Our trip up to Montpelier to visit Kara and Tyson’s cousin Lydia turned into more of an adventure than we bargained for. We got a late start which is the norm these days, but we arrived in time for lunch. The wind was blowing hard enough that we made sure to securely tie the airplane. We had a lovely lunch, hiked up to the tower, and hung out at Kara’s place for a while. Isaac hid his smiles for most of the trip, but pulled them out right at the end. We said all our goodbyes, packed up the airplane, and went to start it.
It did not start. The propeller spun around on the starter a few times, sluggishly turned a few more, and then nothing. Kara did not have jumper cables in her car, so Lydia and her husband came to the rescue. We hooked the airplane up and spun the prop around and around. It still would not start. We tried pumping the throttle, tried leaning it out, tried glowering at it, nothing worked. At this point, Tyson was kicking himself for having taken most of the spare extension cords, battery charger, and heater out of the plane right before this trip. Since the airplane still was not starting even with the jumper cables, it probably was not the battery. Tyson’s guess was the engine was probably too cold. We did have one extension cord left, and we found and outlet. The extension cord just barely reached the engine heater with the airplane pushed almost against the fence. We made an effort to wrap the engine cowling with our blanket and Kara provided some bungie cords to keep it from blowing away. Then we all went to dinner to give it time to warm up.
At this point, we figured if the airplane did not start with the added warmth, we would be stuck staying the night and try again in the morning when it would have had longer to heat up. If that failed, one of our friends from back home was available to come rescue us by plane.
After dinner, just Kara drove us back up; with borrowed jumped cables. The wind had died down, but Kara, Isaac and I decided to stay warm in the car while Tyson attempted to start the engine once without jumping the plane. The starter spun the propeller around and around, but the engine did not start. Then the prop turned slower and slower as the battery ran dead. Just as Kara and I were concluding we were going to have to try the jumper cables again, and I was wondering if we were stuck for the night, the engine tentatively started.
That was not the end of the evening. Tyson still wanted to warm the engine up a bunch before shutting down so that Isaac and I could safely climb in. And we still had to wait for the panel to warm up enough for our digital instrument display to work. And our toes froze on the way home. But we made it home. All’s well as ends well. I don’t think Tyson is allowed to buy another airplane from Florida again. We have a laundry list of upgrades to get this one ready for next winter.