12 August 2006

The Best Laid Plans

We had a good plan. It lasted until the first problem appeared.
There was no "Plan B".
We arrived at the factory, got the paperwork covered, and preflighted the aircraft. All was well.
Charts at hand and my radio frequency cheat-sheet close by, we went through the pre-start checklist, then started the engine. After engine start, engine oil pressure should rise immediately. Then we wait for oil temperature to climb into the normal range. Finally, the cylinder head temperature should also rise into normal operating limits. When all engine instruments are "in the green", there are several tests that you run to insure the systems are working properly.......
Magnetos, carburetor heat, overrunning clutch, and low RPM warning system.
We waited for the cylinder head temperature to go into the green range.........
and waited........and waited. We finally realized we had a problem, shut the aircraft down, and went looking for a mechanic.
They were on their lunch break.

We finally resolved the problem and took off from Torrance at 1 P.M., several hours late.
The rest of the flight went normally. We landed at Blythe, CA., Casa Grande, AZ., then dodged thunderstorms on the way to landing at West Texas airport at El Paso, TX.. It was getting dark and I could see lightning flashes East of El Paso. Too many weak links in that chain: we were tired, darkness was approaching, weather was a factor, and we were over unfamiliar territory. It was time to quit flying for the night, still short of our intended landing at Roswell.

The motel advertised "High Speed Internet Access".
Upon investigation I found they wanted to charge extra for it. No problem.......I'll use an account I have with Earthlink and just use "dial-up". But I tried and tried two phone numbers for Earthlink to no avail. I couldn't access my email, and couldn't blog to bring you up to speed on our progress.

Arising this morning after a great night's sleep, we got on our way at about 10 A.M., and landed at Roswell in time to have lunch with Ole Prairie Dog and his Fair Bride. After lunch, I put O.P.D. in the pilot's seat and let him have the controls of the first helicopter he had flown in 23 years......... his wife in the back seat watching the fun. It took about 5 minutes for him to knock off the rust and settle down, but he shot the approach back into the airport and hovered the machine just fine, in spite of 10 to 18 knot winds. Good on ya, O.P.D.!

We faced afternoon thunderstorms when we left Roswell, and dodged them on the way to landing at Plainview, TX.. We dodged some more on our way to landing at Clinton, OK.. Clinton is a great place to overnight because they have courtesy cars waiting for transient pilots......
keys under the overhead visors! They'll get my business every time I can land here.

We are fed, watered, and relaxing while catching up on the news. All is well.
And the "Best Plan" is to realize that no matter how well you plan, the plan will change.
Be flexible, consider all alternatives, and choose your best options.
In other words: "Don't worry, be happy!"

1 comment:

Ted Rahe said...

Well, Old Scout, I was going to take a quick peek at your latest and get on with my e-mail clean-up job but, guess what? - I ended up reading every word. You are something else - run a lot deeper and finer than I ever imagined.

I drove ambulance when I was in college but never encountered one as grisly as that young girl.

Keep on keeping on!