Climbing to Cruise
Climbing to Cruise
I saw this on another list and thought is was interesting. A guy was on
this flight in his Cherokee 180 and asked his fellow listers what they'd do
next. Wouldn't this be about the same engine as is in my Sundowner? So I
thought I'd ask you veterans what you would do next...
Here's the scenario:
On a Friday afternoon you depart KJYO (Leesburg, VA, 14 miles NW of Dulles)
on an IFR flight plan to KMVY (Martha's Vineyard, MA). You have 3 on board
(with luggage) in your Cherokee 180 launching off the runway at 3:30 PM
local time. You're loaded to within 100 lbs of max gross, you have full
fuel on board, current charts, and up to date databases in your GPS and MFD.
Everything preflighted OK, and the engine has less than 60 hours since new.
The mag drop is normal, with 35 RPM drop on the left, 80 RPM drop on the
The departure weather is 8K OVC, VIS 15. The ground temperature is in the
low 50s. A low pressure disturbance, centered about 150 miles east of Cape
May, NJ is headed north towards New England, bringing overcast skies to most
of the Middle Atlantic. Rain showers and ceilings between 4 & 6 thousand
feet are predicted by 7 PM local. Since the wx is dominated by the low, the
counter-clockwise rotation creates a 35 knot headwind for the majority of
The route takes you from Baltimore across the Delaware River to Milville,
NJ, then north to NYC, then across Long Island Sound and along the
Connecticut shoreline, crossing Narragansett Bay to Martha's Vineyard. (For
you purists, the route is
Departing Virginia you climb to 7K and maintain over 100 knots GS until you
turn north. While you're talking to Dover AFB Approach you descend to 5K to
see if that helps at all - it doesn't. You fly into IMC and watch the
temperatures closely - the OAT hovers at 5 degrees C, so airframe icing
isn't a problem. Visibility goes down to less than a mile or two while you
fly along in the clouds. The windshield is continually covered in spray,
and the wing is wet.
After switching over from Atlantic City Approach to Maguire AFB Approach,
you request lower, but it's 'not available'. You have to cross JFK at 5K or
higher anyway, so you continue to fly along in the bottom of the clouds.
The ground is occasionally visible below. Given the poor groundspeeds, you
call in and change destination to Bridgeport (45 minutes flying time from
here) because the Shadin fuel flow gauge shows your reserve at MVY to be
less than minimums. You find yourself subconsciously pushing the throttle
forward more and more trying to coax better than 85 KTS GS. The AFSS at BDR
will give you a chance to look at the storm off the coast and make doubly -
sure everything's OK You consult your co-pilot and Chief of Staff, who
confirms the go-no go rationale of wx check, declare an alternate, and push
on, if safe - return west, if not.
Just as Maguire hands you off to NY Approach, the E.I. 8 probe engine
analyzer indicates a potential problem - cylinders 3 & 4 are running 100
degrees hotter than normal EGT readings - but all four cylinders are running
40 degrees colder CHT. You adjust the mixture leaner to see if that helps
the CHT, while watching the EGT like a hawk.
2 minutes later, crossing Colt's Neck, feet wet over the entrance to New
York harbor, the NY Approach controller comments on your 'less than
Gulfsteam' speed, which prompts a discussion of the relative merits of
Cessna vs. Piper (he owns a 172). What little you can see of New York thru
the mist and clouds confirms the measly 80 KTS GS on the MFD.
That merits another check of the throttle, so you loosen the friction lock
and push the throttle, which you now realize is full forward ! A quick
check of the tach shows you at 75% power for 5K feet, so you pull the
throttle back slightly. This results in the engine immediately stumbling,
as if you leaned it out too much. You push the mixture level forward, but
that doesn't help much. The engine continues to run roughly, almost as if
it's only firing on one mag.
The next thing you would do is____________.
(I'll post the rest of the flight, and the 'correct' answer, tomorrow)
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By RickKoch in forum Musketeer-Mail Archive
Last Post: 05-09-2005, 02:36 PM
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