Visibility: about 50 km
Equipment: MD3 Rider (D-MASL)
It is a fair deal: My friend with his American death missile (I borrowed that term from Captain Dave) uses it to shoot us to the airport and I take over from there. The day is nice and the airport is busy.
I pre-flight the trusted “Rider” and he snaps the first pictures. I feel great! We get aboard and I run the engine start check list. All is clear, the starter cranks but the engine does not start. Strange. I try again, nothing.
The Rotax engine usually starts up right away with a very characteristic “bang”. The airplanes of the flight school are used often and are very well maintained. They have two good technicians.
After another one or two attempts, the engine finally come sputtering to life. It runs lousy, though. I decide to keep it running for a bit to see if it was just flooded. And sure enough after a few moments it runs almost normal. Temperature and oil pressure are good but is there a funny sound? I am not sure.
I check in with the tower and the friendly voice on the air asks me if I think my engine sounds funny. That does it for me, we are staying on the ground today.
We are sitting on the terrace of the airport restaurant having a beer instead of a pleasure flight. As we watch everybody else take off, I think that it is not easy to actually cancel a flight when in doubt.
To be continued…
(originally posted on September 10, 2011 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/when-in-doubt-dont/)