Welcome to Fly The Impossible

Day 9: Mechanic day

Full with optimism I loaded the truck with all the extra supplies I bought. I arrived early at the mechanic so I wouldn’t lose a single second as soon as the plane was finished. Craig took his tools and started analyzing the plane.

Now, imagine being on a trip that will take you across roughly 4500 NM and hopefully back. Through isolated areas and rough terrain, where the nearest suitable maintenance facility is literally up to 2000 NM away. One would want his plane to be in perfect shape, ready for the adventure, very strong, unbreakable and extremely reliable.

So when I heard the verdict “your main oil line is about to burst, your muffler is cracked”, my optimism soon made room for frustration. From a mechanical point of view, it was a miracle I made it to Muskoka without an engine failure or bursting into flames. Thanks to the ingenuity of Craig & Dave, the airplane could be repaired the same day. While they were fiddling around with screws, oil and all kind of tools I’d never seen before, I tried to fit in the ferry tank in a secure way. When a 100 USG tank would start rolling in flight, there’s a big change you’ll end up in the news papers.

Because the tank was round (one of the characteristics of a cylindrical tank), it was very difficult to keep the outlet at the bottom while fuelling. In the late afternoon, the engine of the plane was fixed, and Craig took a look at my fuel tank struggle. We filled the tank, saw that it started moving a bit, and subsequently emptied it again. Emptying a 100 USG tank while trying to save the precious fuel, is not as easy as one might think. This was however the ideal moment to test the fuel pumps attached to the tank. Tip: an empty battery won’t power a fuel pump. And attaching a starter to the pumps directly won’t work either… Ah electricity, thy are mysterious! After an hour of pumping, the tank was empty, ready for a second attempt.

Dave decided the best course of action was to build a rudimentary strong wooden construction that would keep the tank from rolling. He would build that this evening, so I could leave the next day in the morning. If everything would go as planned I’d be out of Muskoka by noon. A very big if…

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