Sunday, May 20, 2012


Well, when the cowling was finally taken off the engine, after spending the afternoon wondering how long I was going to be in Indiana, the flight instructor/jet pilot who was helping me, immediately said, "Well, there's your problem!"  pointing to a spark plug lead that had unscrewed and was hanging there.  A few quick turns with a wrench, I started Freddy up, switched to the left magnetos and they sounded like normal!  All good to go!  We tightened the other spark plug leads, put the cowling back on and issued Freddy a clean bill of health, my now-buddy, Ted, saying, "That's probably the fastest and cheapest ($0) fix you'll probably ever have!"  I answered with a big smile and many thanks for his willingness to help.  It was too late to fly that evening so I put my sleeping bag and pad on the grass behind Fred and slept a very sound evening in the grass.


In the morning I did a short flight south to Kokomo, Indiana (perhaps this is where the beach boys were singing about...) to have breakfast with a Colby friend, Carrie, who I hadn't seen in a long time and then up to Madison, Wisconsin to see Krista, a friend from my first round on the Ice, and her boyfriend, Leith.  It was great to see all these friends that day and the next morning I departed for Wyoming!

Team green!
It was smooth flying for the most part, and some interesting sights below including the Mississippi river.  Some sights were perhaps more scary than interesting.  The picture with the white buildings look like scenes I saw from the movie, Food, Inc.  And the other one of livestock pens...sometimes, often, it's good to eat vegetarian, I am reminded.

I almost made it all the way to Lander, but with fading light I decided to call it early and land in Douglas, Wyoming.  It was a beautiful evening and I bedded down under the wing on the pavement after tying up Freddy.  No one was there, but it was a nice night and I was tired after many hours in the air.  I slept well and was up at 4am to make it to Lander by around 7 Tuesday morning for the NOLS Faculty Summit! 

The faculty summit was great and after doing a few things around Lander, seeing some friends and watching The Avengers, it is time to start heading eastish...tomorrow to Boulder, Colorado if the weather cooperates!  Back into the skies tomorrow!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Flying to Wyoming!

The flying adventure has begun again, though currently it is day 2 and Freddy (the Cessna-172, tail numbered N7202G) has a cold and so we are grounded.  Somehow between this morning's run up check in Zelienople, PA and this afternoon's run up check in Rochester, Indiana, he developed a problem with his left magneto/ignition system.  Better problems to come when on the ground!

Freddy at his home base in Norwood, MA.

So now grounded with potentially some help this early evening, from a local who's got the torque wrenches and other tools to pull and check the spark plugs.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  Otherwise I may be here until Monday when the mechanics come back to work.

I left Norwood, MA yesterday (Friday) and am enroute to the NOLS Annual Faculty Summit.  Yesterday.  I had a bumpy ride yesterday morning to Sullivan County airport, in NY, but a much smoother ride in the afternoon into Pennsylvania.

Freddy in Zelionople, PA.
I arrived and in PA and skateboarded up to a few airport folks who were soon amused by my story of being from near Boston and my plans to sleep in the plane.  As usual the small airport hospitality was forthcoming and was offered keys to a truck and an inside spot to sleep in.  So I spent the evening skateboarding around the airport, then going for a run and then planning today's proposed flight to Madison, Wisconsin.

My spot for the night.

An even smoother ride was had this morning, cruising at 6,500 feet with a max speed of 132 mph!  Stopped for lunch, fuel and to get a weather update when Fred said he's didn't feel like going.

Now I've made some friends, have a courtesy car at my disposal, to compliment my bike and skateboard, and am waiting to see if I will get some help from a local guy named Ted.  Talking to the guy at the pilot shop here, he commented, "A real adventure, huh!"  I said, "Yep!"

Flying out to a NOLS Faculty Summit the things we as NOLS instructors teach are in my mind.  Pack-packing has become airplane packing.  Tolerance for Adversity and Uncertainty for things mechanical issues join TOA for weather delays.  The list goes on.  Expeditionary skills for the wilderness of the sky!

So now we wait!