My father-in-law mentined on Thursday that the airplane had a more substantial oil leak than prior. Then Friday morning, one of the other partners texted me that there was a large amount of oil coming out of the cowl after a quick flight. I was in Springfield, so I planned to stop by the hangar on my way home.
The first thing I did was check the oil and noted that the oil level was down to 3 qts. I immediately pulled the keys out, put a note on our scheduling board that the plane was grounded until further notice, and called our mechanic who agreed and offered to come out Saturday morning to see what was going on.
By the time he arrived on Saturday I had already removed the cowling and done my own looking around. After a thorough inspection of the engine, we decided to clean all of the oil off of the engine and firewall, then do an engine run to see if we could identify the leak. After a thorough cleaning and adding some oil to the engine, we rolled it out and started it up without the cowl. It only took 30 seconds of engine running for Larry to identify the leak with an obvious stream of oil coming out through the alternator. The diagnosis was that the oil seal on the alternator was bad, or perhaps a bent shaft on the alternator.
We pushed the plane back in, drained the oil and removed the alternator, which was just installed during the annual earlier this year. Now, we start the dance of getting a warranty replacement.
On Sunday Erica and I set out on a photo adventure. We had been to Calico Rock, AR back in the spring, but wanted to go back now that things were a little greener. City Rock Bluff across, and upriver from Calico Rock is a neat place to visit and take in the sights. On the way back we went through North Fork and happened across the River Run restaurant at PJ’s White River Lodge. We had a nice (but long) lunch there then took a few photos around North Fork before heading home via Mountain Home.
Well, this weekend didn’t hold much in the way of aviation. At first, Erica and I thought we might run over to Eureka Springs on Saturday afternoon, but we wound up deciding to drive up to Montauk State Park for a look around. Sunday morning, we woke up early intending to fly down to Gaston’s for breakfast, but foggy conditions and a forecast for rain caused us to seek local breakfast food. Finally, Sunday afternoon we thought about hopping over to Branson to go down to the landing, but the low weather South of Branson and a low cloud layer in Willow caused us to postpone that idea.
Ultimately, we just stayed in the area and did a little flying. There was a low scattered deck of clouds at 3,000 ft, so we climbed up to 4,000 ft and explored a little in the clouds (maintaining VFR clearance requirements).
I want to start Commercial training shortly, so I planned to practice (or at least try) some of the commercial maneuvers. I did a power off 180 to landing at Mountain View, then on the way over to West Plains, I flew an “interpretation” of a lazy 8, and another power off 180 at West Plains. The third power off 180 at Willow was pretty good, but I decided to make another trip around the pattern, and my final 180 was not as good as the third one. Should have quit while I was ahead.
Cloud photos courtesy of Erica Humphreys