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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

High Speed Taxi

“Clear!” The words rang across the tarmac at TKI. As the engine caught, I positioned the throttle for 1500 RPMs to warm up the engine on a chilly day, and finished the rest of the “Starting Engine” check list.

Starter disengaged? Check. Oil pressure? Rising into the green. Turn off electric pump – pressure steady on the engine driven mechanical pump. Turn on the Avionics and radios.
“Collin County Automated weather. 22 57 Zulu. Temperature 8, dewpoint -2. winds 180 at 5. Sky clear, visibility 10. Altimeter 30.31. Contact ground on 121.8, advise on initial contact you have India”

It’s Sunday morning. Despite the previous post, I’m not in church, I am flying my Beechcraft Sundowner, a low wing 4 seater with one 180 HP engine on the front.

After contacting ground, I’m cleared to taxi using taxiway Alpha to the end of runway 17 (the number refers to the magnetic heading of the runway, in this case 176 degrees. Pilots are taught to check that the heading on their compass before taking off agrees with the number of the runway assigned to prevent taking off on the wrong runway. The Delta Commuter pilots in Kentucky a few years ago obviously skipped that part).

On the run up – check the controls are free and my own add-on line item – visually check that they move the right way and both gas caps are on. Increase engine RPM to 2200, and turn off the magnetos sequentially and then add carburetor heat, and make sure that in each case the engine drops less than 50 RPMs. Turn off the alternator and make sure that the ammeter goes negative, then turn it back on, and ensure it goes positive. Back to idle, and turn on the radar transponder, make sure I have the right fuel tank selected, fuel mixture is full rich, and electric fuel pump is on. Tune to the tower and call “Sundowner xxx is ready on runway 17, I just had some engine work done, request high speed taxi then return to the end for take off”.
I had some work done on the starter motor. It shouldn’t have affected anything else, but I’m cautious when someone other than me was doing anything to the main component that allows my airplane to go up when I pull on the stick.

“Sundowner xxx cleared high speed taxi runway 17”. I lined up, added full power, but didn’t pull back at flying speed. The sundowner skipped across the bumps, clearing wanting to go up, but I pulled the throttle lever back to idle, and let the aircraft slow down. I pulled off the runway, and called for taxi clearance back to the departure end.

Back at the end, I called for take off clearance,, and asked for some touch and go’s, which were approved. Lined up, and this time at flying speed (65kts) I pulled us off the ground, let the speed climb to 75kts and climbed out at almost 1000 ft/min.

Seems good……

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