MS Walk

We’ve been watching the weather for today all week.  Every year, the Walk for MS seems to be on the poopiest weather day ever!  Sure enough, el yuck-o today.  I phoned Flight Service in London for a weather briefing.  The good news was that I had enough clearance from the clouds to fly.  The bad news was that it was extremely windy.  The gusts were up to 40 knots.  Fortunately, the winds were heading right down one of the runways at the St. Catharines Airport, so I didn’t have to worry about cross-wind landings.  Still, it was very windy and gusty. 

I arrived at the airport for 8:00.  My plane was plugged in overnight, so my oil was nice and warm and ready to flow.  We pulled the plane out (actually, it just blew out of the hangar) and I climbed in to crank him up.  When I turned the key – nothing.  Not even a whimper from the engine.  I tried a few times and the same result.  I turned on a few electronics to see if I had any juice in the battery.  Everything worked fine.  I was starting to panic a bit because I had less than half an hour before the Walk started.  A pilot from the Flying Club came out to investigate.  He assumed it was the battery.  We tried to hand-prop the plane, but it wouldn’t catch.  We then pushed it back into the hangar and hooked the battery up to a charger.  After a few minutes, back out into the wind we went and I tried to start it again – nothing.  The Walk has pretty much started now.  The pilot attempted to hand-prop a bunch more times.  I felt so bad for him because it’s quite a bit of work plus it’s rather dangerous.  I almost flew out of my seat when the engine finally caught.  I yelled “I love you, man!” and headed further out on the apron to do my run-up and call the Tower. I was reminded of how insane the winds were as I headed out to the runway.  I couldn’t believe how fast I took off.  It seems like a couple of seconds before the plane was just sucked into the air.  I’ve never seen the runway get so small so fast.  I zipped over to the Walk site and called Chuck.  He said that were walking/blowing along the canal.  I was thrilled to see the clouds were gone over the Walk site.  This meant I was able to do some aerobatics on the Airport side of the canal.  After performing the mini air show, I headed over to the Walk site in Welland.  I only saw a small group of Walkers:

I couldn’t get any decent shots due to the crazy wind.  On the way back to St. Catharines, I hit such a huge gust that my butt left my seat and my GPS antenna went flying to the roof!  I was starting to think of my joyous landing I now had to make.  The winds were still right down the runway, which made things a little less stressful.  I was very happy with how it went, although it was quite the struggle!  After landing, I said to the Tower “Wow, did you see that!”  He replied “We thought you just stopped the plane and set it down on the runway.”  The head wind was so strong that it must have looked like I was hardly moving forward at all.  I was very happy to be back on the ground – I don’t think I’ve ever thought that before.

I drove over to the Walk site and met up with Jan and Chuck.  We stayed for a bit, then headed over to Bailiff Auction to check out his stuff.  I decided to drive one of their kid cars they have for sale:

I drove this one around the inside of the building when I was there yesterday.  Yes, I’m really mature.

Check this out, those little white dots aren’t flecks of cat dander, it’s snow!

Today’s symptoms: I was a little tired from not sleeping too well last night, but no serious fatigue today!  And no headache!

Posted by Lizzy McFly at 4/17/2011 4:40 PM

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