A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
Re: A-10 Sextant Manual
From: Greg Rudzinski
Date: 2009 Jun 14, 14:33 -0700
From: Greg Rudzinski
Date: 2009 Jun 14, 14:33 -0700
Gary, A thrilling first hand story! Glad you survived to tell us ;-) There was an episode of Magnum P.I. (TV) from the 1980s that featured one of the characters flying a Cessna from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Is this possible? Hollywood usually gets things wrong. If you were to fly from California to Hawaii in a small airplane what plane could do it and would it be an unreasonable risk? Greg On Jun 14, 1:56�pm, "glap...@pacbell.net"
wrote: > Mike Burkes ask me to give him more information concerning the engine > quitting while I was flying across the Atlantic in a Cessna 172. Since > I have already typed it up for him I figure I will bore you guys with > the story too. > > "I was ferrying a new C-172H to the Cessna distributor in Brussels in > 1978. That was the model that Cessna switched from using a Continental > engine to a Lycoming in the C-172. As in the past, the ferry company > equipped the plane with a fifty gallon ferry tank placed on the floor > where the co-pilots seat had been, that seat had been folded up and > placed in the baggage compartment. The ferry tank was plumbed into a > "T-fitting" in the fuel system downstream from the main fuel selector > valve and had its own on-off valve. > > Departed at midnight, IFR out of Newfoundland for the Azores as there > was ice in the clouds all the way to Iceland on the northern route. > Climbed to FL 100 on the main tanks then turned the main fuel valve > off and the ferry valve on. > > The first land you come to on that route is the island of Flores which > is at the northwest end of the Azores chain, 1050 NM from > Newfoundland. You can't land there but must continue to the airport on > Santa Maria island at the far southeast end of the chain, about 400 NM > further. I had flight planned 14 hours enroute with 16 hours of fuel > onboard. > > Shot some fixes during the first few hours to check ground speed and > drift. About four or five hours into the flight (I don't have my notes > with me) the engine stopped cold. That gets your attention. I lowered > the nose to maintain flying speed and then the engine started running > again. So I leveled off and the engine quit again. I went through > several of these cycles and determined that the engine would run with > the nose down but not in level flight so I kept the nose down, DUH! I > thought this through and theorized that after the fuel had burned down > to a certain point in the ferry tank, sitting next to me on the floor, > that it did not supply enough fuel pressure to push the gas through > the carburetor in the Lycoming engine although there had never been a > problem with this ferry tank arrangement in earlier C-172s. So by > lowering the nose I was raising the ferry tank higher above the > carburetor supplying a greater head of fuel pressure and this got the > engine going again. > The only problem with keeping the nose down was that I was descending > towards the Atlantic. When I got down to 2,000 feet (actually FL 020 > since the altimeter was set to 29.92, the standard practice over the > ocean), as low as I dared to go without a local altimeter setting, IFR > at night in the middle of the Atlantic, �I turned the ferry tank off > and the main tanks back on and climbed back up to FL 100. I repeated > this cycle three of four times (maybe it was five or six times, I > don't remember right now), each time the engine would quit again and I > would have to keep getting the nose lower and lower to get the engine > to run again. I had to do this to get all of the fuel out of the ferry > tank so I could make it to Santa Maria. �Finally the engine wouldn't > keep running no matter how low I pointed the nose so I went back on > the mains and completed the flight. I shot some sun lines as I > approached Flores and hit it right on ETA. Then continued �on and > landed at Santa Maria about fourteen and a half hours after departure. > > There was no excitement on the 800 NM leg to Porto Portugal or on the > leg across the Bay of Biscay to Nantes or on the last leg into > Brussels. > > After this they built a frame to hold the ferry tank about two feet > above the floor and no more problems on later flights.." > gl > > On Jun 11, 8:21�am, Gary LaPook wrote: > > > I guess it all depends on your perspective. I have flown across the > > Atlantic in a plane as small as a �Cessna 172, single engine, four > > seats, (and had the engine quit a number of times in the middle of the > > ocean in the middle of the night, whew!) while using my trusty A-10A to > > shoot stars and the sun in order to find Flores in the Azores so as to > > be able to refuel. > > > gl > > > douglas.de...@btopenworld.com wrote: > > > Regarding �Sir Francis Chichester: > > > > Dr. Kolbe has it right. > > > > I was referring not his astonishing navigation for which I have the very highest regard indeed, but to the fact he was willing to put his life on the line with an aeroplane that he describes in his book already had various problems such as having fitting floats without checking if they leaked or not, and an engine that had already given him problems, and in the run-up check before leaving for Norfolk Island he says:- > > > > "I could only get 1780 revs, forty less than I expected, and my spirits sank. I should never get off with a full load with a motor like that, but said nothing to the CO about it. �The seaplane was launched. I faced her into the wind, and opened the throttle; to my surprise she left the water as easily as a sea bird..... ". > > > > The man must have been mad or very determined, or both. > > > > To cross the Tasman Sea - a nasty stretch of water notorious for bad weather, two thirds the width of the Atlantic, in a single engined float plane with engine in dubious condition is more than reckless. � But got away with it. > > > > My impression from reading his books is he was what we would call a "loose cannon" and contemptuous of any advice or authority. �From reading about him it seems he must have been a truly remarkable person but not very 'likeable'. > > > > Douglas Denny. > > > > Chichester. 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