The day did not go as anticipated:
So the ORIGINAL plan for Saturday had been to go to a fly-in breakfast fundraiser for the Mentone Flying Club (Which is, oddly, in nearby Rochester at KRCR airport).
Then, Aaron texted and wanted to do breakfast in KBTL at the Waco Kitchen, and we chose him over our previous plans, ’cause we like to spend time with him and all that.
So, a bit of back and forth, and we decided to to meet at 1415Z or 10:15 local time…09:15 for me….For a while MC and I discussed doing the fly-in first and seeing our friends there and then zipping up to see Aaron….I can push things and make the flight from KRCR to KBTL a short one, trading fuel for time and all…which would give us time to do both….
Aaron checked in at about 6:20AM my time and we were still good to go. Weather was marginal for his return but doable, so we were on. I decided not to leave that early and go to KRCR and take my time and instead just go to KBTL and meet Aaron and Leigh instead…I can go to another breakfast as they have them several times a year….
Then he had power issues and could not open the hangar door….so we pushed things back by an hour….And I chose to go to KRCR and the fly-in breakfast first…..
KRCR is an uncontrolled airport and the unicom frequency is shared with 3 or 4 other nearly airports, and it was busy The airspace around KRCR was pretty full, and we had to do a 360 on final due to a slight misunderstanding with another pilot…no-harm-no-foul though. (He came and apologized after we parked., but no big deal, really…I saw him in plenty of time to avoid him and that is the important part)
Aaron texted to let me know he had cancelled his flight for the day because he had no assurance as to when he could get the doors open….so we stayed and chatted with friends at KRCR until it was time to leave as the breakfast was over.
So, into the 340 (parked on the grass,…which was dry and firm) after a short preflight, we fired the engines, got the weather, and started to taxi….except the plane would not roll.
So I hauled back on the yoke and advanced the throttle thinking I had sunk a bit into the turf…..nope. Added MORE throttle and finally began to move.(670 HP will move a lot of plane, even if stuck in the grass) Taxiied forward on he grass for maybe 10 feet and then onto the taxiway…..nope, I had a flat nosweheel tire…… finished getting the mains onto the pavement and shut down….by then everyone had started yelling and waving to tell me to stop as they noticed the tire, but I was already there….just trying to get all three tires onto the pavement rather than the grass.
(Sadly, not being a millennial or a Gen Z or whatever, I didn’t think to take a photo so no visuals for you)
Lucky for me King Aviation‘s shop door was open….but I could not find anyone at the shop. I yelled and looked around, but no one…..I was going to borrow (without permission, but hey) their powered tug to pull the 340 off the taxiway to a tie-down spot even though I could not find anyone at the shop to ask permission ,when the mechanic finally returned,,,he was waiting on an engine delivery so he had time to help…… We fired up the tug and moved it to the plane and got the nose gear up on the tug and moved it about 1200 feet to his shop. Good….worst case I could put the plane inside and have it safe for a day or two and best case he could fix the issue right there.
He did indeed have a tire and tube in the size I needed….(not the brand I would prefer, but beggars can’t be too choosy, y’know?) So with my help he got the plane on the jack and pulled the wheel and replaced it. (bad tube but he wasn’t comfortable not replacing the tire as well, as it had some marks on the sidewall)… he had no shop manual for a 340… no specifications for bolt tightness or pressures ,which made him uncomfortable, but we (I) decided that 100 inch-lbs for the bolts holding the rim together would work well enough for me to taxi and land once…when (where) I could retorque them to spec at my home hangar where there was a manual. (100 inch-lbs is tight enough to be “tight” but not enough to damage the bolts or rim)…He didn’t like that idea, and would really have preferred to tighten the bolts to the specified torque, but really had no other choice. We aired the tire up ’til it looked good and then added another 5 lbs…again, good enough to get me home….I assured him it would get done properly on Monday so we went with that. All in all a pretty conscientious and knowledgeable dude. Did me a solid by staying to fix the tire on a Saturday.
So home we went. and there we stopped…. parked the plane in the hangar and went shopping for my parents…..who have just been diagnosed with Covid and can’t get out.
Not the day I had planned, (and an expensive 26 minute flight!) but it was nonetheless fun, the food was good, and it all turned out ok. I don’t yet know what the tire and labor is gonna cost me ’cause I haven’t yet received a bill, but it is what it is, and we shall see.
The day didn’t suck. I saw (some of) my friends….and that was all good. The rest is what it is.
ETA: I checked and the proper torque for the wheel halves is 140150 inch lbs,,,,but when I re-torqued them they were still tight at 100.
And I was off by 5 lbs on the tire pressure….