I sub for different Off-Broadway show. It’s kind of like being a reserve pilot at an airline, but with more notice sometimes. I got a call yesterday asking me to come in later this week to fill in, it included the Wednesday matinee. Great, more money! But I had a flight lesson scheduled for Wednesday, so I had to cancel it and my instructor texted me making sure that was correct because he was messing with his schedule at the same time. I took the opportunity to see if he was free Monday (today). They were doing the annual on the multi-engine but he could fit me in during the afternoon. Yay!
It was weird traveling in the afternoon, but I enjoyed my sleep. Got to the airport with him and he showed me the Cougar with all the cowlings off and showed me the magnetos up close and explained where they are plugged into the spark plugs.
Before we got into the plane, I threw out an idea I’ve been thinking about since the last lesson. I want to try the seat a few inches higher. I think that might help the problem. Since my last landing has been by far the best, I remember how high the nose felt and like I could hardly see. I also put together that I hated to climb at Vy, because I could hardly see outside. Maybe I just need to be higher. He was super excited by that idea and helped me raise the seat. We both couldn’t wait to see how it effected my flying.
Started up the plane, taxied over to runway 32 (it’s the farthest), did the run up, and then the transponder went out, then the radios. We did some trouble shooting: circuit breakers, avionics on and off, Alternator button on and off, tried different radios, nothing was working. We called tower on a cell phone and they used the lights to taxi us back.
He had me bring us by their hanger instead to look at what was wrong. The landing light wasn’t working earlier, as well. Pulled the cowling off (first time I got to actually see the engine) and we found a broken wire to the landing light. It was the active wire so it might have hit the muffler and shorted a circuit to the electrical system. My instructor and another owner (both are mechanics) looked all over and that was the only thing they could find. They also kept saying “how likely is it that two things are wrong on the same day?” My CFI tried starting it after making sure the active chord wasn’t against the muffle just to check. The battery was dead though. He went to give it a bit of charge and they fixed the wire.
After I learned a lot about the engine and the wired was fixed, they put the battery and cowling back on the plane, they didn’t want me to get my hands dirty, and we started the plane back up. It started fine, the lights were all working, radios working. Off we went once again. Taxi, run up, and holding short the transponder goes and radios fail. ARGH. Try trouble shooting again and trying to get some way so the transponder works with one radio, it wasn’t happening. It was probably the alternator. Taxied back to the hanger and I went home. My CFI was saying how bad he felt that I came all this way and it’s never happened before they had to cancel a lesson, I told him I’m just lucky like that and I at least learned a lot about the mechanics of the plane.
He was bummed for me. I am just use to it. He was so excited to try the seat higher. Well, I guess a lesson today wasn’t meant to be. I’m looking forward to Thursday.