFR day flying north then turning around and flying home after collecting all my goodies at both airports, hence the 'errands' in the title.
I turned on the preheats last night when I went to bed, thank you Switchbox, and just needed some go-go juice when I got to the plane. Once I had the hangar open I called for fuel, I took on twenty gallons to make it fifty for the total.
only the shadows know.....
Winds favored runway two-zero so after start up I taxied for my run up and then launched for 58M, Claremont (Cecil County). It was gorgeous today and despite a headwind I had a smooth ride. Somewhere between KGED Georgetown and KDOV Dover I heard a change in my headset. Very subtle, but I noticed I didn't hear the rhythm of the strobes that are very faint but present.
The Terminated

I immediately checked to make sure I didn't switch them off and while checking I followed up with the amp meter showing a charge. Hmm, radios are still working, I'm on flight following with Dover. I check the JPI analyzer and quickly notice my typical battery numbers, 27.7 are now reading 24.5. I shut off my strobes and both Collins radios, nav and com. The Garmin burns less power then the old Collins radios and I decided to leave my nav lights on since they are LED. The transponder was staying on for now so Dover could see me and with that I continued on my way to the shop at 58M.
When it came time to switch tanks I checked the battery again which was sitting at 24.4. I turned on my pump, switched tanks and checked the battery, 24.2. I killed the nav lights and the beacon and monitored batteries until turning final for runway three-one at Claremont. For those reading that don't fly, the plane will fly just fine, the battery is needed for radios/navigation. It was a beautiful day, I could have navigated by eye from here to Myrtle Beach and back with just my iPad (Maps). I would have turned around immediately and landed if this was a flight in instrument conditions.
I got the Brackett aero filter installed and asked Roger if he could check out my 'lack of' charging system.  Off came the cowlings and Stan and Jeremy went to work. Roger even climbed inside to locate and test the voltage regulator. After some testing it was determined the alternator bit the dust. My unit is a Kelly and their reviews haven't been the best so I'm going to switch to a B&C unit.
08Romeo fired up and since it was perfect VFR weather I headed for home. On this flight only the radio and transponder again with the JPI reading 24.4. As I made my position calls for ocean city I saw 24.2, I knew the warning was coming. One good note today, a Bald Eagle passed by my right wing looking right at me, you have to wonder what's going through their mind. Back to flying, I did a last wind check with the AWOS and turned final for runway one-four. The JPI started blinking 23.9 BAT.  Ignoring the warning I made a nice landing and taxied for the hangar.

08Romeo is on the Batteryminder charger so she will be ready to head back north for the new parts install. This makes up my mind about flying vs driving north to Wilmington for Thanksgiving, we'll be ground pounding it.


Jim and Sandie said...

Your title had me worried and I really appreciate your layman's explanation. Just really glad you're ok.

Gary said...

Sandie, A beautiful day to fly sidetracked. Just like the RV world parts and equipment do fail at times. I'll be back flying again as soon as my parts arrive.