So I was on my way back from South Carolina. and the headwinds were brutal….and not what was forecast. Like they were supposed to be 6 knots of headwind and instead were 35+ knots….
So I did the math and even using up my reserve (a No-No) I would still be about 15 minutes shy of making it back to my home airport….
Looking at ForeFlight, there was an airport with decently priced fuel smack on my path about 60 miles ahead….runway was aligned with the prevailing wind and the weather there was decent…and it would still leave me with over an hour of fuel at that time…. So I called ATC and asked them to modify my flight plan for a stop at 0I8 so I could get some go juice to make it home.
Got clearance to go there, descended and lined up for a straight-in for landing…
The runway looked wet, and very black in the sun as I configured for landing on final. Did a smooth approach and flare ….and found out the hard way that it had snowed the night before, that no one had cleared the runway and I landed on wet slush…and very nearly did not stop. It was close to “Go-Around” time but I honestly was so far down the runway when I decided that I might not be able to stop but I wasn’t sure I could get up fast enough to clear the trees at the other end of the runway…braking action was near zero until the last 1200 feet or so. I mean, I had the nose wheel up, full flaps and all the aerodynamic drag I could produce but just ooozled down the runway, not losing speed. Like wet Black Ice but with slush instead of hard ice. A fair bit of butt-puckering there for a short moment…do I try to take off again and yank it over the trees? or stay down and overrun the end of the runway? In the end it became just wet and I was able to get some braking action, but for a moment it looked like only bad and worse choices….I thought it was wet, not slush or ice….Lesson for me…
So I get stopped (finally), pull off the runway to the Self Serve pump, and the credit card reader is offline….All that shit and puckering for nothing….
Go into the office to see if perhaps I am doing anything wrong, and find out that the Self Serve Fuel (there is no other source) has been offline for days (but no Notam!) …it is suggested that I go to 27K, another airport about 10 miles southwest….Which I did in a short VFR hop, and which DID have a working terminal….their runway, at least had been cleaned,,, but not the taxiways…. But at least they had available 100LL….So Good/Bad ….
Filled the plane up at 27K using the fuel nozzle which would neither go to full flow nor full off (it tricked a fair bit of fuel when in the off position, which required some planning so I didn’t spill too much on the ground….and we took off again. I may have wasted a gallon or two what with the malfunctioning nozzle, but I did get the tanks full.
I guess asking people to work on Sundays or to actually have working self serve fuel terminals in good repair is asking too much for rural Kentucky……But I did get enough fuel to make it home.
Irritating though. Had I known, I’d have paid the nearly $2/gal premium at Tac-Air at Lexington (KLEX) and just sucked it up….
But now I know, never stop for fuel in Rural Kentucky airports again.
Having said that, even with the stop, it was less than 5 hours to return. It takes a little over 16 hours to drive it.