Visibility was nearly unlimited and there were FEW clouds at 11000. A beautiful day to fly.
We met at the airport and preflighted. The plane was full of fuel, and we got in and taxiied.
Ian had never flown before, but had a great deal of time in a gaming flight simulator. He knew what all the instruments were for and he asked intelligent questions as we taxiied.
We taxiied to the runup area at the end of Runway 18, and started the runup checklist. Up to this point, everything was perfect….
When it came time to check the mags, there was a BIG drop on the right mag (more than 300 rpm), so I pulled the mixture to a leaner setting to clean the plugs.
The engine died. I pushed the mixture back to full rich as it was winding down, but it still died.
It wouldn’t restatrt either, until I primed it. Normally, with a warm engine, the restart is after only a blade or two, no prime required. This time, it needed priming and ran like dogshit.
When the engine DID restart (and there were 3 planes waiting behind for me to take off(or get out of the way)!) it ran very rough and backfired. Acted like a fuel issue..as if it were running lean. Very rough. Wouldn’t idle, I had to keep the throttle at half in order to keep it running at all.
“Doesn’t look like we are flying today” I told Ian. “Sorry”.
I waited for the aircraft on a long final and the one on base to land (just in case I corked up the runway with a dead engine) , then announced on CTAF that I was having engine issues and would be taxiing on RWY 18. I taxiiied down the runway as fast as I could (not very fast) to the first turnoff and got off the runway. I was afraid the engine might die and I would be blocking the active runway, but we got there. I waited for 2 more taxiing aircraft to go past, then taxiied as best I could to the crossing at 9/27 and since there was no one on either runway, we crossed as fast as the engine power would let us (again, not very fast) and returned to the hangar, backfiring engine and running rough all the way. (There is really nowhere else to go or I would have pulled off and walked to have gotten the towcart, but the only place would have been the grass alongside the taxiway).
I’m glad it happened on runup, as there wasn’t enough engine power to get us fast enough to take off (I’d have had to abort), nor would it have been enough to keep us in the air had it happened after takeoff. I don’t know if it is a mixture cable or a linkage issue, or some other fuel flow issue. Either way, I ain’t flying for a while…
I checked the fuel, (again, after the
flight taxi, did so during the preflight as well) and it appeared good (slightly blue (100LL)) and smelled normal. I checked with the person who had been fueled up immediately before me, (A flight school airplane) and they had had no issues. I don’t think it is fuel quality (same fuel/same truck, 10 minutes apart). I had good fuel flow when I opened the fuel strainer bowl drain, more than enough to run the engine, so the issue is after that….like in the carburetor or something else past the fuel strainer.
Poor Ian didn’t get his first flight today though.
We will see what the mechanic has to say on Monday.
Either way, I am grounded until the thing is fixed. It was a bit disconcerting though. Makes me REALLY want a twin now too.