My biennial flight review was fun and pretty much uneventful until my engine quit. Fortunately it happened after we’d finished and I was pulling off the runway to taxi back to the tie down line.
I decided to do my BFR with Jim Hood. I took GPS ground training with him last summer, and did an IPC and some air training when the Dakota finished its engine break-in, and found him to be a really good instructor, with a very positive attitude and highly knowledgeable. I try to do each BFR with a different instructor to pick up on the differences in style and different areas of knowledge and emphasis.
We met at the airport at 5:30, and spent the required hour going through chart interpretation, runway signs, regulations, etc. That went well – I didn’t know that the hold short lines are depicted on the back of the runway intersection sign. I’ve probably seen them, but I’ve never noticed.
We flew out to the practice area, and did slow flight, stalls, steep turns, even ground reference maneuvers. I haven’t done ground reference maneuvers since my private checkride, but I guess it went ok. He pulled the power after one turn around the point and I set up for an emergency landing. The first field I selected turned out to be behind a cell phone tower, so I picked a different one. I was set up on a pretty decent stabilized descent before Jim gave me my engine back.
Jim said it was time to go back to Rochester to do some touch and goes. On the way, I think I got it stabilized at “23 squared” (23 inches manifold pressure, 2300 rpm), but I started to lose altitude and looked down to see I was at 17 inches m.p. That may be significant later.
At Rochester, I did a short field landing, a normal take-off, a soft field landing, a soft field take off, and normal landing, a short field obstacle take-off, and then one last normal landing – except when opposite the numbers Jim pulled the throttle and I had to to it dead stick. It went pretty well, and I put it on the numbers. I rolled out and off the runway, and as I crossed the hold short line I started to switch to the ground frequency to engine totally died. And I was totally unable to restart it. Jim tried as well. No dice.
We had to call Landmark Aviation to come out and tow us back to the tie-down line. What an embarrassment. We must have been the most exciting thing on the field, because as well as the tow tug, we also got the crash rescue vehicle and two airport vehicles come out to see us.
Now it’s time to figure out how this happened. The m.p. drop I saw on the way might indicate induction ice – it’s pretty rare in a fuel injected engine, but it can happen. Another possibility is flooding – we saw fuel on the ground under the engine, but that could have just been from our attempts to restart it. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. I’ll have to go out to the airport soon and see if I can start it once it’s dried out. Too bad we ran the battery down trying to start it on the taxiway, because it was giving good crank up until that point.
But I’m sure glad it happened at the end of the BFR, and not while climbing out after our previous practice emergency landing in the practice area.