As most of you know I am a private pilot as well as an A&P, yesterday I had a ton of firsts I thought I’d share with you all. First up was my first flight in our PA24-250 N224K we had just completed the rebuild after it was geared up in 2015. That included a complete re skin of the fuselage belly, new engine, new prop, and while we were at at a complete panel upgrade.
My instructor and I took a short single lap around the pattern. She wanted to make sure I knew how to land the thing 😂. It was very uneventful however on the taxi out is where my eventful day began. As we made our way to the runway an aircraft was looking for our hanger asking for help on the radio. We relayed to him where we were located then airport ops said they would show him the way. After which he proceeded to say “I may need him to look at my rudder I may have damaged something when I landed at your other field”. We don’t have another field we have an airport that has been shut down for a decade now. The runway has been torn up and just loose gravel remains. My instructor and I just looked at each other and said the old airport!
We proceeded on our quick 10 minute flight round the pattern then taxied back to the hanger where we were met by this man that called in earlier. My boss asked me to go look at his rudder issue, while we worked up a quote for new avionics. I looked at the issue which was blown out seals on the brakes making it not turn in one direction. He gave us the go ahead to repair them so we went to bring the aircraft into the shop. This is where my second first starts. In order to attach the tow bar we needed to rotate the prop. As soon as we grabbed it we knew something was wrong the prop had been so gouged and dinged by the gravel it was no longer airworthy. I had to ground my first aircraft as an A&P the incident was recorded and can be found Here. I don’t want the what he should have done or any pilot shamming in here. Everyone makes mistakes he has been a pilot for 50 years, and was a really nice guy. As pilots we learn from mistakes whether it’s our own or others.
So now that he was grounded he needed to get back to KCNO. So I was offered the opertunity to fly them back in the PA-24 which I gladly accepted lol. We headed off around 12:30 local time the wind were crazy at altitude with a 52 kt headwind so it took a while. My passenger needed a bathroom break so we proceeded to make an unscheduled stop at KDAG. I set up for the approach threw down the gear (when you fly a retractable I’ve been thought to keep your hand on the lever until you get a gear down indication) I waited and waited never getting the green light that I was down and locked. I called up KDAG Unicom hoping someone was around. Luckily there was a gentlemen on frequency I proceeded to do a flyby were he confirmed the gear was not down and locked. So this is my 4th first at this point I proceed to fly around the pattern troubleshooting the situation. We hit some turbulence and I finally got a green gear down induction. We did another fly by where they confirmed the gear was down. I then proceeded to land so I could relieve my passenger and check over the aircraft. There were no immediate indications of the gear issue so I made the decision to fly gear down til I got back to put it on jacks.
The flight over the mountains and into the valley was stunning. I flew over KONT arriving into KCNO the controllers were amazing. The landing at KCNO was un eventful I unloaded the passengers refueled and headed black home. On the departure out I had a 747 about 5 miles off my right wing defending into KLAX. That was amazing to see that bird that close in the sky next to me. The climb to cruising altitude took forever due to the increased drag from the gear. Flying over the top of KLAS I was able to watch what appeared to be an A380 taking off 26R. It was a beautiful and smooth ride home.
Sorry for the long winded topic, but it’s definetly a day I won’t forget.