Here's an update on the 2022 FOD adventure that Rod and I had and continues still. First though, I'd like to thank Kevin for a great weekend with great weather, held at the friendliest airport that I've ever been to. Thanks for the cool gift too. Even had a virtual visit with Jim and Mary Masal, who look great by the way.
On Thursday, Rod arrived quite a bit earlier than I, due to his high speed Cozy III, while I flew in with the aero club's 1961 Cessna 150, far behind, and safely behind, Rodney's wake turbulence. I announced entry to the traffic pattern, which gave the landing judges time to assemble on the ramp, clearly in my view, as I fought the 16, gusting to 23 knots, direct crosswind. As a landing judge myself, I knew that the landing had the potential to provide a high level of entertainment, and as I was making my way to a more favorable airport, Kevin asked if I was still in the pattern. I replied "Negative", and returned to KDEH a couple of hours later, when the conditions were more favorable.
Sunday morning we began the return flights to Massachusetts. Our destination was Lima Ohio, one of our favorite stops. While the rest of the departing pilots faced strong headwinds, we were making great time due to the 25 knot tailwind, pushing the C150 into the Q2 groundspeed range. We arrived at KAOH, Lima, early, but we knew that we were going to catch up to a strong weather front, so we stayed for the night. We were in no rush to depart on Monday because the weather was blocking our route, but planned to go as far as we could. We decided to spend the night in Sidney NY and fly home on Tuesday or Wednesday, when the conditions were better. Perfect so far.
Tuesday was a long day at the airport in Sidney, and MVFR and IFR was showing up on the weather map, along with a healthy dose of scattered and much worse weather. I decided that if I was going to try to get home, 5 pm was the latest time that I would take off. Rod took off at around 4:00, and I decided to taxi to the fuel pump and fill up. This is where things went down hill.
After refueling I restarted the plane and it was running on three cylinders. After checking mags and unsuccessfully revving the engine, it was time to remove the cowl and investigate. It was easy to identify the cooler cylinder and suspect a stuck valve, which proved to be the case. Meanwhile I received a text from Rod that he had made it home, a 1.5 hour flight from Sidney. I arranged to get to work on the engine Wednesday morning with the mechanic on the field.
Wednesday morning we were able to free up the valve, but not confident that it would be reliable, I decided to leave the Cessna there and return when it was fixed. Rod offered to fly to Sidney, N23, and fly me to Orange, KORE.
Flying conditions could not have been better, and we departed Sidney for the less than one hour flight home. What happened next was unbelievable.
With an ETE of less than 15 minutes, a way too familiar shock went through the plane and everything shook like hell. Remarkably the engine kept running and Rod made an immediate 180 degree turn back to KPSF, Pittsfield Municipal Airport, approximately nine miles away. We were at 5500' MSL, about 4000 AGL, and Rod did an amazing job landing under the circumstances. He had power available to taxi to the ramp, where we removed the cowl and discovered that the #3 cylinder had broke in half, and separated from the crankcase. My wife Di drove to Pittsfield and picked us up, arriving home at 8:30 pm.
Today we trailered Rod's Cozy back to his hangar and I received news that the C150 is ready to go. I'll have to wait until Monday to get the Cessna and fly back to Orange. I'll let everyone know when my adventure is done, meantime..... looking forward to next year's FOD.