Angel Flight – Saturday, Jan 14th, 2012

Mission: Move a female passenger from Boston to Wings Field down to Greensboro, NC to somewhere in South Georgia. There were three legs to this mission, and mine was the middle leg. An instructor from Delaware Airpark, Jason, came along for what turned out to be a seven hour ride in strong westerly winds (typically 75 mph). The flight legs went very smoothly, though the winds held us all back a bit.

My passenger reported being cold in my newly appointed back seats, but my monster heater didn’t seem to be a remedy. Turns out there is a considerable air leak on one of the fresh air nozzles – kind of like an industrial air conditioner on this flight. That issue could have developed during the interior work, or it could have been that way for awhile. I reviewed the ventilation schematics and it looks like the remedy is right there at the nozzle itself. As for the heat, I’ll also have to ensure there is no ‘new carpet’ blockage of the rearward heater vents and that they are open. I haven’t had to consider heat for awhile, but flying in -11 degrees C air at 8,000′ reminds you.

The fuel plan worked out great, or at least as planned. We flew the Twin Comanche for a total of 7.0 hours yesterday without refueling. The airplane burned 13.8 gallons per hour total – 6.9 GPH per side. Not too bad for 166kt cruising speed. The last leg of the day was Delaware Airpark to 33N, after I dropped Jason off. I had dipped the tanks out at GSO, and the burns were less than planned, so I knew I had adequate reserves.

Getting to the point on fuel, I landed at GED at night with 5.0 gallons in each main tank, and 3 gallons in the aux tanks. That is an hour total if you run the aux tanks dry (at night after flying all day and being low), and 40 minutes until the mains go dry if you avoid using the aux tanks. Plenty of fuel – but what I should have done was to take on 8 gallons of fuel per side in the mains while at Delaware Airpark. No reason not too. I’ll avoid this going forward by loading 8 gal per side in the mains whenever the next leg will leave me with less than that upon arrival at my destination. I avoided the cold and made the last quick leg a higher risk than necessary.

I left the airplane in GED for an oil change and to comply with several required periodic AD inspections. I also have a tripped breaker on the rotating beacon/belly strobe I just noticed, and a desire to change the light color on the new glideslope coupler. Hopefully the guys down here can get to all this for my trip to Florida on Friday.