GAN contributing writer Amelia Reiheld is participating in the Air Race Classic with partner Linda Keller. Unfortunately, the pair have run into some mechanical issues deep in the heart of Texas. Here’s their latest blog post: Gusty hot wind and remarkable hospitality are the things that will stick in our minds about today’s adventures so far. We headed out to the airplane, hooked up the gadgetry, taxied out for takeoff, and immediately knew that all was not well. Radios were scratchy. Panel-mount GPS went dark. Much-vaunted Anywhere Map Septa wouldn’t start at all, not so much as a flicker.
We taxied back to see what might be making the electrical system unhappy, and I sat on ‘ignore’ listening to AnywhereMap’s hold music — figured I might as well trouble-shoot my end of things, while Linda figured out hers. Got REALLY tired of listening to Beethoven’s first piano sonata, and Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, even though I’m fond of both composers. For some reason, nobody there wanted to talk to me. Can’t understand that….(eye-rolling smiley here.) So there’s no AnywhereMap at all, and no AWM tech support. Good thing we have paper charts. If we get the airplane going again, we’ll be running through a line of big thunderstorms between here and our destination, without benefit of XM-Weather. I hate to say it, but I wish I’d borrowed my brother’s proffered Garmin-695 instead!
The lovely men running things at Borger, Texas, made phone calls, recommended a fine mechanic 35 miles west, who made room in his hangar for us. One of them hand-propped us, we noted that there was no charging happening, and alternator flickering. Nonetheless, we were soon on our way to Dumas, Texas, a half hour in the wrong direction, following roads, with only one radio and no lights on. It wasn’t but a moment before the whole electrical system flickered its last, and died. Fortunately, there wasn’t a crowd trying to get into Moore County Airport.
Mechanic Rocky soon had his head under the cowling, and took off to a local autoparts store to check out the alternator. The good news was that the alternator checked out OK, and we don’t have to go to Amarillo or Lubbock to pick up a new alternator. The bad news? Rocky just got a phone call saying his dad has just had a stroke, and is on his way to the hospital. So, understandably enough, is Rocky. *sigh* Poor guy.
So, not sure what amusement there is in Dumas, Texas, but I expect we’ll find out. Meanwhile, 40-some other airplanes are headed for Mobile, aiming to get there before sunset tomorrow night. Wish we were there!