Mailing List Message #63418
From: Ed Anderson <>
Subject: Re: [FlyRotary] Re: Engine out
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2017 08:30:42 -0400
To: Rotary motors in aircraft <>
Great Landing, Ernest!!!   Glad you made it down safe and sound.  The aircraft can be repaired as you know – provided you are still around to do so.  I was fortunate to have made it back to an airport both times – one a 12 mile glide and the last a 71/2 miles into Selma, Al.  I understand the too hot approach.  On my first one, I made it to the airport at around 2500 feet, did one 360 and was still too high, but afraid to try another one and run out of altitude before completing it.  I kept telling myself “ Ed, you’ve got it made, just don’t do anything stupid now!!”.  So ended up doing tight “S” turns on final to loose altitude, still came over the fence at 100 mph – fortunately, it was a 4000 ft strip.  One of the smoothest landings I have ever made.  Concentration does wonders.
You certainly did things in the right order.  Whenever, I even suspected a problem, I immediately turn toward the nearest suitable airport/strip and then I start the trouble shooting – that way you are making headway to a safe landing  while working on the problem.
Any landing into just about any circumstance is better than no landing, as Bob Hoover said – “... if you are going to crash, flight as far into the crash as possible..”  - or forced landing as it may be.
Anyhow, great to hear you are OK.  Still need a bit more time to catch up with me, thought {Open-mouthed smile)

On 6/3/2017 8:12 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.

Richard Sohn
8029 County HWY 1087
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433
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