Well, I’m not going to get current like that…

I need to get IFR current again. I let 6 months go by without doing 6 approaches (actually, only did one). I wanted to fly to KAGC to pick up Laura on Friday, but I couldn’t because of a very thin looking broken layer at about 1500 feet – if I’d been IFR current I could have punched through that and been in VFR on top the whole way. This weekend was pretty clear, so I wanted to go up with a safety pilot and get current again. Saturday, I had to work. So it was Sunday or nothing. I had a brunch to go to earlier, so the plan was to get to the airport at around 1pm, and do some approaches with a safety pilot. My original plan was to do it with Jim, who wanted me to be his safety pilot as well, but he had to cancel. So I called another guy, Lance, who wanted to see what it was like to be a safety pilot. He was available.

When I got to the airport, I found the next problem: the plane I had booked, the Lance (yes, really) had a nose gear strut was almost completely flat. And even worse, the very slow leak of hydraulic fluid in the prop has turned into a veritable shower. There are red spatters all over the cowl, and a red streak covering most of the spinner. (Actually, I just this second got an email from a more experienced person who told me that the red oil is probably from the gear strut as well.) There is no way I wanted to be doing approaches in that. So Lance and I waited until one of the other pilots came back from their flight, which fortunately didn’t take too long.

Once we got into the air, I found the next problem: the breezy conditions made it quite turbulent, especially down low. I should have realized that this would be the case, but I’d put it out of my head. I went out to Geneseo VOR and did one turn around the hold – it was quite bumpy and hard to hold altitude and heading. There were two other planes doing holds there, one at 3,000 and one at 3,500, so I went to 4,000. It wasn’t any smoother up there. One turn was enough, and because of the bumps I decided to skip my usual non-precision approach to Le Roy or Canadiagua and go straight into the ILSes.

The first ILS went ok, except at about 300 feet above decision height there was a tremendous bump and suddenly the localizer needle went several dots off. I wasn’t at full deflection before DH, but it was bloody close. Getting vectored around for the second one, I was starting to feel airsick, so I told approach that I was going to make this one a full stop. Once again, I was right in the donuts until about 300 feet above DH, and it suddenly started going all wrong. At about 100 feet above DH I took off the foggles and landed uneventfully.

Now to figure out what to do with the Lance and its mystery oil leak.

One thought on “Well, I’m not going to get current like that…”

  1. I just this second got an email from a more experienced person who told me that the red oil is probably from the gear strut as well.

    He’s probably right. There shouldn’t be red grease in your prop – Aeroshell 5 or 7 are both black greases. The only other fluid in the prop is engine oil, and that certainly shouldn’t be red.

    The nose strut, though, should be full of red hydralic fluid.

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