Flight #20                                       

Conducted 3/2/2013 -

John's flight report to the Cozy list is below:

"We decided to have an early lunch before conducting the next flight, so after giving the plane a once over and eating my lunch, we pushed it back out and I called for the fuel truck, and unlatch the fuel caps for them (they have a tough time with them while wearing heavy winter gloves). The FBO informed me that the line guys would be over in a few minutes, but after 30 minutes there was still no truck. Itís not unusual for it take 10 minutes or so if theyíre bringing in one of the corp jets, but I thought perhaps they forgot me. I called again, and was told that the line guys had been sent out to the runway to deal with a blown tire on a plane that landed.

Another 30 minutes past, and I began to realize that if I was going to have enough time to get 2 flights in I would have to leave soon. I didnít need the fuel for flight endurance, but rather for ballast. I was about 10-12 gallons low, so I decided instead of continuing to wait I would load another 60lb sandbag and take off on the x-wind runway. I secured the sandbag in the left rear seat and latched the pilot side fuel cap. I gathered my tablet and headset and set out for a second attempt at the 101.7Ēcg test.

This time the stall speeds were in line with my expectations. The only thing that didnít go as expected was my O2 saturation. As mentioned, I conduct my stall and stability testing at 10k feet. I often fly at 8-10k and have never had so much as even a headache. I do, however, use a fingertip pulse/ox to monitor my O2 saturation. Normally I maintain about 90-92% at 10k, but on my second check, I had fallen to 87% and repeated checks confirmed it wasnít just a sensor position issue. I still didnít feel any ill effects, but it was low enough below my norm that I felt it was best to descend. Besides, with the stall series complete, I didnít feel a need to be up as high for stability testing.

I conducted the rest of the tests, and returned again to the airport. By this time it was after 3pm, and I wasnít sure Iíd have time for another flight before the clouds were scheduled to drop in. They were already forming to the east, and according to the weather they were going to continue forming into the evening, and then clear out again in the morning. I decided to forego another flight until morning.

So this morning we headed back out to the airport, and I started to preflight the plane. I didnít make it very far before finding out that I wasnít going anywhere. For all of you who figured it out 3 paragraphs ago, youíre correct. I was missing the co-pilot side fuel cap. In my haste to get going the day before I forgot to secure that cap, and apparently the SS cable I used to secure the cap to the retaining plate wasnít strong enough to hold it. I used a electrical ring terminal crimped to the cable and bolted to the retaining plate to secure the cable. The cable looked as though it frayed from the flapping around, and eventually broke. I ran back to the propeller, and looked it over. I must have gotten lucky, because I could find no evidence that anything went through the prop. For a couple of minutes I considered using duct tape as a make shift fuel cap, but ultimately decided I had enough lapses in memory and judgment for one weekend. Better to simply order a new cap, and learn what I can from the mistakes made over the weekend. All in all, the plane flew great I was able to get a few more hours closer to phase 2."