Mailing List Message #63415
From: Ernest Christley <>
Subject: Re: [FlyRotary] Re: Engine out
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2017 03:40:43 +0000 (UTC)
To: Rotary motors in aircraft <>

Thank you,  Kelly!!

On Saturday, June 3, 2017 10:08 PM, Kelly Troyer <> wrote:


Well at least you have been flying !! That is more than I can say...........As Richard said "Fly the Airplane"...........Good job my friend glad you are OK.........

Kelly Troyer

On Sat, Jun 3, 2017 at 8:47 PM, Todd Bartrim <> wrote:
Geezz Ernest, I'm glad you're alright! That really sucks, but at least you're determined (stubborn?) enough to get right back at it.
  I've always felt the fuel delivery system is the most challenging part to get right. Due to design issues it is sometimes hard to get it dead simple. In my case it's because I've got to manage so darn many tanks, but in your case I would assume for some reason the selector was located out of reach, requiring an extension rod?
  I can also assume you've already thought that one over and how to eliminate that in your rebuild.
   I'm glad you still report to the list as regardless of engine choice, you still share many of the same challenges as we do.
Besides, once a RotorHead, always a RotorHead!


Todd Bartrim

On Sat, Jun 3, 2017 at 6:12 PM, Ernest Christley <> wrote:
I'm running a Corvair instead of a rotary, but I thought you guys would be interested in how I seem to be chasing Ed's gliding time.

Monday, I started the day with 3 hours of fuel, plus an hour's reserve. The plane had been down for 2 months while I did some upgrades, and I went out and did all sorts of interesting flying for 1.7 hours.  The weather was beautiful, and the plane was performing better than it ever has.  I was reluctantly headed in for the day, when the right tank ran dry.  I tried to switch, but the left tank wouldn't come online. I called an emergency on KTTA's frequency, since I had been circling their airspace the whole time (just in case something happened). It was nice to get that support from other pilots over the air, even if there was not one dang thing they could do.  I was 12 miles out, with the airport clearly in sight.  I headed straight for it as I continued to play with the selector switch.  My dual electric fuel pumps make a clackity racket when they're running dry, so I kept moving the handle back and forth hoping for the noise to turn into that deep guttural sounds that lets me know fuel is flowing.  I got nuthin', and TTA kept climbing up my windshield.

I turned toward highway US421.  It was covered in cars, and it soon became apparent that it wasn't going to happen either.  I looked around, picked a field, and set up a pattern to it.  Initially, it was a tobacco field, but I had come in to hot.  I had been afraid of extending the pattern to far.  There was a gravel road running beside it, so I swung over, but it took a sharp right about 100yds ahead.  I didn't think I could make the turn, so I banked left into an open field. The clumps of grass were about 8" high. The nose wheel caught, folded under, and I slid along on the cowl.

I've spent the past week pulling airplane parts out of the farmer's field, and today I got about the business of determining what happened.  The gascolator had a few pieces of trash in the bottom, but I'm not sure from where it came from.  I took the selector valve apart, and there didn't seem to be anything going on with it.  It turned smoothly, if not somewhat stiffly.  Then I played with the rod that connected the selector handle to the valve.  It was made from a 9" length of threaded rod.  An adaptor pinned it onto the valve's post.  Another adaptor connected to the inside of the handle.  Without turning an allen wrench pushed through the pin hole, I could turn the selector handle 90 degrees.  The rod just twisted like bubble gum. Apparently, with two months of sitting, the valve had gotten sticky enough that the rod gave before it did.  

I was completely unharmed.  I've suffered more damage getting the plane out of the field than I did putting it there.  The nose gear, firewall, forward belly and left side skin are trashed.  The rebuild starts tomorrow with building a stand to hold the engine while I work the aluminium.

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