Mar 02 2009

Finally Flew to Kealy’s Kafe, and Engine Starting Troubles

Category: Solo FlightsDaniel @ 5:40 am

This past Sunday I finally made it to Kealy’s Kafe at Janesville (KJVL)!  I was supposed to fly there 2 weekends ago, but because of an airsick passenger, I had to turn that trip around.  The weather for the day was brisk and cold (around 15-20°F), slightly windy, but not a cloud in the sky.  After getting the aircraft keys and looking at the aircraft log, I saw that the Cessna 172SP hadn’t flown in about 3 days.  Furthermore, once I got to the plane to pre-flight it, the engine heater wasn’t plugged in.  To compound that, when checking the oil level, the oil was a very slick sludge.  I knew it would be difficult to get the plane started.  Sure enough, I almost didn’t get the plane started and almost didn’t make it to Kealy’s yet again.

flooded_engineAs per the 172SP checklist, before attempting to start a cold engine, you are supposed to run the auxiliary fuel pump until the fuel flow meter starts to move.  It’s only supposed to take under 10 seconds to get that needle to move. I turned on the pump and let 5 seconds tick by, then 10, 15, 18… and no movement.  I decided to stop the pump then (I didn’t want to flood the engine) and try cranking.  Nothing.  I tried the pump a little more, still no movement.  Cranked again and nothing.  Kept cranking, and I hear the battery starting to get taxed and run down.  I opened the door and looked outside and saw fuel under the exhaust…I definitely flooded the engine (crap).  I follow the flooded engine procedure in the operating handbook: to basically crank with the throttle open (to use up the fuel in the flooded engine).  I hear it starting to use up the fuel, but nothing firing well, the battery is definitely getting dangerously low.   I decide to plug the plane in and let it warm up for 5 minutes (and hopefully recharge the battery a bit).  After 5 minutes, I try the flooded engine procedure again without success (crap again).  I decide I’m going wait another 5 minutes and try one final time.  Luckily, that’s what the plane needed.  After 6 minutes (one minute extra for good luck), the battery had just enough juice and the flooded engine procedure worked!  The plane started and I let it warm for quite a while before starting on our journey.

The trip to Janesville went fine.  I actually did some reading up on the autopilot system this past week so I was able to fully use it to navigate to Janesville.  That autopilot making flying way too easy.  Lunch at Kealy’s was very nice, I’ll definitely go there again.  It was great to have a little more experience flying into a towered airport as well.

The plane started fine for our return leg, but it was funny/reassuring to see that the pilot parked next to us at Janesville had trouble starting his engine (although I never wish to see troubles for any pilot).  This morning I read another pilot at Westosha (Evan) had scary troubles of his own this weekend.  Apparently it was a rough weekend to fly.  Luckily everything worked out fine for me.   Oh, and I DID plug the plane in when I returned it at the end of the day…I wouldn’t want the next person to have the same difficulties starting the engine as I did.

I logged 1.2 hours of pilot-in-command time this flight.

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2 Responses to “Finally Flew to Kealy’s Kafe, and Engine Starting Troubles”

  1. Cassidy says:

    Did you push the mixture in full when you turned on the fuel pump? If you didn’t, you probably aren’t going to get any fuel flow indication…

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